AirPods 2 take B2B charts by storm, HP outperforms Lenovo & a fresh breeze in the transceivers segment
The spring quarter of 2019 has spawned numerous shooting stars in hardware’s heaven. Our new ‘ITscope’s Most Wanted’ Market Barometer Q2/2019 provides unique insights into the most exciting developments in the B2B hardware market, including:
Battle of the smartphone giants: Apple and Samsung leave Huawei far behind
A breath of fresh air: new, cheaper GBIC transceivers from HP
Change of power: HP wangles all-in-one system crown out of Lenovo
Tablet talk: Surfaces put iPads in their place again
B2C is not the limit: Apple’s AirPods 2 take the B2B charts by storm
Impressive: new printer models from HP go down well
“Exactly what your customer needs.” True to this motto, categories can now be individually adapted, e.g. “standard workplace”, “developer workplace”, “conference systems”, “office supplies” and much more. The contained articles can thereby be determined by filter, uploaded list or manually, allowing you to tailor each customer’s frontend perfectly to their needs.
Own articles, such as services or product bundles, aren’t a problem either. The B2B Suite imports them automatically and continuously with the prices you have assigned. Distribution articles and own articles can be combined seamlessly and directly ordered by your customers.
Automatic routing of customer orders
Forwarding customer orders automatically to the distribution: The ITscope B2B Suite makes it happen — and has already proven itself successfully with several system vendors. If order automation is activated, the IT service provider does not have to intervene in the order; it is virtually independent. The prerequisite for this is the customer selecting the supplier (pseudonymised) himself. All order data is then forwarded electronically — and if dropshipment has been selected, the articles are automatically delivered to the customer.
To ensure smooth processing after an order has been placed, detailed delivery information is automatically forwarded to your B2B customers in order to keep them updated in the best possible way. Tracking links and serial numbers of the supplier are visible just as detailed order statuses, both in ITscope and by e-mail notification to your customers… it all works out!
CTO configurator for Apple products
Anyone who regularly sells Apple CTO products to their customers via distribution knows the problem: finding the right variant from thousands of article numbers is like searching for a needle in a haystack.
A CTO configurator now has been integrated into the ITscope B2B Suite so that your B2B customers can easily assemble their new Apple notebooks as usual. This feature can be activated for your B2B customers in the respective customer shop. Your customer then selects the favourite equipment for their next Notebook of his choice — ingeniously simple!
Connect customer systems directly via OCI PunchOut
Companies having their own IT department or eProcurement system can also be connected to the B2B Suite to implement IT procurement and approval processes. The ITscope B2B Suite supports PunchOut in several ways, allowing for exchange of shopping carts and orders mechanisms with such systems smoothly.
In addition to cXML, data can now also be transferred via an OCI interface. This is particularly required in SAP environments — often used by public institutions and medium-sized companies. With OCI, your customers can log in to your B2B shop directly from SAP, create shopping baskets, and transfer them to SAP as order proposals. At the same time, customers benefit from upstream and downstream automation.
Neutral design for a professional look
Simple and sleek — that’s the new design of the ITscope B2B Shops. In neutral shades of grey and white, the surface gives a clear focus on the products and functionalities for the user. Not much reminds you of the traditional ITscope shopping environment: merely the multi-cart structure and the division by order phase have been incorporated into the new interface.
To make your customers feel even more “at home” in their personal shopping environment in the future, we are currently working on individualising the look and feel of your B2B customer shops. Soon you will be able to choose from different designs and colour schemes to optimally match your B2B portals to your customers.
More and more ICT distributors at home and abroad are discovering ITscope as a sales channel. Especially when entering new markets, a listing at ITscope can become a true sales multiplier: The ITscope network, containing more than 7,400 active users from the ICT industry, helps to achieve maximum visibility — without the need of dedicated customer acquisition.
For system integrators and ICT resellers, this means more choice, more transparency and more freedom to decide. Since March, the ITscope supplier base has grown by another six companies. As a result, our trading network now comprises almost 400 distributors.
Below is an overview of the new listings and their scope of integration in ITscope:
There is good news for all system integrators who regularly realise IT projects at special manufacturer conditions for big customers: This type of projects — e.g. for communities, hospitals, public corporations or “campus” target groups — can now also be effected through ITscope. Orders at project prices can be placed via the web interface as well as from within ERP systems via the ITscope API.
In doing so, we have extended out platform by another important procurement use case for system vendors. The benefit is: Project demand is ordered electronically via ITscope and project prices are imported directly into your own ERP system via our API. The latter is usually not possible when purchasing at distributor online shops, thus interrupting data flow and making manual transfer necessary. Moreover, orders need to be placed one by one in several distributor shops. ITscope lets you purchase your project articles from several suppliers all in one place.
Enable your project lists, steady, go.
In order to handle projects at special manufacturer conditions in ITscope, you simply have to send an informal activation request for project lists to the distributor. After entering your FTP login data with the respective supplier, you will be able to see your project prices for each projected article in ITscope.
“It is a great simplification for us to see the project lists from the distribution directly in ITscope. This helps us to get an instant overview by project article, which supplier has how many projected items left and who gives the best price for it.“
Michael Ruttmann from NCS Netzwerke Computer Service
You can order project articles from your project lists in ITscope the same way you do for articles at list prices or individual conditions: add to cart, send order, done.
ALSO and Tech Data have already been integrated
The first suppliers to integrate project lists in ITscope have been ALSO and Tech Data. Both distributors have been selling through ITscope for around 10 years already and now enable handling of projects directly through ITscope. Since both companies are connected via EDI, customers may enjoy various additional features like electronic document exchange, dropshipment, or electronic dispatch of ESD licenses. More suppliers to implement project business in ITscope will be activated successively.
For further information on how to set up project lists, please consult our help page. For any other questions that you may have, please don’t hesitate to contact us at support [at] itscope.com.
Many of our customers have asked for it, now we have implemented them: Order documents like purchase orders, order responses, invoices, and deliver notes can now be downloaded for each order as PDF and XML files. This features is available as of now via web interface and API.
Documents related to your orders in ITscope can be viewed and saved in the transactions history of the respective order and may be downloaded seperately or bundled as a zip file, allowing for clean documentation and insight into important order details at any time. Thanks to the XML download in openTRANS, all documents can also be imported into your ERP system.
No limits ICT procurement: The ITscope supplier network keeps growing in 2019. We are happy to announce five new listings from Germany, Austria, Poland and the Netherlands during the past two months.
The B2B electronics specialist with its headquarters in Neu Wulmstorf extends the ITscope product portfolio by roughly 26,000 electronics and parts articles. With more than 20 subsidiaries in seven federal states, the full-range distributor has so far predominantly supplied the electronic retail. Now their assortment is also available through ITscope.
The Austrian sibling of api Computerhandels GmbH, which has been successfully selling through ITscope since 2006, has now decided to get active in ITscope as well. With an extensive assortment of more than 83,000 articles, another broadliner is now available to system vendors and ICT resellers from Austria “directly in their neighbourhood”. The product range from api Austria (api Österreich) contains more than 370 brands, among which APC, EFB Elektronik, Lindy, Fuijitsu, Lenovo and HP can be found.
Our Polish customers will be delighted to learn about the launch of Action S. A. in ITscope. As a part of ACTION Capital Group, Action S. A. has grown to be a supplier of comprehensive portfolios enclosing the domains of IT, software, peripherals and audio/video. With approximately 26,000 articles, the Piaseczno based broadliner extends the product portfolio for Polish ITscope users in their home market.
The sector of telecommunications systems in ITscope has experienced an add-on, too. 270 Innovaphone products are now available for purchasing through VAD Mehrens Unified Communication, who have been listed in ITscope since December 18th, 2019. The product portfolio of specialty supplier Mehrens Communications encompasses classic IP telcoms, phone conferencing, instant messaging as well as desktop video calling and video conferencing.
Service Parts International is the 21st distributor from the Netherlands that has meanwhile joined the ITscope network. The Zaltbommel-based on-demand supplier of servers, printers and laptops starts with an assortment of 5,500 articles, mainly focussing on printer accessories from HP. Customers of the company benefit from same-day shipping for orders placed before 4.30pm.
The supplier force in ITscope has been strengthened another time in Q3: 15 new distributors from seven EU countries have joined the ITscope network within the past three months:
Electronic Order Interface
Carema Hardware B.V.
DSD Europe B.V.
EOD European Online Distribution GmbH
Globix Vetrieb GmbH & Co. KG
Incredible Computers Ltd.
Megabit (Südtirol) GmbH
Printberry Distribution GmbH
ThinClient GmbH (SmartSignage24)
That means: With meanwhile more than 370 distributors — around 50 being non-German organisations — and more than three million products, ITscope is among the biggest ICT trading networks in the whole of Europe. 🚀
A complete list of all active distributors in ITscope can be viewed here ».
Now integrated via EDI: Wortmann Telecom
Another extension has been made with regards to order automation: all orders placed with Wortmann Telecom in ITscope are now routed by EDI, providing various services:
✅ Order response documents ✅ Dispatch notifications ✅ Invoices ✅ Serial numbers ✅ Parcel tracking ✅ Partial delivery ✅ Dropshipment
Orders transmitted by EDI are processed fully automatically, enabling shorter handling times and thus faster delivery. Meanwhile, a total of 39 suppliers has been integrated into ITscope by EDI.
15 years ITscope… that’s a long time. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the past 1.5 decades: on our own development, but also on the challenges and innovations the Channel has seen. We would like to thank you — our customers, partners and companions — for 15 exciting years, review the most important milestones of the industry, reflect on changes at ITscope — and give you an overview of the future of our platform.
It all began in the ‘millenium summer’ of 2003: we, i.e. Alexander Münkel, Benjamin Mund and Stefan Reger, gathered at the open air bath of Bruchsal, Germany, to write the business plan for a company that should influence the ICT industry sustainably: ITscope was born, and we started operations beginning of November in Karlsdorf-Neuthard, Germany.
We had collected some experience in hardware commerce with our TFT shop Panelty.de before and realised there is a problem that was longing for a technical solution:
“Price lists used to have the most chaotic formats at that time. Some suppliers even sent them by fax. Benjamin Mund and I had been in the middle of our Information Technology studies and were convinced: we can make this simpler!”
Only few of you will remember our first tool: yes, there has been a V1.0 of the ITscope MarketViewer, and it launched in 2005. 😉 We even sent out CDs with a 200MB database containing 200,000 products from 119 suppliers. This is how it looked like:
A smart marketing move? Or sudden death for ITscope?
It was end of 2005 when our small business experienced unexpected acceleration: our product caught the attention of Alexander Roth form ChannelPartner. We exchanged a few words on the phone only and had never expected neither the headline nor the hype that was following promptly after his article ‘Distis ausspioniert’ [editor’s note: German for ‘Distributors spied on’] about the MarketViewer was published:
One week later, we had 250 new signups — and a few warning letters in our mailbox. 😱
“Two distributors were instantly removed from the MarketViewer. We have clarified that we have always handled individual prices as strictly confidential and that they can only be seen by the respective reseller. That helped easing the flurry relatively quick. Some even congratulated us for a ‘perfect market entry’ — and we were able to push our vision further.”
“Geiz ist geil” threatened the Channel
The price transparency movement — simply consider the “Geiz ist geil” campaign [editor’s note: German for “Stinginess is sexy”] from 2002 — was the latest B2C trend, making it even harder for ICT resellers to survive on ebbing margins.
It became virtually impossible to compensate service by hardware profit. This is why at ITscope, we pursued two objectives from the very beginning:
first, better margins for our resellers thanks to better purchasing conditions and second, more time for customer care thanks to automation.
From 2007, we therefore built export and API features, e.g. for automatic product creation in ERP systems, and integrated content data from CNET as well as Icecat. First official interfaces to channel ERP systems like Mention and c-entron were available from 2008. Today, more than 15 ERP systems are connected out-of-the-box.
MarketViewer 3 — and other dead ends
Why do we fall? — So we learn how to lift ourselves up again. 😉
It was a great time, back then in 2009. Especially the CeBIT part. We introduced its.shop and MarketViewer 3, too. Unfortunately, both products were based on platforms that were not technologically sustainable. This is why we had to say goodbye to both MarketViewer 3 and its.shop in the end.
Leap into the cloud, EDI for the Channel
2011 standen wir dann am Scheideweg: Weiterwursteln oder neue Wege beschreiten? Wir machten einen klaren Schnitt und trennten uns von unserem langjährigen Investor, der DCI AG. Das kostete Kraft, doch wir konnten auf ein Netzwerk aus juristischer und wirtschaftlicher Beratung zurückgreifen, das uns durch diese schwierige Zeit begleitet hat. Heute sind wir stolz darauf, wieder ein gründerfinanziertes und inhabergeführtes Unternehmen zu sein!
2011 was a crossroad year for us: continue the same way, or risk to discover new trails? Eventually, we made a clear cut and at the same time separated from our longtime investor DCI AG. This sapped much of our energy, but thankfully, we had legal and advisory backup in our network, who had helped us through these rough times. Today, we are proud to be a founder-funded, owner-managed company.
On the technology side, we ventured a comeback based on a new-from-scratch, entirely browser-based solution: away from the client, and right into the cloud. In Vaadin, we found a Java framework that united lightweight web applications and a powerful ReST API, and provided us with a solid basis for further development. Since then, we have extended our platform step by step in iterative development processes.
Standing still was no option: we began to realise automatic order processes — so-called EDI integrations — in 2013. Today, 40 distributors, among which are ALSO, api, Ingram Micro, KOMSA and Tech Data, are connected to ITscope by EDI. This provides significant benefits for all entities involved in the order process: less cost, faster handling, better deliverability. It is our aim to further extend this feature continuously.
New: digital solutions to unite sales and procurement processes
One thing is for sure: There is still massive potential for system integrators in relation to sales. In 2016, we made a first step with interactive live online quotes. No more tedious document ping-pong — the future is digital, direct and without media interruptions. We are now opening up a new chapter with our B2B Suite and, analogous to producement, transfer our customers’ sales process into the cloud. We have re-imagined sales in collaboration with some of you — our customers: sales without shop systems or conventional quotes.
In a nutshell, B2B Shops gives all system integrators the opportunity to provide their own customers with individually tailored shopping environments that route customer orders to the distribution automatically. First customers are already using our new solution.
André Nösse from Nösse Datentechnik explains:
“We have tried to find a new, innovative way to make IT purchasing of one of our major clients better and faster. Soon we realised that the features we use in ITscope are exactly those that we would like to give to our customers.”
We are very proud of this solution indeed: system integrators are able to invite their clients into a closed shopping area that is easy to integrate into their clients’ procurement systems and lets them purchase upon click.
“It is incredibly easy to set up a customer shop with ITscope. In a few minutes only, everything is ready to sell, from product range and selection of suppliers, over margin rules to individual logo and design of our customer. Our sales staff doesn’t even have to ask someone from IT for help.”
Sneak peek into the future…
We will continue to work hard so that digitalisation will work for YOU, too: with easy to implement, efficient and practicable solutions for your everyday challenges. This is why we would like to make our new sales solution available to everybody as soon as possible.
We are moreover dedicated to push forward features for our international clients. This is why we have already integrated more than 40 suppliers from all across Europe. Full procurement in several foreign currencies is on top of our roadmap for 2019.
Much more is to come, and we are full of ideas. 😊 This is why we continuously look for new fellows, especially in the domains of Java development, sales and marketing.
In parallel, we also support young talents and offer trainings. This is why we are overly excited that 23-year-old Taha Aktas, one of our talents, has just been awarded Best Informatics Trainee of Baden-Württemberg.
Taha, we are proud of you! 🎉
Quo Vadis, Channel? — Voices & comments from the industry
In being an anchor point for the ICT industry, we are regularly in mutual exchange with companies from the Channel. For our 15th birthday, we asked a few longtime customers and partners: What will be next? What is it that will be shaping the channel? — Here are their answers:
“While companies in the enterprise sector will continue another while to run their own data centers, the trend among SMEs is straight towards the cloud. In the fields of servers, we will moreover continue to be engaged in the ‘big data’ topic. As our clients produce more and more data that is to be processed, their infrastructure needs to grow simultaneously.”
— Firat Güney, CEO of Happyware Server Europe GmbH
“The ICT industry has significantly changed during the past 15 years. Seen as ‘machine movers’ in the past, system vendors have transformed into holistic service providers who offer 360° services to their customers. There have also been shifts on the client side: companies nowadays regard IT as strategic competitive advantage, rather than a cost block. Moreover, security thinking has remarkably improved with regards to data management. It will be crucial for the success of the industry to say goodbye to isolated systems and move on to comprehensive, integrating strategies.
— Andreas Schober, CEO of aconitas GmbH
“The Consolidation process among system houses will move on. Smaller system vendors will yet continue to be successful if they specialise and build on monthly gross yield. Automated accounting of cloud and managed services with Systemhaus.One is already important today and will gain even more importance in the future.”
— Thomas Neumeier, CEO of neumeierAG
“One of the milestones in the past 15 years has surely been the shift towards drop shipment. Today, all procedures are much more process-oriented, so stocking up like in former years has become irrelevant. Also, the paradigm of integration has very much established, both on the business and the technology level. Especially ITscope has helped us here. Thanks to their integration into our ERP system, our sales and purchasing teams can collaborate in the best way possible, accelerating our business processes significantly.”
— André Nösse, CEO of Nösse Datentechnik GmbH & Co. KG
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