Distribution Central has become the latest distributor to make its mark on the annuity services space with the launch of new business unit, Annuity Systems.
It will offer a portfolio of tools such as service renewal, warranty conversion, subscription and license management. The business unit will be headed up by Derk van Ogtrop, who previously spent two years as channel account manager for the company’s Firewall Systems security distribution business.
Marketing director, Nick Verykios, said the new business unit was 100 per cent focused on providing annuity services. Resellers have been beta testing over the past few months.
“The development has been inspired by a lot of what our vendors wish they had, but can’t do. It’s not just a refresh technology tool; it’s a business or sales tool for a vendor or a reseller,” Verykios said. “It’s an answer to a problem around renewals and revenues being left on the table. They’re not managed very well by resellers or vendors, and they’re definitely not managed very well by users.”
Annuity Systems provides a custom-built online tracking and reporting system, which is linked to a database containing live renewable contracts, warranty expirations and licence contracts, so resellers can see what service contracts are due.
When a reseller or vendor logs in, they have access to all customer information and tools to help with contracts and transactions, IT asset configurations, product end-of-life, updates and upgrades, and financial information and forecasting of renewals income. Renewal notices are provided on a 60-, 30- and seven-day schedule.
According to van Ogtrop, it’s ideal for resellers that have a managed services-type solution where they can centrally manage all information. The renewal quoting tool enables resellers to automatically create a customer quote for a specific asset. There are also request options to renew, upgrade or retire an asset, van Ogtrop said.
“It’s a powerful tool for resellers when they’re trying to do a warranty claim or something of a similar nature,” Distribution Central CEO, Scott Frew, said. “Annuity Systems has been a key component in helping some of the larger organisations that don’t have their own asset tracking systems find the serial number set, check what the status is and even the location based on the information on the box.”
Offering annuity services is an evolving trend in the distribution world. Express Data licensing and annuity manager, Niall Connell, said its strategy is based around an annuity portal which tracked every renewable licence.