Service Spectrum and Processes

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Managed services further expanded

The Bechtle Group is a service and trading enterprise. Bechtle’s service offer in the IT system house & managed services segment spans the entire IT value chain. The service offer is characterised by the fact that Bechtle is a “one-stop provider”. Each solution is assembled according to customer needs and wishes. By means of the individual composition of an offer from various services in combination with hardware and software, Bechtle is capable of elaborating an individual solution for each and every customer. The service portfolio is subject to ongoing review and adaptation to market and customer requirements. In the reporting period, the group mainly expanded its range of managed services.

By means of managed services, Bechtle assumes the responsibility for defined operating tasks related to the customers’ IT. In this context, fine-tuned service level agreements ensure the availability of the IT infrastructure. Bechtle guarantees optimum operability of the IT systems over the entire life cycle with remote operation or on-site supervision of servers, clients, printers, and networks on the basis of standardised operating concepts and holistic user services for the customer IT infrastructure. The technical solutions are complemented by individual financing models such as leasing.

Bechtle has developed the Bechtle medium-sized business concept (Bechtle Mittelstands-Konzept BMK) especially for the needs of local medium-sized businesses. The growing dependence on IT is accompanied by a growing risk of major financial losses in the event of failures. Small and medium-sized companies often lack the resources needed to cover all specialised IT areas. At the same time, legal requirements are increasing due to the growing complexity of IT systems. The BMK addresses these challenges. With this offer, Bechtle shoulders the entire IT responsibility for companies with up to 200 PC workstations at a fixed monthly price. At affordable costs, customers benefit from state-of-the-art technology and guaranteed professional, fail-safe IT operation.

Central bundling of expertise for special subjects

The competence centres constitute an important pillar of Bechtle’s service portfolio. The market has a greater demand for particular services. In order to be able to offer customers the latest expertise for these services, the Bechtle Group bundles this know-how in competence centres. Within the framework of the reorganisation of the internal structure, Bechtle has pushed the focus of the core business fields ahead, reducing the number of competence centres from 20 in the fiscal year 2007 to twelve in the past reporting period. In their capacity as internal service units, these competence centres render services for all locations.

The custom-tailored seminar concept of the 19 Bechtle training centres in Germany is precisely tuned to the needs of the market. The offer covers a wide spectrum, with more than 10,000 seminar dates and almost 200 hot topics. For customers with several branches, this presence enables uniform training on site.

In the IT e-commerce segment, the specialised IT reseller Bechtle offers a full range of more than 37,000 IT products of about 300 manufacturers. To a limited extent, ARP Datacon also offers products under its own label.

The bios shops (bios ® = Bechtle Information & Ordering System) represent one of the highlights of Bechtle direct. These Web-based customer shops contain an individually configured product offer. In this way, bios customers can ensure uniformity of the IT infrastructure in all purchase orders. As of the end of 2008, Bechtle direct had about 15,000 active bios accounts.

Central logistics ensure maximum transparency of prices and availability

In the highly process-dependent IT e-commerce segment, Bechtle has established lean workflows that are of great significance for the success of this segment. In certain aspects, the underlying processes are even part of the actual service. For example, many of the purchase orders in IT e-commerce are handled according to the fulfilment principle: Bechtle forwards incoming purchase orders directly to manufacturers or distributors, who then ship the goods to the customers. Bechtle ensures the shipping quality – which is mainly determined by the speed – by means of agreements with partners and regular audits. By applying the fulfilment principle, Bechtle keeps its stock level low, thereby reducing the risk of devaluation of IT products, which are characterised by very short innovation cycles. Customers benefit from short delivery times: purchase orders received by 4:30 p.m. are usually shipped on the same day and delivered on the next day. Lean processes and efficient logistics give the company a competitive edge in the trading business. The centralisation of the product management, purchasing, and warehouse guarantees market-oriented, attractive prices and quick delivery. Bechtle controls all these sub-areas for all EU countries from its logistics centre in Neckarsulm, Germany.

Another key business process concerns the goods and pricing system and the uniform product database, which is accessed by all European subsidiaries. Every night, the European pricing system (EPS) developed by Bechtle loads more than 2.3 million pieces of pricing and availability information from IT manufacturers and distributors and calculates the respective national prices. Suppliers are primarily selected on the basis of the lowest price and the ability to ship immediately across Europe. Market-related product information is automatically updated online for the country-specific Web shops.

Apart from the online shops, the Bechtle catalogue is also today the second important sales channel in the trading business. Twice a year – in March and September – the catalogue will henceforth be released in eleven country versions with average print run of 150,000 copies per issue.

The 900-page catalogue with detailed specifications, product images, prices, and direct references to suitable accessories is the ideal supplement to the central online product database. Since the release of the first issue in 1991, the catalogue has developed into a recognised standard reference work in the industry.

In the course of the year, Bechtle AG also intensified its activities in the field of software licensing and management. The Comsoft direct companies, which operate in this segment in four countries, offer customers a cross-vendor, full-service solution portfolio for software licenses. Comsoft direct supplies enterprises of all sizes with custom-tailored software products, solutions, and services. The offer covers the entire software life cycle, including consulting, sales, procurement, maintenance, and project management. The importance of this know-how is on the rise, as manufacturer licensing and pricing models are becoming more and more complex. Customers increasingly demand this competency especially with respect to service-oriented architectures consisting of diverse software modules with countless licensing models. Comsoft direct selects the most suitable licensing models from its extensive spectrum and enables customers to use their software applications as effectively and inexpensively as possible. The offer in this business area also includes the analysis of the customer’s licensing situation in order to identify and eliminate illegal underlicensing and unnecessary, cost-intensive overlicensing.