Posts Tagged ‘IT Channel’

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Celebrating a Decade in the Channel

August 29, 2017

August 2017 marks 10 years of channelcentral being in business. We are incredibly excited to be celebrating. It has taken a lot of hard work to get to where we are today, made slightly harder by the Global Recession that coincided with our launch!

In August 2007 channelcentral started as a team of just 4 people working out of a spare rooms. A year later, our flagship product, iQuote, was born. Today, iQuote is used around the world in over 60 countries by Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc. customers. This configure, price, quote (CPQ) software has helped grow their businesses and provide efficiencies within sales teams in hundreds of Distributors and Resellers.

Off the back of iQuote’s success, channelcentral has been able to develop new CPQ Software services, Product Selectors, B2B Sales Portals, and Smartphone Apps as well as many custom built developments to assist the IT Channel. Our Software has been shortlisted for a few awards along the way too!

Today, channelcentral has 2 UK offices and a presence in the US and Colombia to support it’s ever growing business. With 29 members of staff, many of which have come from the IT Channel and are experts in their field, channelcentral is looking forward to the next 10 years and developing many more software solutions for IT Vendors, Distributors and Resellers.

At our Company Meeting held in August 2017 we reflected on the last 10 years and enjoyed an obligatory cake. A huge Thank You to all of our customers for helping us get this far. We wish we could have saved you some cake!

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How can you manage multiple Vendors and your entire Channel more efficiently?

November 30, 2016

email2_09Configuring, Pricing, and Quoting products from multiple Vendors can be a challenge for any Distributor or Reseller. Now you can manage them with a single tool and shorten your quote-to-order cycle, ensure quote accuracy and align your go-to-market strategies.

Multi-Vendor Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software can manage all of your product data feeds, configuration rules, pricing and stock for all of your chosen Vendors’ product lines.

With Multi-Channel capability it can be used by your internal sales/technical/product teams, your customers and even your customers’ own customers!

Freebird CPQ Software, developed by channelcentral.net is a service which offers Multi-Vendor, Multi-Channel and multiple product types too.  Watch our latest video to learn more about Freebird.

To discuss Freebird, contact us today. CPQ solutions from channelcentral will save your company money on IT expenditure, whilst increasing the efficiency of your sales teams and your eCommerce reach with your customers.

Visit http://www.channelcentral.net/freebird.asp

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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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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!

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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!

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channelcentral opens US Office!

August 22, 2016

As we embark on our tenth year of trading, channelcentral is delighted to announce that it is opening its third office – this time in Boston, Massachusetts, adding the USA to our two existing UK office locations.

Americas

This is great news for channelcentral clients based in US, Canada and Latin America.  We have many customers in this region using our iQuote Service for Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc.

This investment is about improving the ease of doing business with channelcentral, providing a gateway into the value we offer through iQuote, Freebird and our custom CPQ solutions.

Tod Johnson, formerly of HP, is joining channelcentral and will be running the Americas business as Client Director. Tod is very experienced in the market, has a great network of contacts and really understands channelcentral’s differentiation and service proposition.

We asked Tod his thoughts on joining channelcentral and this is what he said:

“Being a part of a company like channelcentral, with such tremendous capabilities to drive sales across the technology spectrum is incredibly exciting. After 25 years in IT sales looking for the perfect tools and services that simplify, automate, and bring efficiencies to the labor of the sales process; I’ve not only found them, I now get to carry them in my bag and represent them having become a member of the channelcentral team. The tools and services of channelcentral worked wonders within my own sales experience; and believing in the channelcentral offering from the foundation of personal experience gives me a level of credibility with clients not often found in a career. Establishing operations in the USA is a great opportunity for channelcentral to expand and improve the already exemplary experience they offer clients in the Americas, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

As Tod joins us in the USA, we look forward to growing our market in the Americas region and working much closer with our existing customers.