Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) build-to-order Top Config programme was given a face-lift last week, as distribution giant Ingram Micro launched a revamped configuration tool.
It allows resellers to configure a product via the distributors’ web site, and HP then ships the product directly to the reseller or end-user. However, Ingram’s latest version of the tool gives resellers real-time access to HP’s internal configuration rules that specify new products and detail exactly which products can be put together under Top Config. Previously these were copied on Ingram’s site and maintained manually.
The broadliner has been piloting its version of the configurator – which applies to PCs, notebooks, workstations and servers – in the UK for the past month. Ingram is due to roll out the programme to its other European divisions in the coming months.
Jeroen Van-Es, director of HP busi-ness development at Ingram Micro Europe, told CRN: “In the past we replicated business into our configurator. By launching this service we are able to reduce costs and give resellers a faster and more robust solution.”
Richard Logan, distribution manager, Solutions Partners Organisation UK and Ireland at HP, said: “HP is delighted that the UK pilot has laid the foundation for the pending roll-out of the new configurator across Ingram Micro’s European operation.”
Dan Hitchen, HP business manager at VAR Basilica, said: “Ingram providing a portal will add another string to its bow.”
However, Joe Hemani, chairman of rival distributor Westcoast, said more collaboration between HP and its Top Config distributors is needed to simplify the tool for resellers.
“We are constantly updating our own tool, but we all need to think more about efficiency,” he said.
“All of the distributors have their own front end, but the back end is provided by HP. So there are three different ways resellers can work with the front end, which causes confusion. Ideally, HP should have invested in a uniform front end from the start.”
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