From The Editor | August 7, 2013

"As a Service" Message Resonates At RetailNOW. Now What?

By Jim Roddy, president, Business Solutions magazine

BSM-Chasing Money

BSM’s message to the channel has been clear: your company needs to immediately consider the “as a Service” business model and quickly take action to increase your recurring revenue.

The validity of that message has been tested this week at RetailNOW, hosted by the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) in Las Vegas.

I’m pleased to report that the retail IT channel has embraced this business model – at least conceptually. A few examples I’ve witnessed firsthand:

  • Monday’s “as a Service” panel discussion attracted over 400 channel executives to the main auditorium. Post-panel feedback to me from respected channel executives was extremely positive.
  • On Tuesday, Alan Hayman of Hayman Consulting Group implored the attendees of his education session to focus on recurring revenue. “The status quo is not adequate,” Hayman said. “Be petrified of staying the same. If you haven't started, start.”
  • Also on Tuesday, a video surveillance presentation by Hedgie Bartol of Axis Communications mentioned “as a Service.” Bartol recommended solution providers adopt VSaaS – Video Surveillance as a Service – to receive the benefits of its recurring revenue stream.

The looming question is how quickly will resellers, vendors, software developers, payment providers, and distributors act to implement “as a Service” in this channel? Very few retail IT organizations have made meaningful progress; there’s no consensus or clarity on the fundamentals of a go-forward plan.

As one reseller stated during Hayman’s education session, “The SaaS model, the free model – that whole thing's a cluster. Who knows what's going on?"

A distributor executive I talked with off the record gave me hope the fog could be lifted soon. This exec told me that his organization has been bundling hardware, software, and services for a while and over the past three months has tested a service payment model with select resellers. Many details need to be worked out and what is now a manual process needs automated, but it is a step.

Between today and RetailNOW 2014, huge strides need to be made.

 

RetailNOW 2013, hosted by the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), is being conducted Aug. 4-8 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. For more information on the event, go to www.BSMinfo.com/InsideRSPA.

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