BCA Brings ASP Model to ec21

Citing the breakneck pace of today’s competitive business climate, experts continue to insist that companies that do not invest in e-commerce initiatives will soon find themselves on the outside looking in.

For some companies, however, the prospect of establishing an e-commerce operation isn’t always a viable option. Two typical roadblocks are generally encountered: Either they don’t have the capital to invest in the requisite hardware and software or they don’t have the manpower to oversee the operation.

With that in mind, Butler & Curless Assoc. (Raleigh, N.C.) recently announced that ec21--its business-to-business e-commerce solution--is now available in an ASP model.

ec21 integrates a Web presence with a suite of warehousing and distribution software to enable distributors to receive and process orders electronically, directly through the Web. The new ASP model, ec21 MWDS, provides an alternative to distributors who do not have the means to run their own e-commerce operation.

“We decided to host our software in an ASP environment in direct response to requests from distributors who had little to no information technology staff but needed an affordable managed wholesale distribution service,” says John Butler, BCA co-founder. “Other requests came from enterprises that wanted to save the capital expense involved in replacing or upgrading their current system in order to participate in e-commerce.”

An agreement with InterLan Technologies, a Cary, N.C.-based ISV, has enabled BCA to host ec21MWDS via the Internet as a managed wholesale distribution service (MWDS).

In the ASP model, BCA manages the application and system hardware and provides dual high-speed connectivity from the business router and beyond. InterLan maintains two servers where all of the ec21MWDS applications reside. On one server, ec21 runs with all of the distributor’s business information. On the other server, the distributor’s Web site and catalog are housed. Both servers have firewalls to ensure security. At the back end, the two servers are tied together.

A prospective customer needs only basic components, such as PCs, terminals and printers. BCA provides the rest, from 24X7 availability to a staff dedicated to designing and building each distributor’s Web pages. “We deliver a full solution,” says Butler. “We house and manage the company’s entire e-commerce operation.”

Besides providing an alternative for distributors who do not have the present means to build an e-commerce operations, Butler says there is another big advantage in choosing an ASP model of ec21. “It allows companies to take a wait and see approach,” he says. “Why do you want to invest so much money in e-commerce, not knowing where it is going to take you? Distributors can take an ASP approach and then evaluate whether they should obtain the technology to run an e-commerce operation in-house.”

Just like other ASP models in the market, customers pay a monthly fee for ec21 MWDS, which depends on the number of users and the amount of volume.

Although ec21 MWDS is the first ASP model in BCA’s product suite, Butler says it will not be the last. “We already have a backlog of customers who want to use ec21 MWDS,” he says. “We’re going to be hosting our CRM product, Liberty, in an ASP model and we’re also going to be looking at doing the same thing with some other products.”

Related Information:

  • Butler & Curless Associates, Inc. (new window)
  • InterLan Technologies (new window)
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