About

Computer Source (CSI) is a large reseller of high quality hardware, software, networking equipment and communications equipment in the Kansas City area. They specialize in selling “Tier 1” products from companies like Hewlett Packard, Compaq, 3Com and IBM. CSI was in need of a system that displayed all of their products and allowed for their clients to order equipment online. In addition to this function they wanted a system to track employee time and expenses, manage and budget projects and create extensive internal reports online. CSI also needed a custom warranty and contract management system to manage all of their service contracts with their clients.

Client Requirements

  • Build a system that could hold custom catalogs for all of Computer Source’s clients that enabled them to view specifically tailored to meet their needs.
  • Integrate the system with distributor databases for real time pricing and availability information.
  • Develop complex client based pricing and distributor logic to provide the best pricing to their customers while increasing their bottom line.
  • Develop a user friendly store front for clients that allowed them to create quotes, place and track orders, and administer their own company information.
  • Allow both business and individual users to shop multiple online catalogs with secure checkout and payment information processing.
  • Create ad hoc and canned reporting functionality to report on orders, clients, pricing, etc.
  • Build a custom resource management program that would aid in time and expense tracking and approval, project management and budgeting, client invoicing, and extensive internal reporting.
  • Develop a separate contract management system to maintain all client service agreement contracts with all terms and associated product information.
  • Create a contract system that allowed both CSI users and client users to access required agreement information.

Solution

First, AllofE applied the best and brightest systems analysts and designers to build the model for the system that would change the way Computer Source does business. Out of this business relationship evolved two of AllofE’s flagship products, BackTick, the comprehensive online procurement system that allows total customization, and FirmTrax, the project management tool used to manage time, expenses and projects online. These products would be considered B2B, B2C and B2E applications.

The BackTick application that AllofE developed for Computer Source as an online procurement system that allowed the company to create completely customized catalogs to meet individual client needs. The system was enhanced by the ability to add complex pricing and distributor logic for each client company. In addition, BackTick was developed with a completely intuitive administration interface that allowed the uploading of images for each product, infinite product sub-categorization, product grouping into bundles that were configurable by the end user, customized tax and freight calculations, order approval routing and order tracking and archival.

Another aspect of this assignment was to build a program that provided comprehensive time, expense and project management functionality. AllofE developed FirmTrax the fully integrated time and expense tracking modules which allowed users of the system to record time and expenses online as well as manage projects from any remote location. The Time, Expense and Project modules were closely integrated to track all project related expenses and labor hours. This provided comprehensive budgeting functionality to the project management task. The application also included modules to manage proposals, invoices, message boards, approval routing and report generation.

Finally, AllofE built a contract management system that stored all related contract, term, equipment, company and user information related to service warranties that had been issued. With separate user access levels, client users were able to login to the system and access information related to only their contracts. The access levels were further divided to allow administrative client users the ability to maintain their own user information.

Effect

The effects of the implementation of BackTick and FirmTrax had a dramatic affect on the way that Computer Source conducted business. Their customers now had access to a catalog that was designed specifically for their needs and sped up the order processing and fulfillment time required. The internal operations of the company had greatly improved due the use of FirmTrax. Employees now had easy access to record time and expense information and a very efficient forum for communication, project management and report generation. Management also benefited from the highly efficient approval routing and administrative functions. This allowed for less time spent on employee tracking and more time spent on more important aspects of their jobs.

The contract management system has fully automated CSI’s warranty maintenance process, therefore, reduced costs dramatically. Administrators were able to quickly and easily access all necessary information related to a particular warranty including the terms, company, locations and associated equipment.

The success of BackTick had been so great with Computer Source that a partnership was formed between AllofE and Computer Source for the distribution and maintenance of BackTick in the computer reselling industry.