Mark Lightfoot

CFO at Chess

Mark Lightfoot, Chief Financial Officer, joined Chess as financial director in 2008. Mark drives outstanding performance across his team, ensuring great financial control, and has a proven track record in building external relationships and securing financial support as we continue our growth journey.

Paul Gibbons

Cloud Services Sales Development Manager at Chess

Paul is an experienced telecoms & IT professional. He has a wealth of knowledge and understanding in legacy and emerging technologies, including Cloud Services, Software, Hardware and Networking.



What are the device trends you have noticed recently?

Paul: With the wider adoption of hybrid working, many of the industry's leading vendors, such as Microsoft, DELL, Lenovo, HP, and Cisco, have had to reinvent themselves and are constantly releasing new hardware and software that empowers hybrid working. The key to any organisation adopting their modern workplace is not slowing people down. Giving your people the right tools to do their best work will not just improve productivity. It will also help your people to feel invested, leading to higher engagement and a better customer experience!

Companies tend to try to use their hardware for as long as possible. But is that the right approach?

Paul: The shift in working style means people rely more on IT than ever before. This means hardware and software must always be up to date, secure and reliable.

Take Microsoft Teams, for instance – if you are on a call and are presenting and perhaps using the virtual whiteboard, it can be resource hungry – if the device cannot handle the load, the collaboration will be poor at best. It is also worth noting that the rate of pace that the likes of Microsoft are developing new features and functions is unprecedented. Hardware and accessories also need to keep pace. Many of the new hardware and software are built with security in mind. Whether people are working from home, out in the field or in a local coffee shop, they need to feel safe, comfortable, and well-equipped if they are to do their best work!


We're becoming more reliant on our devices – laptops, mobiles, etc. – how do you finance new tech without breaking the bank?

Mark: There are two main ways of purchasing assets: outright, so you own them, commonly known as Capital Expenditure of (CAPEX) or paying for them on a rental model over a set period, commonly known as Leasing (Operating Expenditure – OPEX). In a CAPEX model, the company purchasing the equipment can sell the equipment at the end of its useful life, recovering some of the initial outlay. Therefore, the equipment had a cost over its life in the company, equating to the initial cost less any resale value.

Over recent years, leasing deals for equipment have become more prevalent with lower built-in capital costs, sensible expected values at the end of the lease period, which the supplier can recover, which together results in a cost over the life in the company that is broadly equitable to the cost in an ownership model. The significant difference (and advantage) between the CAPEX and OPEX models are the initial cash outlay saved through the OPEX model.

Other differences are:

  • Treatment on the P&L. More beneficial from a CAPEX model
  • Capital Allowance Tax benefits. More beneficial on an OPEX model
  • Risk of ownership/resale value. More punitive on a CAPEX model
  • Ability to upgrade mid-term. Being seen more in OPEX models
  • Cost of disposal/resale effort. More punitive on a CAPEX model


Sustainability is high on the agenda for many organisations – what is the sustainable way to shop for devices?

Mark: Sustainability can be achieved through both CAPEX and OPEX approaches. Many larger leasing organisations already have a sustainable resell/recycle policy, and businesses can take advantage of this through the OPEX model. Those choosing a CAPEX route need to comply with the WEII directive and can always consider donating equipment to charity at the end of its life within the business.

Paul: Leasing is easier to be sustainable and eco-friendly, as you no longer need to consider getting rid of old equipment or recycling. Instead, the lender manages the product lifecycle for you. Once the returned hardware has been checked, you receive a WEEE certificate- so no disposal costs and ensures you are compliant!

Your laptop isn't working, describe your workday.

Paul: I think there is a couple of ways of looking at this, to be honest! If your unit fails entirely, and as we are using Cloud Services and apps, then I would move to one of my working devices, such as my iPad or Mac, until my main equipment gets fixed. However, if my equipment is working, but I do not necessarily have the right or best equipment to do my job to the best that I can, this has a far more significant impact on my day. For instance, having a poor headset/mic and low-quality camera when someone is doing regular teams calls when working hybrid could make People work slower and could lead to them getting very frustrated, and over time this may mean they choose to leave.


What is Device Solutions?

Paul: Buying new equipment outright can be a huge financial burden for any business, irrespective of size. As a result, many companies make the mistake of choosing low-quality equipment that doesn't always fulfil the needs of their business or their people.

Also choosing the right devices, accessories and software isn't particularly easy, especially given how many options there are in the market today – so with this in mind, Chess have developed a way of simplifying this and making it easier to make the most of your technology budget, all via an online device solutions shop!

In partnership with some of the leading vendors such as Microsoft, HP, Lenovo, DELL and numerous leading peripheral partners, we can help you to build specific bundles that are aligned to your user personas, creating a standardised fleet of devices and at the same time, giving users choice of the devices and equipment they use.

Within the platform, you can purchase by selecting a buy now option, should you wish to use hard cash or alternately you can also select a Fair Market Value leasing option, should cash be king in your business right now!



We can help you on your journey and advise on the best approach for your organisation. Contact our expert team and book your FREE technology consultation today.