Westcon Group Connects Comstor, Westcon, Voda One With ERP System

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Westcon Group completed the integration of an ERP system that connects all three of its North American subsidiaries: Comstor, Westcon and Voda One.

Compass, which stands for Comprehensive Order Management, Procurement And Sales System, is an enterprisewide, realtime information system that powers Westcon Group's global operations. The system is based on J.D. Edwards' OneWorld Xe.

Compass' e-commerce capabilities will give Westcon Group's customers access to inventory, ordering, purchasing, pricing and catalog functions with 24x7 realtime data via scheduled and on-demand reporting, the company said.

Because Compass is a groupwide platform, partners need to learn only one system to do business with Westcon Group's North American divisions.

"I feel Compass is very important to the Westcon Group ideal, the Westcon Group direction and the Westcon Group way of doing business," said Bob Barnes, vice president of IT worldwide at the distributor. "It's a system that gives people a lot more information, a lot quicker."

Westcon Group simply outgrew its original proprietary system. After researching 133 ERP systems, the company chose Compass, citing its standardization, integration ease and flexibility in adapting to changing business processes, Barnes said.

Because Compass is a groupwide platform, business partners need to learn only one system to do business with any of Westcon Group's North American divisions, Barnes said.

"For us, Compass has streamlined activities that were previously handled via telephone and e-mail correspondence," said Joe Hines, president of Edina, Minn.-based solution provider Voice and Data. "The net result has been a significant increase in our available hours for mission-critical activities, such as pursuing sales leads and closing deals."

Later this year, Westcon Group hopes to complete a new sales reporting tool for vendors and solution providers, Barnes said.

Westcon Group began deploying Compass in 1998, and executives hope to have the global integration completed by July.

Westcon Group developed Compass with an information-exchange module that enables trading partners to communicate with the distributor via EDI or XML.

"We feel this was a direction that our trading partners were going," Barnes said. "And going forward, we're going to continually be looking for ways to upgrade the system."

Westcon Group's divisions each focus on separate networking products from vendors such as Cisco Systems, Avaya and Nortel Networks.

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