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9/1/2004
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Avnet Says New Configurator Improves Logistics

Vendor also strikes a deal with data integration firm Informatica to offer a new bundled product to VARs.

Avnet Partner Solutions' IBM Americas division Tuesday rolled out a new order management system for solution providers and struck a deal with data integration software vendor Informatica to offer a new bundled solution for VARs.

The new order management system, called Request To Order, integrates configuration, quotes and order status into a single database that can be viewed by Avnet Partner Solutions VARs. Rolled out in San Antonio at the distributor's Ignition '04 for its IBM Business Partners, the system is available through Avnet Partner Solutions' Channel Connection portal and allows partners to view an order comprised of multivendor brands.

Avnet Partner Solutions executives said the system creates an environment that more closely resembles the partner's typical sales cycle and provides a consistent order process along the entire supply chain.

"Our ongoing commitment to our partners is to find new ways to help them grow, while taking costs out of their business," said Fred Cuen, president of Avnet Partner Solutions, IBM Americas, Tempe, Ariz. "By aggregating the sales process across all the brands that are available through Avnet Partner Solutions, we make it easier for our partners to deliver total solutions for their customers."

The streamlined order system allows business partners to submit configuration and quotation requests across all Avnet Partner Solutions brands and product lines. By connecting all presales transactions to one original customer deal, the productivity in the order process is significantly increased, Cuen said. Avnet Partner Solutions, IBM Americas, also said Tuesday it is offering a new Informatica and IBM Dashboard Engine Appliance (IIDEA) solution to its VARs. Optimized for IBM Business Partners, the hardware and software data integration bundle is aimed at midsize businesses and includes an IBM eServer xSeries Intel-based system, coupled with Linux, IBM data and Informatica data integration software. IIDEA provides an all-in-one, rapid deployment platform specifically designed to support business financials, compliance and risk management reporting initiatives. To enable partners to sell and deliver the IIDEA bundle, Avnet Partner Solutions has launched targeted training and marketing on behalf of its partners at no charge. The distributor will host a series of sales Webinars, along with a Technical Boot Camp, in October. Once partners are trained, they can take advantage of a 10-city road show to build awareness in their geographies, coupled with a telemarketing campaign. Avnet Partner Solutions also gives solution providers access to the production version of the application via a browser where they may reserve dedicated time for additional hands-on training or for demonstrations to customers.

David Steinberg, director of data management and business intelligence, at Idea Integration, an IBM Business Partner in Jacksonville, Fla., said the bundle makes a more attractive total solution for his customers and the plans to market and build awareness should have a positive impact on his business.

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