fixITlocal, the nationwide network of resellers that offers service and support to small businesses on a localised basis, is adding further value to its subscribers through an agreement with Rentsoft that will see a wide range of Software as a Service (SaaS) applications being marketed under the fixITlocal brand.
The agreement will open the door for SME resellers to move further towards profitable, service and annuity-based business models. It will make a range of practical and affordable applications available on a rental basis to small businesses immediately. Resellers will be able to sell these software services on to their own customers, receiving revenue share commissions on all sales.
The fixITLocal Pay Monthly Software offerings will be marketed alongside the service and support that resellers who sign up for fixITlocal are providing to small business customers in their areas. The initiative has been set up by broadband and services distributor, DMSL. “This is the start of a new era”, says Managing Director of the firm, John Carter.
“The move to SaaS and subscription-based models will not happen overnight but it will happen – it is just a matter of time. Broadband is ubiquitous now confidence amongst SMEs is growing. They are communicating, placing orders and banking online – soon they will be running their applications online and the fixITlocal Pay Monthly Software service is paving the way for them to do just that – and for resellers to start moving towards the new service-based business models of the future and away from their old dependency on product margins.”
Many of the packages on offer will be available with free monthly trial periods and with pay-as-you-go options. There will also be a number of special offers during the initial launch period to help resellers encourage customers to try the service. The Rentsoft portfolio includes accounts software from MYOB as well as human resources, project management and CRM applications. The e-bcm credit checking service, which is also part of fixITlocal’s existing offering, will also be available.
Most software will be sold on a monthly rental basis, giving customers immediate access to all the benefits of the application without making any capital expenditure long-term commitment. They also benefit from being able to access their applications and data anytime, anywhere.
Uniquely, the Rentsoft service enables subscribers to make use of applications even when they are not on-line. Client versions of packages are downloaded onto customer systems so that they can be used independently of broadband connections. Users must however, go back on line within a pre-set period of time to continue using the software in this way. This feature makes the SaaS service much more practical for many smaller firms, says Carter. “Not all SMEs have the capability to provide WiFi or 3G connectivity for all their mobile staff or broadband for occasional home workers so being able to work offline as well as online makes the Rentsoft service very pragmatic. You can literally work anywhere.”
Carter believes that SaaS will develop into a major opportunity for SME resellers over the next few months and fixITlocal is leading the way with the launch of this new service. In a White Paper published in November 2006, industry research firm IDC, stated: “SaaS presents a market opportunity that is large, fast growing and long-term. Most software providers should decide relatively quickly whether to grasp this opportunity or face the increasingly powerful risk of losing competitive advantage and market share.”
“A lot of organisations have been talking about launching this type of service but we have gone ahead and done it”, Carter states. “Our mission is to take the first mover advantage over our competitors and help our channel partners to capture a share of this opportunity.”
Phil Hames, Managing Director of The Business Software Centre, provider of the Rentsoft service, comments: “We are delighted that fixITlocal has chosen Rentsoft as a basis for this service. The Rentsoft service allows maximum flexibility to end users and manages the full service for fixITlocal resellers. Any number of software products can be made available through this system.”
Selling SaaS will also help resellers to sell other subscription and annuity-based services, such as fixed and mobile data and voice connections, maintenance and support to SME customers”, Carter notes. DMSL offers a wide range of BT broadband and related services and recently launched the fixITlocal initiative which will market the services of a network of independent resellers who serve their local area on a nationwide basis.
DMSL will employ its unique through-marketing sales methodology to drive fixITlocal sales into its SME reseller partners. Over the next few months this marketing campaign will reach over 100,000 BT broadband end-users, driving business to more than 1000 resellers across the UK. During this time, it will also be looking to establish further relationships with ISVs that want to take their products to the growing SaaS market place.