Digital transformation: What do system houses have to consider now?

 

Computer retailers (system houses) are essential partners, when it comes to the digitalization and sustainability of your business. However, especially in the sales sector, many distributors lack a concrete plan in order to realize this transformation. How can it still  work?

 

Process optimization vs. customer service: A dilemma.

One thing is clear: Without an integration between its own system and the system of the distribution and the customers, a system house will have a hard time competing. Many IT service providers are concerned: How can one improve own processes without impacting the customers in a negative way?

Taking into account that excellent customer service is one of the  unique selling points, these concerns are definitely legitimate. What everyone is looking for is a win-win-situation: The process of the purchasing departement from customer side as well as the sales process at the system house should be smoothly and digitally connected.

 

B2B customers expect to shop without any detours

Every firm is unique when it comes to IT demands and its technological infrastructure. However, one thing everyone has in common: They are in need of straightforward shopping solutions and a partner that assists them with their digitalisation. On the one hand they want to act independently when carrying out recurring purchases like expendable items, on the other hand, they enjoy the consulatation of their service provider when it comes to new, complex IT projects.

Whoever is under the impression that digitalisation ends with PDF documents and offerings via e-mail is surely mistaken. Nowadays, shared work with tools like Google Drive allow for a much more effective work progress. Interactivity allows the customer to make decisions faster and shortens the purchasing process.

Furthermore, internal approval procedures concerning IT acquisitions have been implemented by many firms as well as the consideration of many economic aspects such as obtaining different offerings. In order to do this efficiently, many businesses use their own digital systems  which have to be taken into account as well.

Then there are the wholesalers and the system house itself. The data of the purchase order has to be prepared for the distributor system. Afterwards, their response has to be prepared for the procurement systems used by the system house – a process that proves to be vey time-consuming.

 

Competing with the big fish

The big fish in the industry are showing how it is done: Businesses like Bechtle and CANCOM provide their customers with a modern, flexible shopping environment which perfectly integrates the necessary customer and supplier system. The development of such a complex solution is only made possible by considerable, internal resources. This can hardly be implemented by small and medium-sized system houses – they simply lack the necessary ressources for such a complex project. This is where powerful cloud applications prove to be very useful, providing the small and medium-sized system houses with the ability to offer such services to their customers, without changing the budget or taking care of the infrastructure.

 

A well thought-out plan is the key!

In order to be competitive in the enterprise industry, you have to be tactical. But how? By collecting all requirements and work through all of them using the waterfall approach? This can hardly be called efficient.

How about a clearly defined, well thought out masterplan with clearly defined steps ahead? Through agile methods, selected customers can be involved in an early stage and iterative workflows allow for quick and measurable results. This plan should always focus on the main objective: Process optimization, one that helps the business and the customer alike. 

The connection of ones own processes and systems with the customers´and distributors´ systems can free up resources that can be rather used for strategic consulting and customer service instead. In doing so system houses can achieve long lasting customer relationship and client loyalty.

 

Process optimization vs Customer Service: A dilemma?

The challenges of digital transformation are tremendous and the process might often seem like an uphill battle. But the transformation can be done efficiently. In order to stay focused it might help to concentrate on these five key aspects:

  1. Customer Analysis: Understanding your customer should be the base of all digitalization efforts. Which individual demands do your customers have and can some of them be grouped together?  
  2. Creating a unique shopping experience: In order to achieve a lasting customer relationship, providing a generic online store is no longer enough. Contact and offer possibilities, real time information, multi suppplier networks, the integration of internal systems (for example via OCI) are all viable options in order to create a better and more efficient user experience. 
  3. Connecting internal customer systems: This step gives the client the opportunity to manage all data within their own ERP system, guaranteeing an automatic exchange of information. Pre-built, third party interfaces can be a quick solution that allows both parties to save time and money.  
  4. Automated order processes: The customer should be able to transmit data to a wide array of suppliers without having to worry about interfaces. 
  5. Data Loop: In order to complete the data lifecycle, data being provided by suppliers has to go back to customers as well as its own core system. 

 

The ideal solution for a system house

The steps listed above can be quite challenging when done on its own. In order to simplify things, ITscope is offering the B2B Suite, a new cloud service, manufactured specifically for medium sized system houses. It will provide its users all of the above tools and components:

  • Digital sales tool with a direct connection to customer and supplier systems
  • Flexible creation of a customized shopping environments for B2B customers
  • Intuitive and easy to learn set up – no technical know-how needed
  • Dedicated portal for customers– with adabtabe design and  and customized category and price structure
  • Online offering system with the possibility to make changes and leave comments
  • Digital order routing to over 370 fully integrated ITK suppliers for a fully automated sales process
  • Promotional content for over 3 million different ITK products
  • Direct integration and pre-built interfaces to many of the leading ERP systems

 

Download our guide  and learn how to successfully sell to your b2b customers in only 5 steps >>

 

Download the guide

 

Nine new in ninety days

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 ICT industry users, helps to achieve maximum visibility — without the need of dedicated customer acquisition.

For system integrators and ICT resellers, this means a larger selection, more transparency and the ultimate freedom to decide. Since May, the ITscope supplier base has grown by another nine 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:

 

Country Company Electronic Order Interface End customer shipment
Impro Group sàrl
Fourcom ApS
EONETIX Information Technology GmbH
MRM Distribution GmbH & Co. KG
IT24 GmbH
Brömmelhaupt Großhandels-GmbH
Blechschmitt Distribution
Tekno GmbH
bükotec GmbH

 

 

 

News from the Suite

The ITscope B2B Suite is an extensive ecommerce solution based on the ITscope platform. It combines digital sales tools as well as e-procurement for system houses and e-procurement functions for business customers in a single system. With freely configurable B2B shops and live offers, you can work with your customers on one platform and benefit from automated ordering processes leaving you more time to drive your core business forward. The B2B Suite is constantly being further developed through detailed customer feedback. In the past quarter a number of features have been added to it. Among other things, fixed prices for individual customers, a customer view that lets proprietors see what their customers’ portal looks like and many more. 

 

Fixed prices – Now completely individual!

The pricing applied to B2B portals can now be individually adjusted to the customer. The B2B Suite proprietors can determine a fixed price for their customers. This can be done automatically or by uploading an Excel or CSV file.

Our next goal is to provide proprietors with a more flexible way to to create and adjust price rules. In the next step we’re creating the possibility to base rules on manufactures and suppliers. 

 

More opportunities for customers and proprietors

The B2B Suite now allows for independent management of multiple category trees. This allows for a more personalized customer experience and is an important step towards a more clear and convenient b2b experience. Proprietors also have the option of managing more than just one order condition in each customer portal in order to see customer specific shipping costs.

 

What you see is what they get: The new preview mode

With just one click, the account manager can see the established procurement portal and thus seeing and managing it through the eyes of the customer. This allows for an easy way to share the users experience and obtain a feel of the created portal. All of this without dummy users. In addition, there is also the option of placing orders on behalf of the customer, via the customer view. System houses can thus further optimize their service for clients. During consulting situations, the sales employee can order directly on behalf of the customer and thus save all further manual steps.

 

Know your limit!

Operators can set an order limit for customers in the B2B Suite. This takes effect as soon as the sum of all unshipped non invoice orders exceed the specified value. In this case, the next order will be blocked.
For customer portals with order automation in the background this brings additional security. In addition, contractual regulations, such as shipping insurance can be better represented.

New developments

In our feedback sector you can see and follow all the planned developments of the ITscope B2B Suite as well as seeing the new functions live.

Further information about the ITscope B2B Suite here:

 

More about the ITscope B2B Suite »

ITscope @ STARFACE Kongress 2019

New location, new impulses: With its move from Europa-Part Rust to Darmstadium, the Karlsruhe based company has announced to bring fresh accents at this year’s STARFACE Kongress. We at ITscope will complement the orange world of STARFACE with our deep red accent and are looking forward to introducing you to the latest developments at ITscope. System vendors, ICT resellers and suppliers: We connect the channel and will show you innovative solutions to grow your business.

Take this opportunity to experience the latest ITscope features live and stop by for an in-person exchange of today’s challenges in your business — and how to resolve them.

When: October 9th – 10th, 2019
Where: Darmstadtium – Wissenschafts- und Kongresszentrum, Schloßgraben 1, 64283 Darmstadt, Germany

ITscope @ CPN iGNITION28

For Apple deals and system vendors, CPN iGNITION in Zeulenroda, Germany has been an institution for years. With its many opportunities for networking and practical workshops, it is among the most important events for dedicated Apple resellers.

On September 27 and 28, ITscope will be on site again to show you those features of the ITscope platform that are most useful for reselling Apple products. One of these highlights is our CTO builder, which is now part of the ITscope B2B Suite and perfectly complements existing ITscope functionalities, such as EDI orders from over 370 suppliers and the creation of customer-specific purchasing portals.

Visit us and get to know all ITscope tools for your digital sales!

When: September 27th – 28th, 2019
Where: Bio-Seehotel Zeulenroda, Bauerfeindallee 1, 07937 Zeulenroda drive, Germany

ITscope @ api Home & Business 2019

This year, api Computerhandels GmbH is inviting their customers to Duisburg for their 25th company anniversary — and has come up with various special surprises. As one of the first broadliners to join ITscope 10+ years ago, the distributor from Baesweiler, Germany has always proven to be among the leaders in developing innovative distribution concepts and ideas. We are looking forward to celebrating this special event with api!

Even more, we are excited to invite all guests to meet us at booth no. 50 for lively discussions about the challenges of tomorrow’s system house business. Let us show you our latest tools for digitising your sales activities and how our out-of-the-box solution can effortlessly bring your B2B sales activities back to state of the art.

When: September 20th, 2019
Where: Kraftzentrale at Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord, Emscherstraße 71, 47137 Duisburg, Germany, booth no. 50

 

RSVP »

 

ITscope @ ITleague Herbst Summit 2019

The summits of ITleague regularly attract IT companies looking for new, innovative ideas for the future of their business. As one of the driving forces behind the digital transformation of the channel, ITscope will be there, too. We are looking forward to showing you how to create valuable synergies in sales and purchasing with the right, digital tools, helping you to have more time for your core competence: excellent customer service.

When: September 19th – 20th, 2019

Where: ITleague event office, Bahnhofstraße 1, 57072 Siegen, Germany

 

Register here »

 

About ITleague

ITleague is a nationwide association of independently operating IT service providers to strengthen sales and marketing competence. The focus lies on the open and personal exchange. In addition, members can share resources and thus manage large projects together as well as absorb large workloads.

Ingo Lücker, founder and managing partner of the ITleague, has many years of experience in the support of relevant system house cooperations. He worked for iTeam from 2001-2008 and was later responsible for the partner management of the Novacur system house group.

ITscope @ IFA 2019

From Hannover to Berlin: after CEBIT’s closing, IFA is attracting even more channel companies this year. ITscope will be attending the mega event in our capital for the 3rd time this year and we are excited to show our latest developments on api‘s stand. Discover the various tools that ITscope offers to system integrators, resellers, distributors and manufacturers and learn how to use digitalisation, system integration and process automation to make your business processes more efficient.

When: September 6th – 11th, 2019

Where: IFA 2019, Messe Berlin, hall 17, stand 203/8 (at api)

 

RSVP now »

 

ITscope @ Systemhauskongress CHANCEN 2019

“Mastering the Digitale Transformation”: a perfect slogan for this year’s channel event ‘Systemhauskongress CHANCEN’. IDG Business Media is welcoming system vendors on August 28th and 29th in Düsseldorf, Germany to provide exciting talks and mutual exchange of experience.

System integrators may look forward to getting new inspirations and impulses of how to transform the value chain into a value network. One important aspect of this transition is the digitalisation of core business processes. In a co-talk with Nösse Datentechnik about “Smart eProcurement for Business Customer”, we would like to offer you new perspectives on how to perfectly integrate your sales and purchasing procedures. Also, we are excited to give you a live induction of to the opportunities that the ITscope B2B Suite has for you:

  • Digital sales tool with direct integration of your customers via PunchOut — OCI & cXML
  • Create individual customer portals — with no IT or shop system involved
  • Automatic order routing to 370 Distributoren
  • Content for 3+ Mio. ICT articles
  • Direct integration into your ERP system

We are looking forward to meeting you!

Register here »

 

ITscope Market Barometer Q2/2019

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:

ITscope Market Barometer Q2 2019

  • 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

View the latest issue of ITscope’s “Most Wanted” market barometer as PDF or get detailed figures from this MS Excel file.

Also read our detailed report with all background information on the most interesting new entrants as well as top-performing products from 11 categories.

And these are the 30 most active newcomers with hot seller potential:

Pos. Manufacturer & product name Manufacturer # Listed since Q2 clicks
#1 Apple AirPods (2nd generation) MV7N2ZM/A 21.03.2019 3604
#2 HP Enterprise Aruba 1G SFP LC SX J4858D 25.03.2019 2057
#3 Samsung Galaxy S10e, 128GB, Black SM-G970FZKDDBT 22.02.2019 1422
#4 Apple iPad Air Wi-Fi 64 GB Grey MUUJ2FD/A 18.03.2019 1252
#5 MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GAMING X 6G, 6GB V375-040R 20.02.2019 990
#6 HPE Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Standard Edition P11058-041 03.04.2019 888
#7 Apple iMac, i5, 8GB, 1TB, 5K UHD MRQY2D/A 20.03.2019 769
#8 HP LaserJet Pro M404dn W1A53A#B19 28.04.2019 765
#9 Lenovo ThinkPad USB-C Dock Gen 2 40AS0090EU 27.02.2019 700
#10 Apple Apple MacBook Pro 15, i9, 16GB, 512GB SSD MV912D/A 22.05.2019 365
#11 Synology RackStation RS819 13.03.2019 340
#12 Microsoft Visual Studio Professional 2019 C5E-01380 26.03.2019 327
#13 HP Enterprise, 32GB, DDR4, 2933MHz, RDIMM P00924-B21 07.04.2019 300
#14 Iiyama ProLite, 85.6″, 3840×2160 TE8603MIS-B1AG 30.03.2019 277
#15 HP Enterprise 96W Smart Storage Battery P01366-B21 29.04.2019 253
#16 Oculus Rift S 301-00178-01 07.05.2019 240
#17 Apple Smart Cover für 10.5″ iPad Air, Grey MVQ22ZM/A 20.03.2019 219
#18 HP Enterprise ProLiant DL380 Gen10, Xeon 4210, 2U P02464-B21 04.04.2019 207
#19 BARCO Clickhare CSE-200+ R9861521EU 31.01.2019 197
#20 AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 12-Core, 3.8GHz 100-100000023BOX 05.06.2019 184
#21 HP Color LaserJet Pro M479fdw W1A80A#B19 05.05.2019 165
#22 Dell Optiplex VESA-Mount with Adapter-Box MNT-SGL-MFF-D9 02.02.2019 164
#23 LG Super Multi DL, DVD-Burner, Black GH24NSD5 25.02.2019 157
#24 Samsung 65″, SmartTV, 3840×2160 UHD UE65NU7099UXZG 03.05.2019 143
#25 Xiaomi Roborock S6 vacuum robot, Black XM200008 09.05.2019 136
#26 Apple iPod touch 32GB MVHW2FD/A 29.05.2019 112
#27 HP Enterprise Ethernet 1Gb 4-port 331T 647594-B21 16.05.2019 106
#28 Microsoft Surface Hub 2S LPL-00003 03.05.2019 91
#29 ASUS HYPER M.2 X16 CARD V2 90MC06P0-M0EAY0 08.03.2019 74
#30 DJI Osmo Pocket 4K camera CP.ZM.00000097 27.02.2019 69