HaaS Pioneer Puts Tricks on Disk

Ramsey Dellinger, president of MSP on Demand, Hickory, N.C., has packaged into a custom application the network assessment, quoting, proposal, and credit tools he crafted and used to launch a HaaS enablement service about four months ago. The software is expected to arrive in two weeks, he said.

HaaS is a bold approach to managed services that in its purest form folds the long term cost of hardware procurement and replacement into the fixed monthly costs MSPs charge their customers - a delicate balancing act, said Dellinger.

The central challenges to a successful HaaS service are making certain a customer's future hardware costs are understood, pricing the entire HaaS service - which includes remote monitoring and management - accurately, obtaining proper credit lines, and then on top of it all offering a competitive price, said Dellinger. MSP on Demand's upcoming HaaS software presents in a simplified manner the steps required to meet these challenges, he said.

The assessment tool can remotely gather information about what types of hardware are running in a network. That data, along with information like the number of users supported, is then fed into a database that works in conjunction with QuoteWerks software from Aspire technologies to create a checklist style question and answer session an MSP uses drum up a HaaS estimate, he said.

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"From there you basically start to formulate a HaaS proposal through a series of yes or no questions. Things like 'are we going to have to replace that box in the next three years,' and so on," explained Dellinger.

The software differentiates desktop, server, storage, and router cost structures, provides a way to assess risk, and spits out a line-item proposal in the form of a fixed fee for both service and support, he said.

Upon customer approval, that proposal can be converted by the software into a credit application and HaaS contract which can both be forwarded to the financial underwriters of MSP on Demand, or other lending institutions, said Dellinger.

Dellinger has already helped several MSP launch HaaS services through MSP on Demand. MSP on Demand and its bankers help craft and deliver the financing for MSP with HaaS service contracts under $500,000.

Financing for larger HaaS services are escalated to National City Commercial Capital (NCCC), Cincinnati, Ohio, he said. The typical arrangement is for bank financing to cover the cost of any hardware expenses, customer billing to run through the bank, and MSPs to get paid by the bank after principal and interest payments are deducted from the customer's monthly remittance, explained Dellinger.

To date, only smaller HaaS services have been launched by MSP on Demand, with none having to go through National City, said Dellinger. However, as these individual "buckets" of HaaS funding grow in value, they may be consolidated into larger accounts underwritten by National City, he said.