Archive for August, 2009


Home Alone

August 26, 2009

NOT Macaulay Culkin

We forgot the ProLiant ML310G5p for iQuote. Much like the Home Alone film we left one of the ProLiant family in the Excel spreadsheet. The ProLiant ML310G5p to be exact. Fortunately one of our Reseller iQuote users spotted it and alerted us. It’ll be live today 26th August apologies for any inconvenience caused. Here’s a photo of the ML310G5p and not Macaulay Culkin by way of compensation.


iQuote goes granular

August 25, 2009

Vastly improved site utilisation statistics coming soon. Now we really understand how iQuote users are operating we are changing some of the management information that the Super Users within our customers get access to.

Historically the statistics that we offered were based on user logins and volume of quotations saved. This was great but particularly in our Distributors this didn’t capture verbal quotes or product information lookups (e.g. what is the weight of this, can I add memory in this way, how many bays does this have, what is the part number for this extended warranty?).

So we still log user logins and saved quotations but we are adding the number of quotes created and the number of quotes exported. Managers will get a much stronger feel for how iQuote is being used and the headline figures show that the number of quotes created exceeds (considerably) the number of quotes saved.

An interesting point is that although verbal quotes are quicker to execute iQuote users are still advised to save quotes as they miss out on the hugely powerful re-pricing function which has been in place for several months now. Users often don’t realise this feature exists but when they see it they absolutely love it.


iQuote Sales Interviews

August 21, 2009

iQuote – according to the Users. So on Thursday I had a very interesting day. I spent the best part of it interviewiEye St Officeng iQuote users on a one to one basis. So a potentially dangerous activity but actually a hugely rewarding one.

Seeing Distribution sales people work close up is very enlightening – or should I say lightening. The sheer pace (and it was in August!) has to be seen to be believed. Sales flick between browser, spreadsheet and order systems using every keyboard shortcut known to Man and Microsoft.

So how did iQuote stack up in this frantic sales environment? Really well. In terms of web-based systems the performance was deemed to be best in class. We’ve made iQuote very light to use and this pays off when you see sluggish databases in web sites hammering the egg timer.

Complaints? Really few and where we have had support calls in the past we got plenty of positive feedback about how quickly we reacted and solved issues. I genuinely didn’t take a beating.

Suggestions? Yes and some really good ones that we will certainly look to implement where practical and in our control.

Missing a trick? Very few of them were aware of the really powerful quote re-pricing tool so we’ll be doing some development to make this more obvious to people.

For me the biggest thing was that iQuote has a process, but on the front line not only is the pace different but also people work in different ways. Sales people take different things out of iQuote and that’s OK as long as they maximise the sale for the Distributor. Most people used iQuote for reference (especially HP Care Pack) or for complex quotes. If fully utilised iQuote does have the capability to save Sales time in the long-term even on simple quotations.

We’ve got some more tricks up our sleeve to come!


iQuote Many, Many Additions

August 18, 2009

Lots of new things in iQuote. We’ve had a week of small yet important additions to iQuote:

  • Irish iQuote users will now see that HP End User Rebates are present.
  • PSG iQuote users will not only see that virtually all of the August product line-up is in place but that Desktop/Monitor bundles are present and End User Rebates are coming very soon.
  • All users will see that our dynamic menu system is allowing us to do new things including a hover for due date and quantity from the initial menu.

We’ve also been working on our first implementation of iQuote in Integrated Mode. I’m not allowed to provide specific details at this point but watch this space….


Circles, Stars & Brackets

August 14, 2009

iQuote now has improved navigation. For ProLiant Top Value iQuote users there are some new and helpful navigation features that you will notice:

  • The Menu Headings are now produced by the database: so now if there are no live models the Heading won’t show and we will put the number of models from Top Value in the range in brackets.
  • If there are Fixed Bundles against a server it will show this using circles (interlinked circles if more than 1 Bundle applies). So you know where the best prices lie just from looking at the ranges.
  • If there are End User Rebates that can be applied to options iQuote will show this using blue stars. These act as breadcrumbs when within iQuote to lead you to the specific parts.

PSG already benefits from the Menu Headings.

These changes are aimed at making it easier for Sales people that want to select systems from a wider range and make decisions on where the most flexible, deepest discount lies within Top Value.


When you need to sharpen your pencil…

August 12, 2009

pencilEnd User Rebates are now live in HP ProLiant iQuote. There’s nothing more infuriating than losing a deal on price and then finding out that there was an additional discount available that you missed. A close second is where you win a deal on price but have had to sacrifice margin to do this and then you find out that the End User can claim a rebate directly off the Manufacturer. So you were cheaper anyway.

The skill for Sales is to ensure that they have explored every option on pricing when they quote. Or just use iQuote. iQuote’s comprehensive pricing system incorporates standard discounts, fixed bundles, flexible bundles and now End User Rebates. So it gets to the deepest price every time.

Sometimes when you think you need to sharpen your pencil and sacrifice margin: the truth is that you are already winning on price so your job is to get to this price, differentiate the product and of course yourself.


Introducing Integrated Mode

August 7, 2009

iQuote is available in Integrated Mode…
iQuote operates as a standalone ‘Hosted’ service. This is a good thing for many clients as they don’t need to have any infrastructure to use the service. They can just create users, direct them to a Web address and they are live.

However, some clients already have a web-based infrastructure: a quotation/order entry tool or an eCommerce site. Those clients don’t want to introduce secondary systems. Now they don’t have to with iQuote. We have introduced our iQuote Integration Service to allow iQuote to run in Integrated Mode. Customers can:

  • Link to iQuote menus or even part numbers from a web-based ERP or Store.
  • Access iQuote without the need to login.
  • Use iQuote’s advanced quotation features to generate the shopping list.
  • Export the parts, quantities, prices and rebates back into their system to place on order.

So now our customers can choose between Hosted Mode and Integrated Mode. For now they are the same price.

Lastly there is potential to use the processes behind Integrated Mode for our Incentive and our Online Return on Investment Services should scale warrant it.


iQuote Option Handling Improvement

August 6, 2009

On the hoofWe are in the process of releasing a very useful development into iQuote. When iQuote was launched we wanted to be able to automate 90%  of all customer requirements leaving the balance to be referred to a Pre-Sales Technician. However, we always felt that we could increase to nearer 99% of all customer requirements – a major achievement given the complex rules that are present for IT Hardware, especially with HP who push the technology boundaries.

One area of complexity was adding Options that change the configuration rules once selected. Good examples:

  • Latest generation processor/memory architectures: the installation of a second processor increases the addressable memory.
  • Docking Stations that provide additional USB ports and PS/2 ports.
  • PCI Riser Cards that provide additional slots.
  • Hard Disk Drive backplanes that allow servers or workstations to support hot-pluggable or different architecture disks.

We are now in testing phase for this capability. Once rolled out we will communicate the precise implementation details to the iQuote community.