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CRN: How often are you seeing partners engage at the application level? What is the opportunity for partners who don't have app dev practices or aren't ISVs?
Baur: Of the 300 or so partners you see here at the conference, over half of them, maybe 70 percent, have an app dev focus or some kind of relationship. There is still another technology play around the endpoints -- there's such a difference for a mobile, rugged device with a battery that lasts eight hours and has business productivity apps. So our customers are well positioned to take advantage of that opportunity, and some of them that don't do app dev will start to do more of that.
CRN: Is ScanSource encouraging that?
Baur: Absolutely. That's part of our AppSource offering where we can offer resellers the opportunity to download and demo apps with no commitment.
CRN: So is it safe to say the role of distribution going forward, especially in mobility and cloud, will be to enable these types of things as well as the fulfillment? Another program of yours partners keep mentioning to me is Sumo, your portal for connecting partners in similar disciplines.
Baur: The table stakes are fulfillment, credit, things like that. We want to be a company where we can share ideas, and to create opportunities among partners who can find partners a lot like them. Out in the global markets, one thing we're driving is focusing on customers already in practices like health care and how to better bring technologies to the vertical. We see that as, 'How do we add to your business strategy?'
CRN: Seems like you'll be driving those partners to get deeper into their verticals and really specialize, then.
Baur: I want these guys to grow. If these guys grow, we're in good shape.
CRN: One of the things that resonated with a lot of the partners here was during the keynote portions where you and Greg [Dixon, ScanSource CTO] mentioned how vendors like Google, with Google Wallet, are becoming more relevant to the mobility conversation than ever. You have to be out in front of which vendors to work with, so are you happy with your vendor mix now?
Baur: I think we are happy. We're adding vendors in markets and in places like accessories but not really strategic vendors. In our security business, we're actually dropping vendors -- we've had too many. We think that's a better strategy. There's only so much bandwidth we have. I think at the beginning we thought we were going to need 300 to compete in security so we signed too many. We've also got vendors who, over time, will come to us when we're thinking of bringing on someone that does this or that, and some will say to us, 'Hey, you know, we do that already.' A vendor that can see someone like a Google as a threat and turn it into an opportunity for us to do more with them is usually good for both of us.
CRN: Are there other areas you're cutting vendors? Wireless, for example?
Baur: No. Every one of those guys in wireless has grown -- that's the fastest-growing part of our business this year thanks to BYOD and everything we've talked about here. Everyone has a different wireless strategy and they're actually all doing well.
CRN: There's enough segmentation between your Cisco, Aruba, Meru, Ruckus and other business lines to make them all valuable for you?
Baur: I wouldn't have thought so, but yes. Each has a niche that's big enough right now.
CRN: You highlighted ScanSource's acquisition history during your keynote and lots of distributors are making strategic buys right now. Will ScanSource need to make more?
Baur: I think we've got the right platforms for growth and the right people so I don't think we need one today. Our history's really been to acquire to get into a new geography -- we're not in Asia-Pac today, for example -- or to gain expertise in a new technology.
CRN: Is Asia-Pac a priority for ScanSource?
Baur: Not right now. It is something that will take a look at, but right now Brazil is the international priority. It's a huge market.
PUBLISHED SEPT. 14, 2012