Once there were technology objects you bought, like flat panel screens and on-premise servers, and services that you used, like accounting software and electricity. Objects were purchased with a large upfront payment while services were paid for at a much lower but recurring cost. Finance-minded buyers referred to these categories as capital expenditures (CapEx) vs. operating expenditures (OpEx).
In the 21st century, buying technology is no longer an “either-or” proposition. Businesses and consumers are owning less and using more of everything, as the line between objects and services have blurred. The OneScreen as a Subscription is a good example of how hardware can be purchased like a service.
While schools, businesses and other organizations can still purchase the OneScreen hardware/software/firmware package outright through OneScreen resellers, a new, more flexible option is available from these same resellers. Anyone can have the latest smart screens and GoSafe temperature scanners delivered by paying a low monthly cost. As an added benefit to subscription pricing, these customers can look forward to an automatic hardware upgrade after three years along with easy OTA (over the air) software updates.
To understand why subscription services are becoming so popular, it’s worth taking a look at how buyers themselves have changed.
There’s a great deal of overlap between business to consumer (B2C) and business to business (B2B) practices. It makes sense because when purchase agents for companies go home at night, they are the same consumers who have enjoyed all kinds of business innovation like online customization, same day shipping and micropayments.
When Forrester recently surveyed consumer characteristics for B2C in their 2020 report “The Future of B2C Business Models,” they were really laying out a roadmap for where B2B is headed at the same time. Forrester found that more than half of consumers (56%) are willing to do or try new things, which has grown by 12% over the last decade.
Through data points and survey results like this, Forrester determined that four forces are likely to shape buying decisions in the new business landscape:
- Experimentation - brand switching and testing out innovative technologies
- Values-based buying - prefer for brands that state and stick to their values
- Evolving business models - seeking out on more flexibility in buying options
- Price/convenience - not just the lowest price but brands that simplify the buying process
Of the 15 evolving business models identified in the report, most involve some form of subscription services or membership that creates a relationship with a brand, rather than the transactional model that has dominated purchasing for centuries.
Those findings are backed up by McKinsey’s research on How COVID-19 Has Changed B2B Sales Forever. Buyer priorities like ease of use, saving money and the desire to handle things remotely have permanently restructured the buying experience:
Along the same lines, a survey on Business Wire, conducted by subscription service provider Zuora, confirmed that the subscription model is central to the future of buying. Over 28 consecutive quarters, subscription businesses expanded their revenues 5X faster than that of the average of S&P 500 company revenues or retail sales in the US. Zuora’s Chief Data Scientist Carl Gold observed,
"Everywhere we look we see new ways the Subscription Economy is expanding into new spheres and putting down deeper roots as a core part of the global economy.”
In the case of OneScreen, our customers and channel partners were integral to the creation of the OneScreen as a Subscription purchasing option. It simply makes better financial sense for the 21st century buyer. Subscription tends to reduce risk and brings more stakeholders onboard with the buying decision.
Since we introduced OneScreen as a Subscription, we’ve been able to bring our advanced collaboration and communication technology to thousands of new businesses and school districts that are running on tight budgets.