Compaq, Toshiba launch extranets to support customers

Compaq, Toshiba launch extranets to support customers

With demand for enterprise services growing exponentially, Compaq and Toshiba will each take a page from Dell's notebook and launch extranet sites in the US to provide services, support, and products for their corporate customers, resellers, and systems integrators.

Compaq's subscription-only Web site, activeAnswers, will be used by Compaq's partners to access information and tools for planning and implementing "packaged enterprise solutions," initially composed of Compaq, SAP AG with its R/3 suite, Microsoft, and supporting products.

"What we are seeing is a tremendous momentum toward packaged enterprise applications vs. the old way of designing customised applications from the ground up, which is cost and time intensive," said Nigel Church, director of marketing for activeAnswers. "We are packing our knowledge and expertise into a standardised form and using the immediacy of the Web to deliver that information and tools to our customers."

Although activeAnswers appears to be similar to Dell's Premier Pages for enterprise customers, Church took issue with this view.

"Dell's view of the world starts on the desktop," he said. "That's fine, but where Dell does not address the problem is if I am rolling out an SAP system to 1000 users. That's not a problem that starts on the desktop."

Compaq will initially stock activeAnswers with information and tools to support SAP R/3 and Web-based projects. Support for Internet commerce, call centre systems, database design, and enterprise resource planning projects is slated to be rolled out over the next 12 to 18 months.

The site will comprise different levels, including static information for research and design purposes; sizing, configuration, and capacity-planning tools in which customers enter data and then receive back reports and recommendations online; checklists to systematise enterprise planning; proposal generators to be used by Compaq resellers and integrators; and online support via e-mail.

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