The Imaging Store
Company: Tenon TechnologyCustomer: The Imaging StoreSubmitted by: The itpr PartnershipDate: August 2001Successful e-commerce demands high quality products at the right price, delivered to customers when promised, backed up with excellent on line service. The Imaging Store, the UK’s first dedicated web service that provides businesses with access to digital imaging products, has invested in Microsoft Great Plains’ accounting software customised by Tenon Technology to provide an integrated, highly regarded e-commerce site.
The past 18 months has seen considerable fall out in the e-commerce world.
The businesses that have survived and thrived combine innovative market definition with excellent product availability and customer service.The Imaging Store was created to trade solely over the Internet and is aimed purely at business customers. The site – www.theimagingstore.com – specialises in all imaging products, ranging from scanners, digital cameras and printers, to projectors and digital video cameras.From the outset, Fred Jenkinson, managing director of The Imaging Store, was adamant that an e-commerce enabled site was critical to the business’ competitive advantage, especially when looking at the rapid growth of Internet shoppers worldwide.
To win over the target business rather than consumer marketplace, The Imaging Store needed to be able to meet tight delivery deadlines, while maintaining high product quality and low prices. At the same time, business customers have high customer service expectations that can only be met by a totally e-commerce enabled site.
Jenkinson maintains there are three keys to online success: products, pricing and service. “Our focus has always been to provide business customers with an efficient, cost effective and responsive Internet based service,” he confirms.
To deliver this level of support in a cost effective manner, The Imaging Store assessed the market for a proven, reliable IT solution. “To handle the quantity of orders quickly and efficiently, we needed a fully integrated accounting, inventory and business management system to support the website. And one which could handle all accounting functions, as well as sales orders, stock and purchase orders,” Jenkinson said.
Working with Tenon
Having assessed the market, The Imaging Store opted to work with Tenon Technology, a division of Tenon Group Plc, the UK’s only publicly quoted accountancy-based firm whose aim is to be the first choice provider for business advisory services for small to medium-sized business across the country. Tenon is an authorised reseller of Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics, Great Plains eEnterprise, Great Plains Siebel Front Office and Sage.
Says Jenkinson, “Tenon proved to be exceptionally good at what they do. Their business understanding was essential in defining our business and IT needs.”Indeed, Tenon maintains that a key part of a successful implementation is up-front needs analysis. Many companies neglect to undertake in depth business review, particularly start-up e-commerce operations, but without a clear understanding of business direction from managing director through operations to marketing it is much harder to create a successful web business and associated IT solution.
The right solution
The Imaging Store needed an integrated solution that tightly linked excellent web site design with back end processes to ensure smooth distribution processes and excellent customer service.
Critically, the company wanted a solution that, despite the relative immaturity of the e-commerce market, was mature and proven.Jenkinson adds, “We knew the technology would underpin the success or failure of the business. Tenon’s research enabled The Imaging Store to make a considered decision about technology solutions available to us. As a result, we were able to opt for an integrated solution from Microsoft Great Plains rather than other stop gap measures.”He continues, “Tenon understood our business goals and our IT limitations – most notably a lack of in-house IT skills.
Critically, they assessed not just current but future business needs to ensure we implemented a solution that would scale to support significant business growth.”
Live in Three Months
Tenon implemented a fully integrated Microsoft Great Plains’ Dynamics E-Commerce System that handles all accounting functionality for the company. It harnesses the power of Microsoft’s Site Server Commerce Edition and Microsoft Internet Information Server, thus enabling companies to trade effectively, and with the minimum of technical assistance, over the Internet.The site was up and running within three months, using Microsoft Great Plains’ support for rapid implementation. Tenon took the ‘blank canvass’ of the core Great Plains product and ‘coloured in’ the solution to create an integrated e-commerce environment that matches The Imaging Store’s business goals and meets customer requirements.Says Jenkinson, “The implementation process went as promised.
Tenon provided an integrated solution that has the flexibility to enable redesign of the front end web site without affecting the back end systems, ensuring we can update and refresh the site when required.”The Imaging Store now has ownership and control of its own site, making any changes and enhancements to it themselves and only calling upon Tenon Technology for technical support.
The Imaging Store is taking orders over the web both from the UK and throughout the world. The integrated Microsoft Great Plains solution reflects any changes in inventory and performs credit card transaction processing online automatically, removing the need for any duplication and hence reducing the opportunities for inaccuracies to arise.As a result, customers have the ability to trust the information they are seeing – a key consideration for successful online commerce.
In addition to trusted access to product information, customers are also able to view back office information such as order tracking and delivery data.Says Jenkinson, “We needed a system that made it as easy to buy as possible. Having achieved that we have seen the business expand rapidly.” Indeed, the system has the flexibility and scalability to continue to meet business growth and can handle up to 30 times as much business volume as currently being enjoyed by The Imaging Store, providing a cost effective route to business growth.
Supporting European Trade
Tenon Technology has continued to work closely with The Imaging Store as its sales have increased outside the UK.
The Imaging Store has business customers all over the world, in particular in Europe. Tenon Technology was able to customise Microsoft Great Plains Dynamics E-Commerce to support local VAT thresholds throughout Europe, ensuring that as soon as The Imaging Store’s volume of trade in a specific European country approached the legal VAT threshold, they could immediately register for VAT status. This is a key issue to ensure web sites are trading legally in the each country, and an area very often overlooked by online rganization.”Tenon’s track record as accountants, combined with their technical expertise provides a complete business solution which is invaluable for any organization embarking upon an online business venture,” Jenkinson maintains.He concludes, “The success of The Imaging Store business is totally attributable to this integrated system. Customers and the industry as a whole have received it fantastically well.
As we move forward, Tenon’s advice is a constant support in driving business success.”