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Q&A with ScanSource CEO Mike Baur
By Q&A with ScanSource CEO Mike Baur
At this year’s ScanSource partner conference, mobility was a major topic of conversation. VSR got some face time with CEO Mike Baur to find out what other technologies he things are spurring sales, and what resellers can do to build better solutions for their clients.
VSR: What new technologies are you most excited about?
I think the whole consumer drive towards mobility is great. At first I was nervous, but I kind of wish I hadn’t been. Sure, we aren’t selling iPads or smartphones, but isn’t it great that people are buying [technology] again? There hasn’t been a big surge in retail since Y2K. So what’s the reason for retail or restaurant owners to do anything around technology? It’s because of tablets. I love that.
Our wireless business is going through the roof. We are selling wireless infrastructure to support all the data that is being produced by all these tablets and smartphones. Or VARs need a more premium service for clients that want to stream services like Netflix in the guestrooms. I think this is great, because now solution providers are being called in to replace existing network systems.
This is a chance for VARs to call customers that they haven’t talked to in a long time that are now asking how to integrate an iPad into the backend of an inventory management system for the restaurant. He’s getting that kind of call. He doesn’t want to sell iPads, but he will if he can sell new software to manage their inventory.
VSR: I see software really rising faster than hardware right now in the Channel, do you agree? Do you plan on distributing apps?
I don’t think I can add value in moving digital code from one customer to another. Look at the PBX business. Five years ago, a reseller would buy a switch and some phones and give the software away for free. Now it’s the reverse. The hardware is a lot cheaper and the software is what they are paying for. And we sell that. We license applications and have a download facility for specific application software that makes hardware work. I would like to provide a marketplace for standalone apps and let the vendors connect to the customers, and we’ll make something off the marketplace. If more apps sell more hardware, I love it.
VSR: How do you respond to competitors that are distributing iPads
or other consumer devices?
We don’t need to. If I could sell an iPad and make any money off of it, of course I would sell it. Also, Apple doesn’t want us to sell it. We would love to see the Motorolas, the Panasonics, and the Honeywells get the price point of the rugged tablets closer, so at least we can have a conversation with customers.
VSR: What’s going on with cloud?
Cloud is an accelerator for mobility. Without the cloud, you can’t have all these apps. The cloud has to be there for all these apps to be developed and distributed easily and affordably. Our partners have to be able to understand and educate their customers about how everything works, and the value proposition for a reseller is high if they understand the cloud. VARS can talk to clients about where the data exists, how to buy it, and how the subscription process works. To manage the infrastructure—to be that trusted advisor to the end user and explain where the software will exist—and design the whole system and be a system architect, that’s where we want our clients to be.
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