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 Today that almost certainly means a web service as even hourly text files can be out of date.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.

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.


iQuote welcomes the G4 ProBook Families!

October 18, 2016

PROD_PBK450G4The HP ProBook G4 families bring lots of new configuration options into iQuote for HP Inc.

The thin, light, tough design of the HP ProBook G4 families gives mobile professionals powerful tools to stay productive on the go. Equipped for productivity, the ProBook G4 range delivers the performance and security features essential for today’s mobile workforce. Users can choose from a 13.3” diagonal display with the ProBook 430 through to a 17.3” display with the ProBook 470 and select either Intel or AMD Processors.

The following families are now available for quoting in EMEA:

ProBook 430 G4
ProBook 440 G4
ProBook 450 G4
ProBook 455 G4
ProBook 470 G4

There are many models available within each family so login to iQuote today and take a look at what you could be quoting for!

iQuote is Configure, Price, Quote Software developed for HP Inc. by www.channelcentral.net


HP Elite X3 is now in iQuote

October 14, 2016

PROD_Elitex3Experience the power and productivity of a PC, the versatility of a tablet, and the connectivity of a smartphone with the HP Elite x3, HP’s first built for business 3-in-1 device. It’s designed to deliver simple and seamless access to people, apps, and data all on a 5.96” display!

The handheld HP Elite x3 is an easy and convenient way to work, in the office and on the go. Dock it in the optional HP Elite x3 Desk Dock or HP Elite x3 Lap Dock to get the productivity of a desktop or the convenience of a notebook. Crafted for business users, the HP Elite x3 is a robust device with powerful processing power and a long-life battery. An Iris scanner and fingerprint reader make login fast, and dual SIM card slots support travel.

The exciting and innovative HP Elite X3 is available for quoting in iQuote with the following models:

AMS Smart Buy Models: X9U42UT
AMS ‘A’ Models: X5V47AA, X5V50AA
EMEA ‘A’ Models: Y1M46EA, Y1M44EA, Y1M43EA, Y1M45EA, Y1M48EA, Y1M49EA, Y1M50EA, Y1M47EA

Login to iQuote today and start quoting your customers with the HP Elite X3!

iQuote is Configure, Price, Quote Software developed for HP Inc. by www.channelcentral.net


channelcentral at CompTIA EMEACON16

October 13, 2016

ComptTIA Premier Member LogoAs a Premier Member of CompTIA, channelcentral was invited to attend our first EMEACON this year in London.  The event was held in a great venue and attended by over 400 IT Channel professionals from a host a Managed Service Providers, Vendors and Resellers.

The event is a mix of certification sessions for those looking to build their CPD hours and IT Channel sessions for the wider community and is very well planned out. On Tuesday the event kicked off and we were fortunate enough to attend a lively session by the author Charlie Hutton, who gave some fantastic insight to Online Lead Conversion in his session “How to ‘Legally Murder’ your Competitors Online”. There were also a number of other useful workshops led by different thought leaders.

Also on Tuesday we heard from Tracy Pound, Managing Director of MaximITy who introduced a fantastic initiative to introduce more women into the world of IT. The #MakeTechHerStory campaign was launched and led many of the Professionals in the room to ‘let their hair down’ momentarily by finding innovative ways to wear the campaign bandana!

A great Day 1 was wrapped up with a drinks reception and fantastic Networking Dinner which was enjoyed by all.

CompTIA Stand PictureDay 2 saw the main foyer full of exhibitors who had an incredibly early start to set-up stands to promote their solutions to the rest of the delegates.

channelcentral was fortunate to have a great stand position and be given the opportunity to promote its Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software and other services. It was a busy day with lots of insightful conversations taking place around the event, including more sessions for the Certification Partners and IT Channel that had a chance to expand their knowledge on Cybersecurity, the Internet of Things and the general state of the industry.

Thank you to CompTIA for a great couple of days of Networking. It was a good opportunity for channelcentral to meet new customers and build Channel relationships. The hospitality was superb and we look forward to joining CompTIA at many more events in the future!


channelcentral at Canalys EMEA

October 7, 2016

canalysEarlier this week channelcentral was fortunate to be part of Canalys Channel Forum EMEA in Barcelona. The event was attended by over 1200 IT Channel professionals from Vendors, Distributors, Resellers and Channel Service Providers.

On Tuesday morning the event was kicked off by Keynote sessions in the main arena from Lenovo, Dell and HP Inc. The Keynote sessions were audience led with a live Q&A. Gianfranco Lanci was up first on stage to discuss the strength of the Lenovo PC business and mentioned how consolidation in the IT Distribution Channel is positive.  Lanci was shortly followed on stage by Michael Dell who spoke tirelessly about being number 1 in the market. Dion Weisler of HP Inc. soon fought back and made it very clear that their message is “Partner First”. Weisler spent much time focussing on the messages of Innovation, the Samsung A3 acquisition and diversity in the workplace.

After a short break it was Antonio Neri’s turn on stage from Hewlett Packard Enterprise. Neri also fought back against Dell and who is number 1 and focussed his message on Channel partners. Neri finished by stating that HPE want to be the IT in the ‘Internet of Things’.

The Keynote sessions were closed with Edwin Paalvast of Cisco who echoed Lanci’s message on consolidation in the IT Distribution Channel being a positive move.

The greatest feature of the Canalys event is the one-to-one meeting sessions where Partners have the opportunity to meet face to face, form new business relationships and plan for the year ahead. It was a pleasure for channelcentral to meet many customers there.

Steve Brazier of Canalys wrapped up Day 1 with some interesting industry statistics and his outlook for the future.

A spectacular Gala Dinner took place outside of the city on Tuesday evening which provided another great opportunity for networking, followed by a Sunrise run on Wednesday morning. The final day was packed full of more one-to-one meeting sessions, theatre sessions and a closing note from Canalys.

A great event to celebrate the IT Channel. We hope to see you next year in Venice!


Five versatile modes, one detachable PC

September 21, 2016

The HP x2 210

PROD_x2210G2When work demands flexibility, you need a mobile PC that can keep up. Designed to fit the way field sales force, small businesses, and mobile professionals work, the versatile HP x2 210 Detachable PC gives five modes for the price of one. It goes beyond notebook and tablet functions with write, share, and watch modes.

● Windows 10 Pro.
● A durable keyboard base and 135° reflex hinge.
● Windows 10 Pro 64-bit powered by an Intel® Atom™ Quad-Core processor.
● HD webcam and Audio by Bang & Olufsen.
● Wirelessly project HD content in a conference room or client site with WiDi6 or Miracast.
● HP Touchpoint Manager.
● Optional HP Care Packs

The HP x2 210 is now available in iQuote EMEA with the following models:

EMEA ‘A’ Models: L5H40EA, L5H41EA, L5H42EA, L5H43EA, L5H44EA, L5H45EA

iQuote is Configure, Price, Quote Software developed for HP Inc. by www.channelcentral.net


A successful show at GPC 2016 in Boston

September 16, 2016

HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise wrapped up a very successful GPC conference in Boston this week.

20160913_120957channelcentral.net was proud to be a Networking Sponsor for the event. The HP Inc. and HPE partner community are strong adopters of the channelcentral.net-developed iQuote tool, and the GPC conference gave channelcentral.net the opportunity to highlight a number of new features within the tool. Among the new features unveiled at GPC were a number of new “Product Finder” filter features for hardware, software, and options; an enhanced user experience that gives more control and preference of view for the user, and the integration of HP Financial Services (HPFS) payment terms so users of the tool can instantly determine the finance options and payments for their purchases. The iQuote product was presented in both the HP Inc. and HPE showcase areas, and throughout the sponsor area by channelcentral.net Client Directors Terry Knott and Tod Johnson. Feedback from HP Inc. and HPE partners and Distributors was very positive, and expectations are that the trajectory of iQuote use will accelerate even faster as the new platform is released.

20160912_091044The GPC event itself was started off as HP Inc. took to the stage on the morning of the opening day by creating a “rave” atmosphere complete with an opening musical act that caught the attention of the senses (and eardrums!) of all attendees. HP Inc. CEO Dion Weisler did a remarkable job of keeping the energy high throughout the 2-plus hour opening session, and highlighted some A3 printer products that have been in the works for some time and ultimately resulted in the HP Inc. acquisition of Samsung’s printer division. How often do you hear an acquisition announcement *and* see their product line-up at the same time!? A great way to start the event for sure. On Day 2, Meg Whitman and the HPE team had their work cut out given the energy HP Inc. injected into the audience; and the speed-themed, “make money” message kept pace quite well with HP Inc. Both the HP Inc. and HPE Showcase areas were busy throughout the show (as was channelcentral.net within the showcase area), and a failed guerrilla marketing attempt by Dell/EMC appeared to lead to an even greater focus on HP Inc. and HPE’s messaging and capabilities to deliver products, solutions, and services via their #1 rated partner network.

We would like to thank our customers that spent time with us throughout this year’s Conference and we would also like to extend that thanks to HP Inc. and HPE for having us there as sponsors.

If you missed us at this year’s GPC and you would like to learn more about channelcentral services for HP Inc. and HPE Channels, then download our brochure or get in touch.