Bechtle Financial Services – Counting on the future.
IT architectures have to meet ever increasing requirements, all the while staying flexible and, of course, fully functional. Investing in IT entails far more than simply procuring equipment—there’s maintenance contracts, warranty agreements and licence management to deal with. Plus the overarching question: How can we build a solid foundation for successful business operations, today and tomorrow. That's a complex issue.
IT doesn’t just concern CIOs, but CFOs too—and that doesn’t make it any easier. Bechtle can bring these two worlds into alignment. Bechtle Financial Services AG bridges the gap between IT and finance, and factors in the future, too.
An interview with DR HENNING HERZOG, Chairman of the Board of Bechtle Financial Services AG.
Mr Herzog, in 2015, Bechtle acquired its very own financing business. Why was this an important and meaningful move for customers?
Bechtle had been providing financing before, of a sort—but these weren’t in-house services. If a customer came to Bechtle and wanted to lease 500 notebooks, we had to get another company involved. Bechtle would sell the notebooks to an external financial service provider, who in turn would rent them out to the customer. That’s generally how most companies do it, but it’s quite laborious and not really what our customers want, when it comes down to it. CIOs are looking to reduce complexity and deal with the fewest number of contact points possible. Bechtle makes a point of being a one-stop service provider—so it was only logical to integrate financial services into our portfolio. And financing solutions in general are gaining in importance.
Because there’s increased demand from customers?
The demand for financing services in the IT industry is indeed ever increasing, but not, however, because customers can’t afford to buy their own IT. The popularity of Managed Services is seeing new deployment models such as price per seat and managed client services are being more and more readily adopted. This makes sense because our customers are often spread out nationally or even internationally. Another factor is that employees are expecting more and more from the tools employers provide, which in turn puts increased pressure on IT infrastructure. Meanwhile, companies want to focus on their core business, which for most doesn’t include managing their own, complex IT infrastructure—it is merely a tool that facilitates their day-to-day operations. To put it simply, companies buy PCs because they need to use them. They don't need to own them, though—all they need is a partner who understands their technology and business needs, and who can deliver.
So what do customers want?
A partner that understands both points of view—that of the CIO and also the CFO. Bechtle Financial Services brings these two worlds into alignment. In most companies today, IT and finance work closely together to manage ever more complex investments. Because today, simply buying and using IT is far from the end of the matter. IT should propel your company into the future, and our customers expect nothing less.
Complex situations often don’t necessarily call for complex solutions. They require precise analysis, crystal clear visualisation and a structured transformation. That’s where we come in.
And what technical services does Bechtle provide to meet these requirements?
All of them. We deliver IT that simply works. When a customer buys a notebook, they’re also getting delivery, set-up, lifetime warranty, on-site service, access to the help desk, insurance services, and then, at the end of the product’s life, collection, data erasure and remarketing or recycling services. And we deliver flexibility so customers can, for instance, easily add workstations to their fleet or upgrade to cutting-edge technology. Put yourself in the CIO’s shoes and imagine you have to contract a separate provider for each of these services and then look to your financial department for approval. In response the CFO comes back to you with tax and balance related issues that need to be taken into account. Depending on the size of the company and its specific needs, this is where it can easily get complicated fast. This is where we step in with the right answers and solutions.
So you offer more than simply product financing and leasing solutions?
Exactly—in addition to leasing, rental, hire-purchasing and instalment plans we provide full service project financing and a wide range of deployment models, rounding off the Bechtle service portfolio. But the package wouldn’t be complete without our expertise. We don’t just find the best technical solution for our customers, we also take their numbers into account. So each project is thoroughly planned and tailored to suit all aspects of our customers’ business. This includes budgets and balance sheets, flexibility in terms of project volumes and timelines, transparent calculation, and not least the terms of payment, including acceptance criteria, currency and maturity. This all plays an important role for the CFO—and with us it’s an integral part of our customers’ projects from the get go. Another benefit: all of our services are provided under a single contract, no matter how many customer sites we cater to.
Do you offer financial services for existing infrastructures, too?
Absolutely. Bechtle Financial Services also analyses, visualises and structures existing IT assets, and takes over existing leasing portfolios and asset management services. In addition to this, we act as an intermediary between customers and leasing companies, as well as the financing companies of IT manufacturers.
BECHTLE FINANCIAL SERVICES AG
Bechtle Financial Services AG was founded in Berlin in 2011 as CSS AG, and joined the Bechtle Group in September 2015. A financing and consulting company for IT portfolios, it is approved by the German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) and expands Bechtle’s offering to include tailored, modern financing and service models. Bechtle Financial Services supports Bechtle’s IT systems integrators in implementing projects—both in Germany and in Europe.
DR HENNING HERZOG, Chairman of the Board of Bechtle Financial Services AG founded Common Sense Solutions AG (CSS) in 2011. In 2015, CSS was incorporated into the Bechtle Group. A qualified economist, Henning Herzog previously headed his own companies specialising in organisational consulting and corporate finance. In addition to his role at Bechtle, he holds a research professorship at the Quadriga Institute for Regulation & Management in Berlin.