By Jim Roddy, president
I'm sure BSM Chief Editor Mike Monocello and I will hear a flurry of outstanding quotes at this year's RSPA RetailNOW event. Here are some of the most insightful comments I've heard from retail IT distributor executives during the first half of 2010.
"The people that are knocking it out of the park right now tend to be very, very vertically focused. They tend to be specialists in areas such as healthcare or public safety. They are honed in just like a laser right now. ... So those people that have a vertical focus, have the proper what I would call 'application software,' and can demonstrate a return on investment are really doing outstandingly well right now."
Steve Cuntz, President and CEO, BlueStar
"We hear this every year (from manufacturers): 'No one seems to go after the SMB market enough.' Or they may not say it quite that way. They may say, 'We don't want you calling on the same customers we are' which are the Fortune 500. So I think as a way of differentiation, if you separate out that everyone would rather have something unique like software or service – if you look at your market, and by market not just the technology but who are your customers, and make sure that the customer set you're going after is different than where the manufacturers are going, you're going to have a long, long run in this industry."
Mike Baur, CEO, ScanSouce
"Get ready for the cloud. Really get educated on the cloud and start to embrace the cloud because that is significantly going to help the VAR business from a profitability perspective and from a value perspective in the years to come."
Keith Bradley, Sr. Executive Vice President and President North America, Ingram Micro
"The whole concept of managed services or becoming an ISV or providing Software-as-a-Service takes a long time to get there, and there's a long learning curve. And so if you wait too long to see where the market's going, you might not be able to get caught up because everybody will have too much of a lead on you for you to be able to be competitive long-term. ... It definitely is not a situation of 'if.' It is a situation of 'when.' I think that anybody that is being a good steward to their company needs to start thinking strategically about, 'Where do my talents and balance sheet best lend me to go?'"
Jeff Yelton, President, ScanSource POS and Barcoding Division
"(When selecting and ISV) you can get hung up looking at bells and whistles. And bells and whistles that an ISV can offer certainly can be very important. But I believe that an ISV company's stability, their support capabilities, and hopefully they have a long reference list of customers as well, should be weighed more heavily by the VAR who's seeking an ISV. Bells and whistles won't do the VAR and their end user any good if the ISV is out of business within a year."
Mike Byington, VP of Business Development, BlueStar
"(There's a) misperception that (networking technology) is big and it's scary and it's difficult and I'm going to have to go out and I'm going to have to hire 100 people to become an expert in networking. That's not really the case. I think it's about leveraging resources that are out there and available and really educating yourself on what it is going to take. Because in many cases, if you do it the right way, it's not as big and scary and difficult as you perceive it to be."
Marc Rachiele, Director of Marketing and Vendor Management, Ingram Micro's Data Collection/Point Of Sale Division
For more information on RSPA RetailNOW 2010, go to www.BSMinfo.com/InsideRetailNOW.