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ScanSource Talks UC, Treats Partners Like The King

ScanSource Communications this week held its annual partner conference in Memphis, Tenn.

The distributor brought its top partners to the Peabody Hotel famous for its marching ducks and treated them to food and fun (whats not fun with an Elvis theme?) amid the business focus. The biggest message ScanSource shared was that partners fuel its success and the 24 percent revenue growth in the companys fourth quarter alone attests to that.

ScanSource kicked off the three-day event on Wednesday morning with a general session. Executives said they plan to keep growing by focusing on the indirect channel, buying new companies and offering value-added services. ScanSource only distributes through partners, so it does not compete with resellers and dealers for end-user market share. Above all, unified communications remains top-of-mind for the company. Indeed, expect to see more UC partnerships in 2012, said ScansSource President Buck Baker. That way, the company can continue to target key markets, including the public sector and enterprises, he said.

As part of that push, ScanSource brought in Polycom CEO Andy Miller to talk about that companys UC strategy. Traditionally defined by its emphasis on hardware, Polycom is rebranding itself into a UC software business.

We are trying to vastly differentiate ourselves in UC,” Miller said.

He said the trends driving UC adoption include mobility, social networking and the need to connect in real-time. Because of the staggering growth of UC projected by Gartner to top $17 billion by 2015 Polycom predicts 40 percent of its UC technology will be delivered via hybrid and cloud methods next year. One way Polycom aims to do that is by integrating with Microsoft Lync and part of its research and development money is going toward that goal. In fact, 90 percent of Polycoms R&D dollars are going into software.

Were putting the unified in unified communications,” said Miller.

Finally, Miller emphasized that Polycom, historically known for serving enterprises, is honing in on the SMB space, dominated by Cisco and LifeSize. We have a lot of work to do to serve the SMB community,” but Polycom is positioning itself to achieve that, Miller said.

Next, after lunch in the expo hall, which featured vendors including AudioCodes, Polycom, NET, RevoLabs and others, ScanSource took partners to its 600,000-square-foot distribution center in Southaven, Miss. The facility houses millions of dollars worth of IP phones, mobile devices, gateways and more. There, ScanSource showed off everything from the conveyor system to the receiving department to the custom configuration department, where devices such as IP phones and cash registers are outfitted so they are plug-and-play when customers receive them. The company also pointed out that it provides same-day blind shipping, which means partners logos and names appear on the shipping labels, not ScanSources.

ScanSource wrapped the day with a trip to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley. The company served a Southern buffet that included black-eyed peas, turnip greens, grilled salmon, macaroni and cheese and, of course, fried chicken. Partners then toured the Graceland mansion and Presley family airplanes at their leisure.


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