ScanSource: Mobility Is Even Bigger Than Cloud

Mobility and cloud are the twin forces continuing to reshape how business is done in the IT channel, and each presents both opportunities and threats for a channel community forced to wrestle with them.

That was the message to representatives from about 300 partners attending live as the $3 billion distributor kicked off its partner conference in Greenville, S.C., Tuesday. Its top executives argued that solution providers need distributors like ScanSource equipped to plug holes, provide services and make bets on the vendors most friendly to the channel to help navigate all those changes and the expectations of an everything-connected, always-on workforce. Particularly with the explosion of mobile devices, operating systems and applications, the infrastructure needs to fuel mobility.

"Mobility is the biggest impact on IT departments -- bigger than cloud," said ScanSource CTO Greg Dixon, who noted that both trends are so pervasive because in many ways they fuel each other.

[Related: How To Avoid The Five Biggest BYOD Mistakes ]

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ScanSource CEO Mike Baur cited BYOD, mobility, big data and machine-to-machine communications as the four major trends changing the industries in which ScanSource specializes, and he said it would remain a ScanSource goal to help solution providers participate in and profit from those trends as much as possible.

To that end, one of ScanSource's key announcements Tuesday was MobilETC, a training, education and certification program from its POS & Barcoding division specific to mobility products, from remote installation support and programming to help navigating app ecosystems and partnering up with app developers.

This week's show is the first time ScanSource has hosted a single North America channel conference for all of its business units, from Communications and POS & Barcoding to Security and Catalyst Telecom, which houses its marquee Avaya business and UC and video practices. The distributor also unveiled a new corporate logo in line with its twentieth anniversary as a company.

ScanSource marked the occasion with a slew of new services updates and some changes and additions to its corporate structure. For starters, the company has a new business unit, ScanSource Services, which will house a number of its partner enablement programs, from the Sumo offering, an online portal that connects partners with vendors, ISVs and other stakeholders in particular business segments, to AppSource, the distributor's library of pre-packaged mobile applications. Mike Burns runs ScanSource Services as president, and the team includes 36 employees.

NEXT: ScanSource MobilETC, Security And An Executive Briefing Center

The MobilETC was among several ScanSource offerings announced specific to the various business units. Also new, for Catalyst Telecom partners, is a quoting tool called CoPilot that enables easier quoting of Avaya-centric solutions created in ScanSource's Avaya Solution Designer, tying together information about rebates, promotions, special bids, price calculations and other data to then provide to customers.

Elsewhere, ScanSource Security is now offering a selection tool called SNAP, which allows solution providers to search and evaluate security products based on criteria such as manufacturer, part number and product specification.

ScanSource also debuted an executive briefing center at its Lenexa, Kan., office location specific for Polycom unified communications products, and it confirmed that ScanSource Security is now designated as an encryption services organization (ESO), allowing ScanSource to provide full software and encryption key injection to security products on behalf of its security vendors.

In addition, Chief, the division of Milestone AV Technologies specializing in mounts, racks and interactive products, is now a ScanSource vendor partner.