Distribution Central parent company, Frew Family Investments, has set up a new business venture under the name iAsset.
It will sit as a separate entity to Distribution Central and the training centre, A.S.K Learning.
iAsset is an online data engine for distributors, resellers, vendors and end-users. It provides an overview of how much a manufacturer’s products are under maintenance and what type of maintenance level it is at, information on the end-users environment and their history.
Frew Family Investments CEO, Scott Frew, describes it as a channel control engine. "If you want to do an advanced hardware replacement, you want to know exactly where the box is," he said. "Nobody has built an engine that caters for all parties of the channel from the end-user right through to the manufacturer.”
The interactive data displays the amount of products currently being maintained, what products are due for maintenance and what has expired. It also delves into further details and information on pending contracts. From an end-user perspective, it conveys information on the type of product a customer is housing in their environment and where it resides, globally.
For example, Telstra was looking to locate all of its F5 appliances, and Frew provided them with iAsset, which displayed all the information on the amount of appliances it had, where they were, serial numbers and so on.
Frew said it took six years to build the online engine.
Resellers can configure quotes with the correct exchange rates and also upload their own maintenance contracts, so an end-user can see the reseller plus the vendor's contract. There is a verification system in place, to filter out suspicious activity, he said.
"Resellers don’t get to miss an opportunity to upgrade the customer with the latest technology, plus it keeps them connected to the end-user,” Frew said.
Resellers can access iAsset through signing a licensing agreement at $2950 per annum. But Distribution Central resellers get access to the system for free.
It can also provide vendor’s with details on where products are located even if the vendor or distributor don’t know it was there. Vendor’s can also compare their asset renewal rates with other vendors, so they can get a feel if they’re doing well or badly in this space. The system also sends out alerts to end-users when their products are up for maintenance and provides the reseller’s contact details.
For example, for a customer like BHP Billiton, iAsset can display the location of all their boxes on global network. They can view what model it is and when it needs updating. It also shows the history of when it has been renewed, the purchase price, date it was done, and so on.
“We know everything that is happening and the channel knows it as well,” he said.
Frew has also set up iAsset Inc in the US. It's being run by former Cisco channel head, Liz Lawson.
Not only can iAsset track devices in user environments, but it can also keep track of the amount of certifications a vendor has in the market and the type of knowledge that is being distributed among resellers.
Access isn't limited to IT resellers. Any reseller across any industry can use the system, Frew said.
“We’ve got power companies using it as well, mapping out their power poles, and we’ve just had a building company in the US that want to manage all their assets inside the building,” Frew said.
On top of tracking assets, vendors can also track reseller certifications, how many partners they have certified at certain program levels and sales revenues.
“The system can tell if the reseller is complying with the standards. If two staff leave, then I know they have to re-certify another guy,” he said. “No one has ever tried to take control of this information before. You have to control the people that are out there and the knowledge that you’re pushing out into the market. It’s all integrated into the same thing.”