Posts Tagged ‘Reseller’

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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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You want to show stock in your Configurator. That must be easy right?

October 24, 2016

shutterstock_17837185For ex-stock sales showing stock (inventory) in a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) tool offers a better chance of a “right first time” quotation. In Sales, how often has a solution been created but has to be re-worked and re-worked at great expense because it can’t be shipped in time?

Customer expectations are high and in some geographies same or next day deliveries are considered normal. One of the reasons factory configuration (aka configure to order) business models that were popular at the start of the millennium in the IT Channel are not as common anymore.

Surfacing stock should be easy. With our experience we know it’s not as easy as you’d think.

CPQ: a separate system
It’s very rare for an ERP system to be able to offer CPQ capabilities that exactly match the business or technical complexity. So stock has to be “fed” to the CPQ system. Today that almost certainly means a web service as even hourly text files can be out of date. A business turning over stock every two weeks in volume or value terms is shipping a lot of products per hour and it only takes 1 part from 10 to be sold to invalidate a configuration.

Web services are real-time and with the best programming techniques stock figures can cascade in once a page has loaded, to improve performance and handle complex configurations that have hundreds or even thousands of parts.

Pulling stock through in tandem with price makes sense so this is often a single process.

Stock is Stock
Well surprisingly not. At any stage a Manufacturer or Distributor may have orders placed on their suppliers so there’s what is in stock, plus what is on order. Then add in expected due dates so the user can accurately forecast when a configuration can be shipped. Sometimes products in constraint have “back orders” or “forward due date orders”. So the due quantity isn’t the amount on order it’s the amount after back/forward orders.

Imagine losing a sales opportunity today for 50 units when you have 5000 units arriving in the warehouse tomorrow.

Bundles
The concept of bundles is usually associated with promotional discounts so buy these 5 products together and get a better price. In addition, bundles also exist where “large deal” price lists are in place where all products must be ordered from one supplier on a single invoice. It doesn’t stop there though: for large geographies stock exists in multiple warehouses so to build a configuration, all the items have to be in the same location otherwise the shipping is a) more expensive b) slower. Lastly, some countries have complex tax laws and to pay the “correct” tax, products have to ship from specific locations.

Virtual Stock & Electronic Licenses
If you are a Reseller that carries some stock but can buy from multiple sources, you have the advantage of being able to show “aggregate” stock numbers but be careful not to fall foul to the Bundle rules that may be in play. Also some products are ALWAYS in stock as they are basically licenses or services delivered via an email. So your user interface needs to make it clear that they are ALWAYS available not ALWAYS out of stock.

Visual Aids
New word for the dictionary: shippability. Show products in the basket that can ship now in green and those that can’t in red. OK that makes sense. Especially if the “electronically” delivered parts are also green. The user can instantly see the entire configuration is shippable. You will also want your CPQ tool to update shippabillity in a quote that was created 2 weeks ago. If a product can’t be stock refreshed warn the user.

Still think showing stock is easy? Well it’s not impossible. All of channelcentral’s CPQ tools cope well with ALL of the complexities laid out here. If you are having issues managing stock for your Channel contact us to hear about the different CPQ tools that we can offer.

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What is a Configurator?

September 4, 2015

Configurators can be used in many different industries in a B2B or B2C context. They are probably most commonly known in the car industry for buyers to customize their purchase with tinted windows, sports seats, low profile tyres etc. Essentially, a configurator is a piece of software that acts as a design tool to build a desired solution. Configurators are being used throughout the sales cycle whether that be the Manufacturer, Reseller or End User. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Organizations become more efficient as the sales cycle becomes shorter due to fewer touch points, reducing the strain on resources.
  • Reduces order errors. Built in validation rules means the configurator gets solutions right, every time.
  • Faster Product Life-Cycles with a rapid route to market.
  • Invaluable reporting – Learn everything about how a customer shops and measure trends.
  • Increase Revenue – Upsell potential is greater as the software can provide prompts during the configuration and a larger number of sales will be made as sales teams will have more time.
  • Provide a more personal service to your customers by treating them as individuals who want a bespoke solution.

Increasingly, configurators are being used in the IT Channel. They are the perfect solution to upgrade system components, swap out an Operating System, select optional upgrades and add in additional warranty for example. A configurator doesn’t need to just end there however. Imagine a software package that also gives you Real-Time pricing/stock and not only allows you to produce a quotation but also make a purchase to place an order. This is now possible and is known as Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software.

Here at channelcentral, we have built our business developing Configure, Price, Quote Software for the IT Channel. We are experts in our field and can provide ‘off the shelf’ CPQ Software which can be customized or we can develop you your very own solution. Better still, our CPQ software can be fully integrated into your ecommerce or CRM systems.

Consider how a Configurator could help your business grow … it could be more valuable than you think.

For further information on Configurators visit: http://www.channelcentral.net/system-configurators.asp

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channelcentral is a IT Europa Award Finalist!

March 18, 2015

EIT&SEA 2015 - Finalist LogoWith just one week to go until the Awards, we are delighted to announce that we are finalists in the European IT & Software Excellence Awards 2015!! On 25th March 2015 we will be waiting for the results to see if we win SaaS Solution of the year! Such an exciting time for the business and all our staff.

The entry to the Awards was based on one of our popular Configure/ Price/ Quote (CPQ) tools, iCreate.

Our iCreate tool was developed exclusively for Westcoast Distribution UK and has gone from strength to strength. It is a Solutions-led HP Workstation Configurator which contains pricing and quotation capabilities. It takes an intelligence-led selling approach for HP’s Workstation range, as well as some new additional product ranges. It helps Distributors and Resellers of HP to select their configured solution. iCreate is embedded within a Reseller’s eCommerce website for end users to access the tool, configure and place their order.

iCreate reduces the cost of sale by increasing efficiency, reduces delivery times and cuts down the level of knowledge required by the user. Unlike other CPQ tools, iCreate allows users to configure based on hardware platform or software application.

We will keep you posted on the news throughout the ceremony!

iCreate: Developed by www.channelcentral.net

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HP iQuote Distributor Benefits

December 3, 2014

A reminder for HP Authorized Distributors of some of the benefits of deploying HP iQuote.

  • Free up skilled resource to work on larger opportunities.
  • Fewer basic sales errors leading to returns (cost) and dissatisfaction.
  • Quicker Turn Around Time for Quotations.
  • Ease of business improvements allowing customers to self-quote.
  • Run more effective sales campaigns through SPIF and Banner Advertising functions.
  • Improve “Pitch Rate” to drive more Options Attach.
  • Show inventory to Sales/Customers to focus on moving inventory faster.
  • Stop paying staff/agencies to maintain Sales Cheat Sheets and Sales Tools.
  • Consistent tool across multiple HP Business Units/Products.

If you are interested in HP iQuote please visit http://www.hpiquote.net.

Developed by www.channelcentral.net

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Partners at the centre of HP

April 4, 2014

Sales Tools are part of the growth plan for every HP Partner.

whitman_meg_cover_2014_185Those HP Partners that attended the HP Global Partner Conference (GPC) or have read the CRN Article will know that HP’s focus is on you! Meg Whitman has said that partners are going to be at the centre of everything HP.

Giving partners the tools, such as Unison (the new channel sales platform) will enable partner business’s to grow, and with that growth, HP will grow.

Our sales tool, HP iQuote, was on the PartnerOne Stand with the new Unison platform at this Year’s GPC. Tools such as HP iQuote, make sales teams more efficient with fast and accurate quotations every time. channelcentral have created the tool for HP with channel partners in mind. If you are yet to experience HP iQuote then take a look around by visiting www.hpiquote.net and instantly see the benefits to your distributor or reseller business.

What are the features and benefits of HP iQuote?

•Option compatibility and configuration to reduce errors/reliance on technical pre-sales
•View price and stock while building a quote to get it right first time
•Supports bundle pricing to offer instant discounts to customers
•Drives options attach via validation and marketing assets
•Choice of export format (including Excel / HP SmartQuote XML)
•Buy Now function with online eCommerce integration
•Powerful measurement to help with ROI calculations
•All quotes stored in the channelcentral cloud

For further information on HP iQuote and how it can help your business please contact interested@channelcentral.net

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From HP Virtual Assistant to iQuote

August 10, 2010

We look back on the evolution of HP Virtual Assistant in 1998 to iQuote in 2010! Those of you that worked in the UK IT Channel will look back with a certain nostalgia.

iQuote is a direct descendent of the HP (Compaq) VA, although it is much, much more powerful. The VAs allowed Sales people and Customers to easily interpret the rules of a system and copy/paste parts. Importantly it was full of benefit/sales messaging. The VA was a Lotus Notes database that was published to Computacenter’s public web site – it was consistently the most utilised section of the Intranet and possibly the Website.

Tim Moyle, MD of channelcentral.net, wrote the Virtual Assistants back in December 1998 and brought the team together to deliver iQuote into channel:

“We had something similar to the Virtual Assistant when I was at Corporate Computers that was originally devised by Dave Rado. The Virtual Assistants were an updated version and were introduced to address the sheer volume of pre-sales calls that Product Marketing was experiencing. At the time my then boss, Trevor Pugsley, liked the concept but not the name. It stuck though.”

iQuote is such a major leap and progression from Virtual Assistant that it’s almost hard to compare the two systems. iQuote’s sophistication matches the technological advances in today’s Internet.

As iQuote is developed and maintained outside of the channel it is much more portable to businesses and the team here has built upon the basic process of generating a quote against complex products and taken it to new levels. That said I always thought that if we could replicate the success of the VAs with iQuote I would be happy – we’ve already exceeded that success!”

If you remember the Compaq (HP) Virtual Assistants please let us know: interested@channelcentral.net.