Autotask Leapfrogs PSA through Acquisition of Cloud-Based E-Commerce Platform
March 17, 2010 —Autotask Corp., the world leader in hosted IT Business Management software, today announced that it has acquired the cloud-based VARStreet e-commerce platform, rising above all IT Professional Services Automation (PSA) solutions by adding powerful tools to automate and streamline the entire IT product sales and procurement process.
VARStreet is the IT industry's most powerful hosted e-commerce automation platform for technology resellers, currently supporting almost $1 billion in IT product sales annually. With the acquisition, Autotask Corporation announced the immediate availability of several new products for Value Added Resellers (VARs), Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and all types of solution providers who need a more affordable way to manage, buy and resell technology products.
There are three VARStreet products which are available immediately:
- VARStreet Back-Office is a completely integrated IT Product Sales and Procurement platform that includes real-time pricing and availability from distributors, advanced product quoting, sourcing and fulfillment.
- VARStreet e-Commerce includes VARStreet Back-Office plus a complete VAR-branded and controlled e-storefront.
- The existing high-end VARStreet XC platform, with more power features and controls, rounds out the product line
An embedded e-commerce module for Autotask is scheduled for release in late April 2010.
"IT engagements and Managed Services naturally carry a product component when VARs consult on the full solution," said Bob Godgart, CEO of Autotask Corporation. "However, without the right automation tools in place, they find that the sales and procurement process is too time-consuming to cover the small margins associated with commoditized products. And worse, when their customers choose to buy technology products through other channels, solution providers lose control over the relationship and can miss out on installation, training, maintenance and managed services revenue." He added, "We're going to make the VARStreet advanced e-commerce technology available and affordable to help more solution providers gain a greater share of their customers' technology purchases, and give them the ability to make decent money in the process."
The existing VARStreet XC product line is widely regarded as the most powerful and comprehensive suite of hosted e-commerce automation tools on the market, and is currently used by hundreds of the largest VARs in North America, such as Emtec, Inc., Pomeroy IT, and Zebra Technologies. Additionally, Autotask Corporation has expanded the product line to include VARStreet Back-Office and VARStreet e-Commerce, putting the technology within reach of any solution provider.
VARStreet Back-Office: Automating All Aspects of the Product Sale and Procurement Process
The VARStreet Back-Office product includes a full set of integrated e-commerce automation tools, including:
- e-Price Book / Catalog — Dynamically updated feeds from 18 major distributors, including BlueStar, Ingram Micro Inc., Synnex, Tech Data, and more than a dozen others, allow Solution Providers to create their own custom product catalogs for each of their customers from among hundreds of thousands of IT SKUs. The catalogs can be customized with unlimited products and services from the VAR. List prices are based on rules established by the VAR, and multiple price levels can be configured to vary by customer or source.
- Advanced Product Quoting — VARs can quickly and easily browse and search through their aggregated custom catalogs to build professional looking quotes or start from a Quote Template. The software pulls in rich specifications and images for each quoted product, along with automatic pricing. VARs can electronically review the quotes with their customers, and VARStreet keeps track of the entire sales pipeline and other key metrics.
- e-Sourcing — Once an order is received from the customer, VARs can use the software to "buy-it-right," where they determine the best source and the best price based on real-time comparative pricing and availability.
- E-Marketing — For VARs who want a simple way to quickly generate demand for their products, an integrated marketing engine can send out bulk customized HTML e-mails to existing customers and prospects. The software includes built-in templates for sending out marketing messages, quotes, order acknowledgements and more… all personalized using data pulled from the contact history. The e-marketing tool also includes real-time reporting on email responses, as well as the ability to create pre- or post-sale surveys and questionnaires.
- e-Procurement — VARStreet Back Office dramatically streamlines the VAR-to-distributor procurement process by automatically converting sales orders into electronic Purchase Orders to most major distributors –all with no re-entry of data. VARStreet manages and tracks the full transaction lifecycle, including order status and shipping from multiple distributors. Orders can also be drop-shipped – lowering inventory overhead and shipping costs even further.
VARStreet e-Commerce: Helping Solution Providers Sell Products On-line
VARStreet e-Commerce includes VARStreet Back-Office plus a world-class hosted e-Storefront to help solution providers take online orders with a minimum of manual work. Each e-Storefront is customized and branded by the solution provider and has a number of automated features, including:
- Dynamically-Updated Content — e-Store catalogs are automatically created and updated from products or categories that the VARs choose to display from their distributors. Rich product descriptions and images are automatically pulled in, along with sale pricing based on VAR-defined parameters.
- Automated Selling Tools — Side-by-side product comparisons, automated up-sell, cross-sell, and special offers, stored favorites, most-popular-listings-first are among the many features that drive increased sales.
- Automated Shopping Cart — The software includes simple check-out, supports multiple payment methods, order confirmations, and shipment tracking for the customer.
VARStreet XC: Still the industry standard for high volume resellers
The high-end VARStreet XC e-Commerce Platform will continue to be offered as the premier solution for larger VARs and solution providers. VARStreet XC includes VARStreet e-Commerce, and VARStreet Back Office, plus higher levels of customization, customer-side procurement workflow rules, enhanced punch-outs and integrations, and more, to meet the requirements of resellers with the largest and most demanding corporate and government clients.
Making VARStreet Technology Available and Affordable for Any Solution Provider
"This technology is now available for any VAR, MSP or solution provider that wants to make more money selling products – not just the VAR 500," said Godgart. "That's why we've introduced the VARStreet Back-Office product at just $99 per month and the VARStreet e-Commerce product, which also includes e-Storefront, starting at $299 per month."
"Every day, the solution provider's customers are going online to buy IT products, accessories, consumables and supplies, such as printer cartridges, cables, paper and other commoditized items," added Godgart. "This is the perfect opportunity for VARs to create new revenue streams for themselves with very little work. The orders come in through the stores, are drop-shipped directly from the distributor, and the VAR gets paid. No touch. All margin."
Customers Sell More With Autotask
Autotask customer Andrew Harper, CIO for Gaeltek of Virginia is looking forward to gaining more efficiency throughout his sales process, "Autotask's addition of the VARStreet e-Commerce and VARStreet Back-Office products will allow me to sell more for less. I am going to save a lot of time and money in managing my product procurement, as well as gain more control over my product sales process. We enjoy the visibility and ease that Autotask brings to our services business, and now this will give us the same ease of doing business on the product side."
This mirrors the sentiments of existing VARStreet XC customers, who have seen a 50 percent improvement in both purchasing and quoting productivity, a 20 percent increase in revenue and an additional five percent dropping straight to their bottom lines. "We have partnered with VARStreet for five years to provide us with customizable ecommerce solutions that have allowed us to win many contracts. Over that time, VARStreet has provided flexible solutions to meet our customer specifications," says Michael Hubbs, director of MIS, Emtec.
"At last solution providers will be able to tie together the entire product and services lifecycle, whether the order is taken electronically or through a salesperson," concluded Godgart. "They can track everything from the initial marketing push through the final delivery of the order, and the history and product information flows into one IT business management system – Autotask."
The VARStreet by Autotask Corporation e-commerce platform is currently available only in North America, but the company has a global roll-out of the technology on the product roadmap.
VARStreet was founded in 1999 with headquarters in Santa Clara, CA and a subsidiary in Pune, India. Fueled by more than $20 million of capital investments, VARStreet was the first fully-hosted e-commerce solution for VARs. Today the VARStreet platform is widely regarded as the most powerful and comprehensive suite of hosted e-commerce tools on the market, and is currently used by hundreds of the largest VARs in North America. Terms of the VARStreet acquisition by Autotask Corporation remain private; however Autotask has formed a subsidiary in Pune, India and retained all staff.
Visit www.varstreet.com for more information on VARStreet Back Office, VARStreet e-Commerce and VARStreet XC.
About Autotask Corporation
Autotask is the No. 1 hosted IT business management platform, offering a better way to sell, deliver, manage, and bill IT products and services. Autotask gives its users complete control over all their critical business processes, delivered through a robust cloud-based infrastructure, and accessible on demand from literally any PC connected to the Internet. VARs, MSPs, IT service providers use Autotask internally to manage their contacts, sales opportunities, quoting, e-commerce, contracts, projects, service tickets, to-dos, notes, time entries, expenses, inventory, invoices and reports. They also use it externally to manage outsourced work, collaborate with clients, and network with their peers. For more information, go to www.autotask.com or call (518) 720-3500.