Most of the hype surrounding business-to-business ecommerce has been generated from those marketing "pretty" email and front-end systems, says Frank Colli, MD for back-end procurement company Leading Solutions.
Leading Solutions yesterday launched Picasso, a fully-integrated internet procurement system for the exclusive use of Hewlett-Packard channel customers. Leading Solutions is a Hewlett-Packard-partnered reseller.
Colli said his company had spent $1 million to pay for over 1000 hours of research and development on the internet procurement and CRM (customer relationship management) system. Research and development was outsourced to software developer Microknox, he said.
Colli stressed that Leading Solutions and Microknox had focused the development of Picasso on complete integration of back-end functions, "then added the pretty face". He suggested many companies approached the development of ecommerce systems in the opposite direction. "There is a pretty front-end and plenty of html's, but if you investigate what's happening, it's only fancy email going from one location to another," he mused of other e-procurement systems.
Colli said that all the pricing and service information Picasso provided was "live" because the system updated all related data automatically. If an HP partner ordered a product not in stock, an order would automatically be placed to the supplier via the internet, he said.
All customers were "rated", according to their business history with Leading Solutions, so will be addressed accordingly via the internet.
The product uses various firewall security systems, including an NT-based "time-splicing" mechanism, Colli said.