VAD Jenne Gets Channel Thumbs Up For Contract Management Software

Sourcing products through two-tier distribution means efficiency for both VARs and vendors, but can also mean operational headaches for VARs trying to stay ahead of maintenance contract expirations and service renewals.

Value-added distributor Jenne thinks it has that problem licked, and the contract management software it rolled out for partners last fall has won plenty of praise, particularly from smaller partners who lean on distributors to do a lot of that administrative legwork for them anyway.

The tool, which is part of the reseller portal on Jenne's corporate site, covers multiple manufacturers and presents the status of a partner's ongoing manufacturer maintenance and service agreements in a single-display dashboard.

The idea, according to Ray Jenne, executive vice president, is to eliminate the need for VARs to track renewals using different spreadsheets. The tool also provides automated reminders notifying VARs of soon-to-be-expired contracts at both the 30-days-out and 60-days-out mark.

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The big difference between Jenne's tool and similar options from other distributors, Jenne contends, is that Jenne can use its relatively smaller size and portfolio specialties to offer VARs a view of all of their manufacturers at once, not just one at a time. VARs can also locate original service contracts, parts lists, expired contracts and other forms of documentation in PDF form from the tool, allowing it to double as an administrative database.

Best of all? It's free to Jenne VARs.

"We're a small company, so we have to multitask," said JP Miller, controller and operations manager at A&A Telecom, an Austin, Texas-based solution provider. "Anything we can have that's automated and provides you information to stay on top of that stuff is useful."

The multi-vendor capacity of the tool does make the difference, Miller added.

"If a customer ends up buying five or six different items through Jenne through us, you've got five or six different expiration dates in many cases," he said. "The ability to consolidate information, to get the processing down to one place, is important for us and really important for the customer."

"As the distributor, they're touching things that I would have to asset tag and account for and track, and it made no sense for me to be issuing purchase orders on equipment and not know to whom they were shipped," added Randy Marcotte, co-founder and director of sales at Perfect Video Conferencing, a video solution provider and managed services specialist. "With the consistency and accuracy problems that resellers can have, you want to be able to manage this. So this is a tool I can hand off to someone else and help them grow with the company, and looks months ahead if I need to. It definitely solves some problems."