Business solutions: Usage versus ownership

ARN roundtable guests look at why customers are moving to a usage-based model

Microsoft’s Gianpaolo Carraro challenged the fact that everything should be paid for by usage.

“Some people own a car – you could rent a car when you need it, but many prefer to own it so they can use it without having to go through the whole rental process,” he pointed out.

The Missing Link’s Jason Arnold-Auland questioned the business value in owning technology and said it was IP was the critical element. Both he and Ethan Group’s Nick Stranks argued the question was more about the right to use. Financing arrangements were a clear example of usage without upfront ownership.

“Where is the line between my company owning something, and my staff member having the ability to use what’s on their desk?” Stranks asked. “If a cloud computing provider does desktop deployment services, and rolls it out for everyone, it could be us, the company or the finance provider that owns it but ultimately the user gets to use it and complain about it the same way.

“The conversation needs to be more about providing something to the user that’s beneficial for their role, and continuously provide that ability and less of whether they own the licence.”

NewLease’s Doug Tutus said it ultimately came down to choice.

And this depended on the business model, Microsoft’s Paul Voges said.

“We have largely been talking about cost reduction, but in a business you think about what’s core to your business. In a bank, technology is a core part of the business because they depend on the information and calculations it produces relating to investment,” he said.

“You’d struggle to get a company handing over their crown jewels to an outsource provider and the cloud in general. The question for us as an industry, is how you become a part of the critical business process? That’s where you get away from the cost and into things like productivity and improvements.”

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