Bay Networks is arming its resellers with a new Web service that includes a configuration tool, a "shopping basket", a complete product catalogue, as well as pricing and availability information.
The online facility, called eNet Connections, was launched last week and aims to shorten the selling cycle for Bay resellers, said Lisa Robinson, regional marketing manager for the company in Australia and New Zealand.
"eNet Connections enables our channel partners to use the web to keep up to date on complex products and technologies and manage their time more efficiently," she said.
Robinson said the recently released Inform study clearly demonstrated that resellers are demanding and using online information services.
Bay's Configurator lets resellers work through various steps of the buying process, allowing them to determine specific requirements for customers. Network Modeller creates network models based on the BayStack product line for local area networks.
Once a network has been modelled or a device configured, products can be transferred to the "shopping basket". Users then can download this list to a spreadsheet, which can be used as the basis for submitting an order to a distributor.
According to Bay officials, electronic commerce capabilities will be added to eNet by the end of this year. In Australia, this will allow resellers to submit orders direct to their preferred distributor.
Although the eNet press release claimed the service can be used by direct users as well as the channel, Robinson dismissed suggestions that the tool may allow customers to bypass their reseller.
"We work on a channel model in Australia," she said. "The end user can use the tools if they want, but they won't be able to order a product. They still have to purchase from a reseller.
"The whole thing has really been designed for the channel."