- Stefan Mayer
Why Managed Services in AV?
Many businesses might have an IT department but only very few have a dedicated AV (Audio Visual) resource available onsite. In most cases, the IT department becomes responsible for all the “technology”, be it dedicated IT related items or AV equipment. IT professionals are generally not well versed in AV and therefore tend to shy away from this additional responsibility.
AV equipment is also becoming more complex with many systems running over IP and networked environments. More AV equipment is utilising software to run and these are don on a subscription basis adding further complexity to the management of the AV ecosystem.
Generally, businesses are already accustomed to paying for IT, printing and telephony services with a subscription model so it makes sense to add AV to the mix.
As unified communications and video conferencing systems become more important in the new social distancing environment, more and more businesses will need to invest in new AV technology in order to meet the demands these new environments require. You might not have VC equipment right now and are using your laptops to keep in comms with your staff. As some will be working from an office, it makes sense to have a large screen, PTZ camera and good audio so that all can see and be seen better. Home offices might need to be upgraded, VC codec licenses increased or upgraded as many platforms have time limits on them.
The general rule of thumb in business should be to do what you do best and outsource everything you are not good at. This frees up resources to grow the business without the need to worry about the AV equipment.
With many businesses now needing to upgrade their operations due to many working more from home as well as new health and safety implementations required in the workspace, it becomes more understandable to lease new AV equipment instead of outright purchasing it.
Buy or Rent? Which is better?
Sometimes buying technology equipment up front is the way to go. If your business has the resources, as well as the budget to purchase up front, it’s a wise Capex investment. On the other hand, there are several businesses that don’t have the capital to purchase outright, and they don’t want to manage their systems at all.
As technology evolves, software as well as hardware are being managed via the cloud. Most IT operations are now an Opex cost and businesses are preferring the flexibility it provides. It makes financial sense to add the AV component to the Opex cost.
The benefits of AV as an Opex cost
Leasing your AV equipment enables your business to use its available cash for other revenue-generating activities, such as lead generation, product development, human capital, or research and development. You can save on IT and AV as your service provider is a call away and will be bound to attend to the callout within the specified time frame. It becomes the vendors responsibility to make sure your systems are up and running leaving you more time to focus on your core business.
Many finance managers prefer the Opex model as all costs are tax deductible. Opex allows a business to write off the entire monthly expense of a leased AV system as a day-to-day operating expense. With the Capex model, a business can only write off a percentage of the cost of a new premises-based system per year, based on a depreciation schedule of assets.
Using a leased solution under Opex allows your business to scale your technology and only pay for what you use. For example, should you require additional meeting rooms, these can be added at a later stage.
All maintenance and repair costs are included an are the responsibility of your vendor. You will be up and running again in a very quick space of time. No call out fees will be charged, there are no hidden costs.
Seriously consider if your business is prepared to invest the required time and resources into the development and maintenance of something that - while vital - isn’t necessarily the core focus of your business. Make the right choices when it comes to the resilience of your infrastructure and find a balance between what should be considered a Capex or Opex service. If it's something that business has to have managed internally then commit to the expenditure to achieve a consistent and reliable service because it’s going to require a reasonable investment in infrastructure.