Express Data is to modify the online annuity service it launched four months ago. The distributor has estimated the scheme is on target to net $50 million this year, the amount it has estimated is slipping through the cracks in missed annuity business.
The next step, according to ED annuity manager, Shannon Muller, would be to provide resellers with a pipeline management tool to show which renewals were still available, which had already been closed and which had been lost because the renewal period had passed. She said the tool would be available within weeks. While the program had already been a big hit with resellers and vendors alike, some resellers were already asking if they could customise it to suit their business, Muller said.
“One reseller, for example, might be proficient in Microsoft licensing and request that they receive a reminder 30 days before the customer’s contract expires,” she said. “However, they might be less au fait with Cisco and ask for a 60-day renewal notice.”
The service, launched in February, covers the products of more than 20 vendors.
“It’s not just notification; we are proactively quoting resellers 45 days before a contract is due for renewal,” Muller said. “All they [resellers] have to do is add their margin. We are taking some pain out of their business.”
She said ED had more than 1500 resellers with contract renewals due at some stage this year. About 400 were regularly using the Web-based Annuity Portal but, because ED was sending out quotes, this was not an accurate reflection of how many were taking advantage of the service.
“We send quotes out to all resellers that have a contract renewal coming up so they can speak to the customer and then place an order with us without having to refer to the portal,” she said. Muller estimated that 35 per cent of annuity renewals for ED resellers this year would be around Microsoft’s Software Assurance program.
She said many resellers were unaware that customers who had bought the vendor’s previous maintenance plan, Upgrade Advantage, were eligible to a renewal via Software Assurance.
ED would be encouraging its partners to sell more renewable products, such as software licences, Muller said.