Cisco tools to speed product ordering for resellers

Cisco Systems Inc. plans to give its resellers new electronic commerce tools that will make it possible for them to search, compare and order products online, reducing errors and the time it takes to receive products.

The Networking Products Marketplace for Resellers is a set of tools that will enable Cisco resellers to select, compare, configure and buy Cisco products online directly from Cisco distributors. Currently, only companies that do business directly with Cisco have access to these tools.

"Most manufacturers say, 'Go to the distributor if you want to go to [electronic commerce].'

We've facilitated the link between the reseller and Cisco," said Tom Gillman, manager of channel operations for Cisco Federal. "It allows them to have much cleaner orders and a better grasp of how long it will take to get an order. It also speeds the order because it is going right into the [distributor's] system automatically."

Resellers will be able to browse Cisco products online, compare them based on features, prices and specifications, and choose products. The system validates product configurations and checks for errors and then adds the order to an electronic shopping list. Users also can create quotes from the list or e-mail it to other departments for approval. Resellers also can check distributor price and availability online.

The tools for resellers will be available beginning next year.

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