Speeding the ordering process, increasing productivity, and meeting customer needs by using a Cisco Integrated Commerce Solution.
Background-- Headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia, Comstor.net is a value-added distributor delivering networking products and services, as well as a variety of engineering, operations, and financial outsourcing services, to resellers around the world.
Challenge-- Internet latency slowed the ordering process, reduced internal productivity, and made it difficult for the company to consistently meet its customers' required lead times. Comstor.net required a solution that would address these challenges and scale to meet the needs of future growth.
Solution-- The Cisco Integrated Commerce Solution (ICS) provides a customized, scalable system that allows Comstor.net to rapidly access information and place orders directly with Cisco from a local server. The Graphical User Interface (GUI) for this solution is easy to learn and use, and it eliminates delays associated with limited Internet bandwidth.
Results-- No longer dependent on the speed and availability of their Internet connections, Comstor.net procurement personnel save time every day, allowing them to more effectively manage individual orders. In addition, they can configure and submit orders faster than ever, which permits them to process a higher volume of orders on a regular basis. For Comstor.net, ICS has streamlined overall business operations, enabling them to successfully meet customer lead times and accommodate specific request dates.
Comstor.net Partners with Cisco for a Scalable Solution
Comstor.net is a value-added network solutions distributor headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia. The company, which has made significant infrastructure investments to facilitate its resellers' business growth, is committed to delivering a comprehensive package of solutions that includes networking products, engineering, and operations services along with financial outsourcing services. Comstor.net differentiates itself by being the only two-tier distributor that offers a complete staff of engineering consultants, many of whom are recognized as Cisco Certified Internetworking Experts (CCIE), one of the highest degrees of technical certification in the industry. In addition, Comstor.net provides a sales force that is 100 percent Cisco-certified, having earned specific expertise in Cisco solutions.
Comstor.net used the Internet to create and submit orders to Cisco, which meant that during peak periods of Internet traffic, or during other times of diminished bandwidth, the company faced significant challenges managing its Cisco-related business. And with 75 percent of the company's business Cisco-related, such challenges presented the need to implement a scalable solution to meet the demands of their business.
Internet latency dramatically reduced the productivity of procurement personnel, slowing the ordering process, reducing overall volumes, and making it difficult. if not impossible. to meet customer request dates. Many times these challenges increased operating costs because the company had to hire temporary personnel to complete key projects, which increased the potential for reduced customer satisfaction because the company was unable to consistently offer competitive lead times. To succeed and thrive Comstor.net needed a solution that would address all of these challenges while scaling for future growth.The Cisco Integrated Commerce Solution Provides a 20 percent Increase in Productivity
Cisco worked with Comstor.net to integrate the company's own procurement systems with those of Cisco. The Integrated Commerce Solution (ICS) consists of a local server that stores up-to-date product information and enables the company to conduct business transactions quickly and directly with Cisco. regardless of Internet latency. ICS features a graphical user interface (GUI) that allows users to access information, configure products, and submit orders, quickly and easily. According to Amy Masterson, Cisco Buyer for Comstor.net, the ICS GUI solution has helped tremendously in her daily work, "When you're dependent on the Internet, things can take a while, particularly if the Web is slow or the connection is down. But with this solution, it's instantaneous. All the information I need is right there, and I can submit orders immediately at any time."
For the company, a key benefit of the Cisco Integrated Commerce Solution is that it can be modified for other departments, and it can scale to meet future company needs. As Ken Canard, Vice President of Technology for Comstor.net, explains: "It makes possible a lot of other things that we haven't even begun to capitalize on yet. things that wouldn't have been possible over the Web." One such solution being examined by the company is the integration of ICS information with their other internal systems.
According to Ken, the seamless integration of procurement systems and the ability to conduct business transactions directly with Cisco has eliminated redundant data entry, decreased order errors, and hastened the procurement process. "The ICS system has given us a tenfold increase in speed," he explains. "That kind of speed is what sold us on ICS in the first place." By speeding and streamlining the overall ordering process, ICS has enabled Comstor.net to meet specific request dates and offer the competitive lead times critical to maintaining their competitive advantage.
This increase in speed has also helped those managing the business-to-business relationship of Cisco and Comstor.net. Amy explains, "My work goes so much faster with this system. My time is valuable, and this saves me at least one to two hours a day. no exaggeration." The ability to maximize their productivity has allowed Amy and her colleagues to manage a higher volume of orders more efficiently. This has not only led to increased sales for Comstor.net; but it has also enabled Amy to work on special projects for the company and its customers. And that, Amy says, has definitely resulted in a higher degree of customer satisfaction.