Inside ScanSource Partner Conference

Inside ScanSource

ScanSource Partner Conference Kicks Off
September 14, 2009
On Monday, September 14, ScanSource's Partner Conference kicked off in Savannah, GA. One of the trends of the show that's immediately apparant is social networking. It's obvious ScanSource is a strong believer in social networking. Indeed, if you're sitting back at the office wondering what you're missing, the value-added distributor is using a variety of mediums to spread content created at the show. Videos taken at the event are being uploaded to YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/user/scansource) and cross-promoted on ScanSource's Facebook page and its Twitter account. ScanSource also is posting photos from the event on its Flickr page. Of course, it's not just ScanSource using social media here at the event. Twitter users, including Business Solutions magazine, are using the hashtag #sspc09 to Tweet about all things Partner Conference.

From some of the conversations I've had with ScanSource insiders, Tuesday promises to be one of the most interesting days I may ever have at a conference. Looking forward to what's to come. I'll keep you posted throughout the day.

Motorola Talks Opportunity
September 17, 2009
During the ScanSource Partner Conference in Savannah, GA, I had the opportunity to chat with Janet Schijns, VP of worldwide channels, distribution, and alliances for Motorola's Enterprise Mobility Division and Mark Kroh, VP of Channel, North America for Motorola Enterprise Mobility. The duo explained that one of Motorola's goals for the rest of 2009 and into 2010 is to help its channel partners enter new markets and do better in verticals such as education, healthcare, and government.

Like other manufacturers and distributors, Motorola has assembled a team to help VARs navigate the complexities of the government stimulus package. I asked Schijns how realistic it is for a VAR with no government experience to get involved. Her answer? Assuming a VAR or ISV has a unique value proposition, with a little guidance a VAR/ISV could be doing business with the government within 90 days. Of course, the sales cycle is often quite long in the government space, often reaching 12 months. Kroh adds that municipalities are begging for technology solutions right now, and simply need help writing grants and understanding how to fulfill the technical requirements. That's where you come in. If you aren't pursuing these opportunities, your competition most likely is. Call your manufacturer and distributor partners to learn how you might be able to increase your sales in the government space (and other verticals such as education and healthcare that have a reputation for being difficult to break into).

Additionally, Schijns has good advice concerning the economy. "Now is the time to take action," she says. "There are good talented people in the marketplace looking for work. In addition, you can negotiate and lock in great deals on office space, supplies, marketing, and more to position your company to be in a great place when business takes off again."

Finally, Schijns says this regarding the economy: "Don't use the economy as the reason for your company doing poorly unless you're willing to use the say the economy is the reason your company has done well over the years." It wasn't just a good econnomy that led to your company being successful; it was your hard work and dedication. It's the same hard work and dedication that will see you through the economy.

Yelton Cautions VARs On Two Trends
September 17, 2009
During Jeff Yelton's, president of the POS and Barcoding Division of ScanSource, general session speech at the VAD's Partner Conference in Savannah, GA, Yelton spoke to a variety of trends in the marketplace. I followed up his speech with an interview where we talked in greater detail on a couple points of particular interest to the POS community. The first has to do with the virtualization of POS software. This is important because it marks a shift away from the way most VARs are doing business. Indeed, moving POS software from an all-in-one touch computer to the cloud requires significantly thinner hardware. In short, if you think hardware margins were slim now, wait until you're selling what could amount to a monitor and keyboard. Yelton feels the threat goes beyond smaller sales. By simplifying the hardware needed to run a POS system, it becomes a lot easier for a networking VAR to encroach on your business. Yelton's advice? POS VARs should strike first by educating themselves on how they can steal market share from networking VARs.

Yelton also thinks the industry needs to address the issue of used equipment. Specifically, with the number of businesses that have shut their doors (Circuit City alone dumped quite a few barely used terminals on the market), there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of used POS terminals and peripherals waiting to be sold. Yelton doesn't have an immediate answer to this dilemma, but says he's been in discussions on how to handle the situation in a way VARs can benefit.

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