Reseller Equanet has been named as the first monthly winner of the CRN/Syscap Technology Innovator of the Month award for 2002, for its work on its DataFarm online procurement system.
Equanet's DataFarm application enables its customers to access real-time product availability and specification details over the internet.
Equanet has electronic links to over 40 distributor sites and special pricing and delivery agreements with each supplier.
Over 85,000 products are available to Equanet's customers though DataFarm, and each customer has its own custom-designed interface and pricing structure.
When customers place orders, the system triggers an order from Equanet to the distributor which then ships the product directly to the end-user customer. This enables buyers to place orders and Equanet to do business with the minimum human intervention and at lowest possible cost.
Diane Gubb, procurement officer at the Audit Commission in Bristol, just one of many Equanet customers that use the system, says it cuts by half the time taken to procure IT products.
"Eprocurement is everywhere but DataFarm is such a simple system and so easy to use. It is very quick because our requirements are already on the system. It cuts out a lot of time because all I need to do when I get a request for a purchase internally is forward the email to Equanet."
Andy Walsh, sales director of Equanet, says that the system has made a real difference to the company and to its customers.
"It's a bit of a Dell-buster in its own right and it frees up more of the account manager's time to add more value. We regard ourselves as an information resource as much as anything and this system effectively extends our operating hours as well."
Equanet account managers are usually in daily contact with customers but don't need to talk to them about product requirements as most ordering is done through DataFarm.
Gubb said that she's been highly impressed by the level of service provided by the company.
Speaking on behalf of the judges of the award, Computer Reseller News editor Paul Briggs said: "This is a great example of a channel company doing something really effective to compete with the direct model, and offering a complete service at the same time.
"It gives the customer the best of both worlds, and solutions like this, that meet the real needs of the end-user business customer, have a big role to play in the future of the channel."
- The Syscap Technology Innovator award is sponsored by finance, leasing and rentals organisation, Syscap, and supported by Computer Reseller News and Computing.
This year there will be nine monthy awards, and one of the monthly winners will be named as Technology Innovator of the Year at the 2002 Channel Awards in November.
To enter for the award resellers - or their customers - should fill in the on-line entry form at www.technology-innovator.co.uk or to request a postal entry form, call Helen Boydell on 0207 316 9000 or email [email protected]
- A full report will run in CRN print edition on the 18th March
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