Buyitdirect was the first Dutch IT provider for businesses to sell hard- and software through e-commerce in 1999. Since then, the company has grown considerably: currently around 90 people work in the Dutch office. In 2007 they became part of Bechtle AG, a German IT group with a staff of around 8,000 employees worldwide. Besides supplying IT solutions, they also take care of the implementation for their customers.
We are interviewing Michel Vogelenzang. He has been working for Buyitdirect for 3 years now, but was already involved with the company even before it was actually established.
Good morning Michel. You are Business Solution Manager. What is your main focus at the moment?
As a Business Solution Manager, I am primarily involved with all contracts. Another goal in my job is the transition to offer our customers more cloud solutions and the consequences for Buyitdirect.
Nowadays we sell a lot of cloud solutions but we expect it to grow much bigger. Already we are experiencing a major shift to hardware and software-as-a-service. Services are being invoiced more and more on a monthly basis. Consumers have gotten used to services like Spotify and you can see this change also taking place in the IT market now.
How did you come into contact with Keenondots?
Buyitdirect has expanded its business by offering IT solutions from different brands. We do not want to be dependent on one sole vendor or distributor. By offering the full range of IT solutions to our customers we are a one-stop shop. Of course we also sell many Microsoft services. When they announced two years ago that they would invoice Microsoft Service Partners on a monthly basis, we knew we had to arrange something to simplify invoicing. Then we started talking to Keenondots. Since the end of 2016 we have been working with their ODIN platform.
So you immediately started working on automation when Microsoft made this announcement?
Yes, pretty much. Our distributors could not offer simple (Cloud) billing solutions that we could pass on to our customers, so we started looking for opportunities. As we offer all kinds of brands, Keenondots’ platform is extremely suitable. Through this platform we can invoice all brands we offer. We are not tied to one single distributor or brand.
You talk about invoicing. What about the automation of your ordering process?
We are still working on it. We want the customer to be able to expand or cancel licenses for existing products in their own portal. We are now discussing with Keenondots to make it possible to sell hardware -as a service- through the platform as well. Then we can really offer the customer a one-stop-shop. Straightforward products such as cables and USB sticks or adjusting the number of licenses on existing services should be available to the customer in their personalized portal.
When the customer needs more complex hardware such as servers and network solutions or smart IT applications, we prefer to stay in touch with the customer to be able to give them advice. Therefore we will not offer more complicated hardware or new services in the portal right away. Only after the hard- and software is chosen, we will onboard these items to his portal. In the future the portal will grow to be the customer’s own marketplace.
You sound ambitious for the future. If you look back, what has Keenondots’ platform given you, since it has been installed?
Most of all flexibility and speed. We can act faster on the customer’s needs. For example, if they want a different version of a software service or if they want to switch to another service, we can arrange it much faster. Same goes for invoicing.
What developments do you see in the market and how do you see the future?
The user increasingly sees IT as a commodity. Customers do not want to be bothered with peripheral matters, such as many in IT. The company needs to focus on its core business. The same applies to employees. They want to get the job done they are hired for. Wherever the employee works, he must have access to services supporting his job. If a device or service isn’t working, it has to be fixed quickly.
The user also becomes more self-sufficient. His employer provides him with a basic package. How the employee uses the IT possibilities from the package, is up to him.
Our workplace-as-a-service also meets that demand. This service provides a basic package that is set up by the employer. If he chooses to configure the backup with a third party for security reasons, we can customize this. Same for cloud services, anti-virus and hardware solutions. We are now inquiring whatever our customers need. By meeting these demands we can offer a complete workstation as a service. One that fully meets the employer’s requirements and is equipped to optimally support the employee in carrying out his work.
Thank you Michel. It looks like we can look forward to a bright future.
That’s for sure. IT is becoming more and more hybrid. The device you are using is of secondary importance. The services and data in the cloud though, are of growing importance.