A perfect storm is brewing which could convince sceptical UK end users - as well as the channel partners that serve them - to finally embrace IT financing, according to participants in a CRN roundtable.
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In contrast to their continental cousins, UK firms have traditionally been loath to look outside their own four walls to fund much-needed tech refreshes.
Mark Starkey, commercial director at systems integrator Logicalis, says expectations that the IT world would take a leaf out of the reprographics industry’s book are yet to fully materialise. “You never buy a photocopier; they’re always leased. We have never got there [in the IT industry] and I don’t really know why," Starkey says.
Ian Duffield, head of legal and compliance at Equanet, agrees: “At a retail level, the world seems very comfortable with alternative finance, but the minute you move to business-to-business, everyone gets a bit scared about it.”
Figures from GE Capital, which sponsored the roundtable, confirm the UK’s status as an IT financing laggard.
Just 29 per cent of UK SMBs questioned in the January research had a preference for external financing sources such as leasing, loans and credit lines when funding IT hardware purchases. This compared with 67 per cent in Italy, 39 per cent in Germany and 43 per cent in France.
The story is similar for software, where the preference for external financing sources stands at 28 per cent, the lowest of all seven countries studied.
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