Where is the hardware as a service (HaaS) market heading next? My best guess: The point of sale (POS) industry, where retailers want to focus on business rather than purchasing and owning point of sale devices. One recent deal, involving Island Pacific and First National Technology Solutions, offers some clues about how managed service providers are moving deeper into the retail market.
Island Pacific specializes in retail merchandising and store operations software solutions. First National Technology Solutions (FNTS), a subsidiary of First National of Nebraska, provides data center hosting and virtual infrastructure services.
As part of a new relationship, FNTS will provide a data center to host Island Pacific's suite of retail supply chain offerings. As a result, Island Pacific will be able to leverage the "virtual" infrastructure of FNTS to quickly deploy the Island Pacific Managed Services solution, according to a joint press release from the companies.
Next Step: HaaS?Some MSPs are taking the next logical step and promoting HaaS into the retail vertical. One prime example: AVE Investments Inc. of Osage Beach, Mo., has a pcCashdrawer effort that include a HaaS offering for retailers. The HaaS option starts at about $99 per month including installation and maintenance.
No doubt, HaaS has caught the MSP industry's attention in recent months. According to our third annual MSPmentor 100 survey, 47.1 percent of participants say they're introducing HaaS options to their customer base. (The complete MSPmentor 100 report debuts Feb. 10, 2010.)
In recent weeks, ConnectWise Capital invested CharTec, a HaaS specialist that works closely with MSPs. And there are signs of forthcoming moves from MSPonDemand, another HaaS specialist...