Posts Tagged ‘Channel’

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Buying Servers Online: UK eCommerce Survey – Software

November 8, 2018

In a recent Blog we featured a survey carried out by channelcentral on Buying Servers Online and promised future Blogs to deliver high level information from the results of the survey.

Here’s a link to that Blog: https://channelcentral.blog/2018/11/05/buying-servers-online-uk-ecommerce-survey/

To set the context most Servers ship with either NO Operating System or possibly a version of Linux such as ClearOS (https://www.clearos.com/). In most cases the Buyer needs to procure an Operating System or Software from Microsoft, Red Hat, SUSE and possibly VMware or Citrix to boot the server up. This can come from the Software Vendor although increasingly Reseller Option Kits (ROKs) are available from the Manufacturer of the Server.

Having established the likelihood of requiring an Operating System how easy was it to add an Operating System to a Server System Unit? Not very easily is the answer.

System Units offering Operating Systems as an attach:

We surveyed 126 SKU instances (21 Resellers x 6 SKUs) of which 102 were found. Of the 102:

  • 8 had very strong coverage.
  • 44 had some coverage.
  • 50 had no software offered.

Where/when we saw Operating Systems offered, it was generally Microsoft and then most often ROK Licenses.

Techniques to Display Operating Systems:
There was no standard way to display Operating Systems here are some examples:

  • In the Accessories listing which is where you’d expect it to be.
  • Although Accessories often means cables and small options.
  • In Bundles where the Operating System is included in the System Unit part as a ‘special’.
  • This was incredibly confusing as you’d search a site for a SKU Part Number and get c.5 results all with different Operating Systems and Prices.
  • We also saw stock anomalies where the standard SKU was in stock, the Bundles not in stock.
  • A few Resellers using ‘syndicated content’ via a Microsoft widget that appeared on sites with a small banner advert. It had two tabs: OS and CALs.
  • In theory a good thing but it broke the navigation of the site and was inconsistent with the branding.
  • Resellers placed the link in different places, so it was easy to miss.

Recommendation/Demand Shaping:

This was non-existent. As certain Operating System versions target different parts of the Market and certain Servers do likewise it would seem obvious to hold some form of ‘order of preference’ against the Servers. Alas no. There was little evidence of recommendations or better still “solution” user journeys.

Other Software:

Apart from some of the Management Software ‘utilities”: nothing.

Summary:

To move to “Frictionless” eCommerce there’s some basics that need to be addressed by applications or data to increase Buyer confidence. On the evidence we saw nobody would buy a server via most of the Resellers we surveyed using their Web Store.

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Canalys Channels Forum Review

October 17, 2018

The largest independent Channel Event in EMEA

channelcentral was an emerging vendor sponsor for the Canalys EMEA Channels Forum this year, and we had a terrific response at this year’s fantastic event in Barcelona. Greg Starks (CSO) and Dan Mason (CTO) represented channelcentral on the 9-11th of October, with Tim Moyle (CEO) also managing to attend part of the event! It was a very busy few days and a perfect opportunity to meet multiple customers and prospects in a very well organised, structured and desirable setting: the stunning Hotel Arts near the beach (see image).

If you are unfamiliar with Canalys events:

The Canalys Channels Forums are major independent events for IT channel partners across EMEA, APAC and LATAM. The events bring together major technology vendors, distributors and resellers to discuss industry trends, forge new business relationships and create sales opportunities. Our emphasis on high-quality content, top-level speakers and innovative ideas and platforms has enabled us to grow and become the world’s largest independent IT channel events.

At Canalys we can meet new, old and existing customers. This is a wonderful opportunity to expose our brand and services to Manufacturers & Channel Partners in attendance. For new customers we meet at Canalys, we can explain how our services work and how we can possibly benefit their company. It builds a strong foundation for a relationship between two businesses.

I really enjoyed meeting customers, new and old. It’s a great opportunity to get feedback on what we’re getting right and what we need to improve on. Also probing for opportunities to deliver new complementary services.
Tim Moyle, CEO, channelcentral.net Limited

In addition to some great meetings with vendors, we were able to demonstrate our boost! data service to several resellers. This allows resellers who have customer-facing web stores to dramatically improve the user experience for customers purchasing servers, storage and networking. Resellers consume the boost! service data, then use our “Attach Patterns” to create a very easy-to-use interface for attaching common/popular options to the base system, integrated seamlessly into their web store. boost! supports HPE Servers, Storage and Networking, and Dell “Stock and Sell” servers, with more brands coming soon.
Greg Starks, Chief Strategy Officer, channelcentral.net Limited

Thanks again to everyone involved in Canalys, and we hope to see you next year.

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SEVEN Dysfunctional User Experiences Buying Services Online

September 25, 2018

If you’re selling services as an attach to IT products, you need to make it as easy as possible. Users will have searched, researched and selected a product, but without a service the user may be reliant on basic warranty that rarely matches the need or product lifecycle.

So when you’re purchasing that product it’s absolutely essential that attaching a service, potentially from a large list of services, is obvious, easy, intuitive, appropriate. It’s a shame that’s rarely the case and here are the main eCommerce blunders that users often experience:

1. Duo: a site is so poorly structured or has terrible data management that you have to buy the product, then circle back to find a service (often from a different web site), buy it as a separate journey, often to the same basket. And if you get it wrong…

2. Mashup: when looking for a service you have to trawl through all of the hardware accessories and software add-ons to find services.

3. Bookworm: there are so many services offered that you are reading dozens of part descriptions trying to decode them and select the best one for your budget.

4. TLA: product descriptions that use so many proprietary acronyms that part of your buying experience is Googling acronyms.

5. Shapeless: random parts in random order with no element of what the Manufacturer or Retailer would recommend.

6. Tumbleweed: literally nothing compatible is shown at all.

7. Cat Food: sites that use “Big Data” often offer items as complementary that are totally irrelevant. Cat food with your Laptop?

CPQ Applications or CPQ Data Services can fix this. Compatibility, recommendations, plain English filters, acronym ‘expanders’, consistent descriptions even through to Device as a Service plans. No more Cat Food.

Attaching services to products is a huge market opportunity for Manufacturers and Channel Partners. Very simple actions can drive major advances in user experience and ultimately Sales.

Click here for channelcentral CPQ Services

Click here for channelcentral boost! Data Services

 

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channelcentral join CompTIA

May 17, 2016

ComptTIA Premier Member Logochannelcentral is delighted to announce that it is now a Premier Member of CompTIA. CompTIA is the IT Industry Trade Association. They are best known for their IT Certifications and education programmes but also provide industry resources, run communities and offer vast networking opportunities for IT Industry organisations.

As members you can expect to see us at some forthcoming CompTIA events and participating in community discussions. We will also have access to industry research and resources which we can share with our partners.

We look forward to meeting fellow CompTIA Members in the near future to both learn from and impart our own industry knowledge.

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How can CPQ Software help your marketing teams?

April 14, 2016

It shouldn’t be all about the sales teams! The marketing folk tend to get forgotten when the industry talks about Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software and the benefits that it brings. The truth is, there are probably even more benefits to a Marketing Manager than a Sales Manager. Here are the key ones:

  • Return on Investment (ROI) – Time and time again Marketing teams are asked to show their return on investment and it’s not always easy to do. Seeing your quote volumes increase YoY after adopting CPQ Software with detailed reporting not only demonstrates your ROI but breaks it down to a granular level.
  • Promotions – Ensure your promotions are not missed or forgotten with auto-add technology in your CPQ Software. Detailed reporting will show you the typical configuration types for market insight.
  • Go-to-Market Strategy –  Control exactly when, what, where and who sees your new products and promotions.
  • Market Research – With real-time, detailed reporting find out exactly when, what and where your customers are quoting for valuable segmentation data for your next promotions and campaigns.
  • Advertising – The most targeted adverts you’ll ever run! Get right to the heart of your market by advertising in your CPQ Software or better still, if your CPQ Software is Multi-Vendor like Freebird, why not sell advertising space and make some money?!
  • New Product Introductions – A new and additional route to your customers. The greatest value here is for Channel Marketing teams where Multi-Channel CPQ Software such as Freebird are used. Add your new product at host level and release it to every instance of your tool and instantly you’re market-wide!
  • Upsell – Something we are all asked to do more of! It has never been easier with auto-add features  as well as recommended options.
  • Brand – Beat your competition with faster quote-to-order cycles and lower error rate (less returns) for a reputation all marketing teams would be proud of.

To learn more about CPQ Software, how it can integrate into all your internal systems and how it can help your marketing (and sales!) teams visit our website or contact us.

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New website launch

June 10, 2015

New Website HomepageWe are pleased to be able to share our new channelcentral website. After considerable redesign and content additions, our new website is live!


What can you expect to find on the new site?

  • Background information on the company and how we began
  • Overview of our services to the IT Channel
  • Reasons why CPQ tools are so crucial for channel development
  • Meet the team – put a face to the names
  • Company News including regular blog feeds
  • Events – details of where you can see us and when

Visit the site and take a look around and see how channelcentral can help make your Channel business more efficient and let us help your business reach its full potential. Just visit the Contact Us page!

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HP to separate into two leading companies

October 6, 2014

How does that affect HP iQuote?

Today we have heard the announcement about HP separating into two leading public companies. One will be HP’s market-leading enterprise infrastructure, software and services businesses, which will do business as Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, and one that will comprise HP’s market-leading printing and personal systems businesses, which will do business as HP Inc.

This change has been driven to deliver independence, focus, financial resources and flexibility to adapt quickly to the market.

For Partners, this separation is to be good news as interactions will be simplified and we’ll see lots more innovation coming out of the two organisations.

Those customers using HP iQuote will be aware that the product portfolio spans across Enterprise Infrastructure, Software & Services, Printing and Personal Systems Group. channelcentral can confirm, that the separation of the two businesses will make absolutely no change to the way HP iQuote works in terms of Product Portfolio, Subscriptions or Contacts.

CEO Meg Whitman said in her closing statement “Both companies will have the same commitment to the channel that our partners have come to trust, but with more focus, flexibility and accountability.  We look forward to partnering with you in the next phase of our journey.”

For further information on the separation Register for the global partner webcast with HP on October 7 at 10:00 a.m. PT.