Distribution Central's iasset.com on a roll heading into 2015

Cloud-based renewals management software, iasset.com, has been on a roll picking up several key clients which has seen it go into the black for the first time since its launch in 2009.

Originally developed internally at Distribution Central in 2009 as a software system to assist the distributor with automating its renewals, it has since been spun out and run as a separate entity once its potential across the entire channel was realised, iasset.com president and CEO, Scott Frew, told ARN.

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"After a significant amount of investment over a long period of time, iasset.com is now in the black I'm happy to say. The last three months of the last quarter Every one of them has been in the black. And we're going to go black this month too," he said.

"Best of all, a lot of that money is coming out of the USA. I expect another enterprise class customer onboard in the next couple of months out of the US."

He estimates that he is now spending 65 per cent of his time on iasset.com, and 35 per cent on Distribution Central, which is now mostly run by co-founder and managing director, Nick Verykios. It appears to be finally paying off.

iasset.com has picked up some key clients locally, including VMware and other majors he isn't allowed to name yet, estimating that today iasset.com manages over $7.5bn in assets across various companies in the IT channel internationally.

"Last year was all about shrinkwrapping and consolidating our code base. This year is more about engaging the Cloud guys who need to manage and license all the service providers across a bigger reseller base," he said.

"Some more modules coming down the pipe, but this year will be more about output. It will supply more information to resellers about where their business is at, and their recurring revenue streams."

Part of the problem for a lot of resellers in the marketplace, as the industry moves to more subscription and service models, is investment in their own structures and organisations, Frew believes.

"I do think there's a general lack of investment internally from resellers. They get their ERP system up, they get their CRM system up, and then they just go sell stuff. That's it.

"None of them have systems in place to ensure a renewals business -- that's where iasset steps in. Telstra, Optus, all the service providers are good at this because they come from a background of monthly billing. That's their go to market. But the smaller resellers are too used to the big chunky deals, with the big chunky commission cheques and they're always just looking for the next field of diamonds, instead of thinking long term.

"It requires a complete change in attitude. You may be a million dollars a year business, but now you're down to $50,000 per month to do the same job. So you really cant afford to lose a cent of that.

"That's where Cloud providers like iasset.com, Netsuite and Salesforce.com are all renting these enterprise class systems to run their businesses. That's where the pay off is."

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As Distribution Central chairman (and founder) as well, Frew claims that the software boosted renewal rates from around 40-50 per cent to 80-90 per cent.

"It means we are now basically getting 50 per cent of our revenues covered before we even begin the year. That's what I built it to do, to automate this whole install base management piece.

"We're trying to get the resellers to get their heads around -- ignoring Cloud for the moment -- just the normal transactional stuff, keeping their customers up to date, and under maintenance and that sort of stuff."

iasset.com will also a key component of Distribution Central's Cloud offering which is due to launch in the next month or so.

Frew wants to step up iasset.com's reporting in 2015, focusing on producing more relevant stats and data for its customers to increase their cost efficiencies.

"Next month we'll start pushing some business intelligence out from the DC version of the engine to the resellers to try and get them to engage properly and start thinking about their business."

This will involve a lot more Big Data analytics within the system, to help produce relevant reports for customers -- such as which states are most successful.

"We want to look at what customers want, rather than them guessing and having to ask us for specific information."

IBM's Watson is the model Frew says would be ideal, but he considers it unaffordable for most small scale businesses.

"IBM's Watson system is something I'd kill to get into, but its so expensive I'm not even going to ring them. What you've got to do is look at all the unstructured data out there in the world and infer things from it.

"The static reports we're already producing are pretty good, but now we're now pushing out a state based asset index to the guys, to show if they're doing better or worse in a particular state with their install base. Business intelligence is what we're really focused on this year."

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Allan Swann

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