Microsoft and HP bring zero per cent financing to Canada

With a challenging economy tightening access to credit and leading many businesses to consider delaying IT purchases, two major technology vendors are offering zero per cent financing programs to help partners convince clients to pull the trigger on a purchase.

At Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT), the zero per cent financing offer is focused around the vendor’s Dynamics line of business intelligence software, while HP‘s (NYSE: HPQ) offer covers a broad range of the HP hardware portfolio.

Available only to new customers, through March 20th, Microsoft is offering zero per cent financing to customers licensing Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, and Microsoft Dynamics NAV licenses ,including the first year Business Ready Enhancement Plan. Purchases must be between US$20,000 and US$1,000,000.

“It’s an offer we originally started in July, and we’ve seen a great deal of success,” said Cheri Chevalier, group manager for Microsoft Dynamics with Microsoft Canada, adding the idea is to ease the initial purchase of an ERP or CRM system. “We know that’s when the bulk of an investment is made, at the initial offset, and so that’s where we’ve decided to offer the support to our customers to help them get onboard.”

Chevalier said pick-up on the offer has been strong, leading to several extensions of the program. Companies are looking for maximum value from their IT spend and many businesses are turning to ERP and CRM as a way to make their IT dollars go further, and she said the financing offer helps partners make the sale.

“I think a lot of our customers are seeing value in CRM and ERP, and with the state of the economy the value of the Dynamics suite is even more relevant,” said Chevalier. “It allows businesses to increase operational efficiency and employee productivity, and leverage existing IT investments. The zero per cent financing offer helps seal that deal.”

Lora Gernon, director of the partner group at Microsoft Canda, added that in response to the challenging economy, Microsoft also has a number of other offers to help partners close deals. The Retail Ready offer is targeted at SMB retailers and offers 25 per cent of list prices for Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV and Dynamics AX. Similarly, the Manufacturing Makeover offer is aimed at medium-sized manufacturers. Also, the Big Easy offer offers partner subsidy dollars with each qualifying purchase, for use towards the purchase of additional SMB products and solutions.

In a December interview with CDN, former HP Canada channel chief Dave Frederickson indicated the vendor would be looking to use its strong balance sheet and significant cash position to provide financing assistance and work with distributors to ensure access to credit won’t be an issue for partners and customers.

The result, announced this month, is two zero-per cent financing programs on a range or HP equipment.

“We want to really work with our reseller network in terms of helping overcome some of the challenges we know SMBs in Canada are facing currently, and certainly one of them is around SMB cashflow and access to credit,” said Michael McAvoy, director, SMB business, HP Canada. “HP is fortunate to be in a position where we can help address some of those concerns through some aggressive financing options.”

A zero per cent, 12-month promotion plan applies to all products from HP’s personal systems group, such as notebooks and desktops, as well as printing and imaging products and the HP ProCurve line, but not products from HP’s Enterprise Storage and Servers Group (ESS). At the end of the 12-month interest-free period, the products can be purchased for one dollar.

The second program offers zero per cent financing over 36 months and is available on most HP products, including those from the ESS group. At the end of the 36 months, the products may be purchased at a fair market value.

“The programs apply across a wide array of SMB products the vast majority of which sell through the reseller channel, so it’s a great opportunity for partners to go in and talk to their customers about technology, especially in these tough economic times,” said McAvoy. “It also removes one of the barriers to SMBs investing in technology that can help them grow and be more competitive.”

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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