ScanSource Seeking 300 VARs For SMB Convergence Market


Specialty distributor ScanSource, through its Catalyst Telecom division, is looking to recruit 300 resellers to offer Avaya's voice and data solution IP office to the SMB market, according to John Black, president of Catalyst Telecom, in Greenville, S.C.

In the coming year, the company plans to help its existing voice resellers as well as new data VARs move into the convergence space by softening their front-end monetary outlay.

"Initially, they won't have to make a big investment in sales people. Our company and Avaya will provide design support and tech-support training. Avaya has certification programs," Black told VARBusiness in an interview. "We will give them a P&L and show them that this is what their margins will look like."

Both Black and Mike Baur, ScanSource's CEO and president, believe these voice and data VARs will need to play in the convergence space. "How long do they have to get into it? That's the question," Black asks.

"Who will be successful in the converged space -- the data resellers or voice resellers? It's a bigger departure for both than either thought," Black says. "It's a different margin model. And there are different implementations; voice can take a month to stage, while data implementations typically take a shorter time. You also have to do a network analysis to make sure it performs."

He also points out that end users think voice never goes down. Black believes, in the end, customers will go with solution providers who know the industry -- including the regulations -- not just the solutions.

Baur says that the number of Avaya channel VARs grew about 20 percent this year, roughly the same amount Avaya itself grew. The chief executive expects similar, "if not slightly higher growth from the channel in 2005," he said.

ScanSource, with $1.2 billion in annual revenue, focuses on point of sale, automatic ID, and data and telephony solutions. ScanSource is Avaya's largest distributor, Baur says. Catalyst Telecom started in 1997 and partners with 1,200 resellers nationwide, primarily involved in voice solutions.

At the recent Raymond James IT Supply Chain Conference in New York, ScanSource officials touted the company's growing telecom operation. According to Jeff Bryson, vice president of administration and investor relations at ScanSource, telephony products now account for 44 percent of the distributor's revenue.

In addition, Bryson told attendees at the conference that ScanSource will continue its Solution City program, which includes a series of road shows for solution providers that offers training and education for emerging technologies, such as VoIP and RFID.

With additional reporting by Rob Wright

In the coming year, the company plans to help its existing voice resellers as well as new data VARs move into the convergence space by softening their front-end monetary outlay.

"Initially, they won't have to make a big investment in sales people. Our company and Avaya will provide design support and tech-support training. Avaya has certification programs," Black told VARBusiness in an interview. "We will give them a P&L and show them that this is what their margins will look like."

Both Black and Mike Baur, ScanSource's CEO and president, believe these voice and data VARs will need to play in the convergence space. "How long do they have to get into it? That's the question," Black asks.

"Who will be successful in the converged space -- the data resellers or voice resellers? It's a bigger departure for both than either thought," Black says. "It's a different margin model. And there are different implementations; voice can take a month to stage, while data implementations typically take a shorter time. You also have to do a network analysis to make sure it performs."

He also points out that end users think voice never goes down. Black believes, in the end, customers will go with solution providers who know the industry -- including the regulations -- not just the solutions.

Baur says that the number of Avaya channel VARs grew about 20 percent this year, roughly the same amount Avaya itself grew. The chief executive expects similar, "if not slightly higher growth from the channel in 2005," he said.

ScanSource, with $1.2 billion in annual revenue, focuses on point of sale, automatic ID, and data and telephony solutions. ScanSource is Avaya's largest distributor, Baur says. Catalyst Telecom started in 1997 and partners with 1,200 resellers nationwide, primarily involved in voice solutions.

At the recent Raymond James IT Supply Chain Conference in New York, ScanSource officials touted the company's growing telecom operation. According to Jeff Bryson, vice president of administration and investor relations at ScanSource, telephony products now account for 44 percent of the distributor's revenue.

In addition, Bryson told attendees at the conference that ScanSource will continue its Solution City program, which includes a series of road shows for solution providers that offers training and education for emerging technologies, such as VoIP and RFID.

With additional reporting by Rob Wright