ScanSource CEO: Better Customer Experience Top Priority

Barcoding and point-of-sale (POS) remain a primary income source for ScanSource.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

November 8, 2017

4 Min Read
ScanSource's Mike Baur at Partner Conference

(pictured above: ScanSource CEO Mike Baur on stage at the company’s Global Partner Conference, Nov. 8.)

SCANSOURCE GLOBAL PARTNER CONFERENCE — ScanSource‘s traditional businesses are looking “pretty darn good,” and the distributor continues to transform to help its partners keep up with the latest technologies and market demands.

That’s according to Mike Baur, ScanSource’s CEO. He opened the company’s Global Partner Conference Wednesday in Greenville, South Carolina. More than 1,400 attendees from 26 countries are at the event.

Barcoding and point-of-sale (POS) remain a primary income source for ScanSource. The barcode scanning business is set to grow 7 percent through 2027, Baur said. Also, the POS terminal business is set to grow 13 percent during the next five years, and growth is expected in physical security and UC, he said.

ScanSource has conducted extensive research to determine what it and its partners need to do to succeed and continue growing, he said.

“We have got to help you create a better customer experience,” Baur said. “Our job is to help you do more for that customer.”

Partners are having to transition to keep up with customer demands, and “however you position yourself, we can help you get there,” he said. ScanSource has transitioned into new areas, such as SaaS, to foster more growth, he said.

“ScanSource is embracing some new market opportunities on your behalf,” Baur said. “So what we’re doing hopefully is a model of what you can do.”

On Tuesday, the news broke that distributor Ingram Micro is moving more into ScanSource’s territory with the purchase of The Phoenix Group, a distributor of countertop and mobile POS products and services.

“We don’t focus on the competition,” Baur said. “Our energy is geared towards ramping up our payments business faster. We acquired the leader in the market, POS Portal, earlier in the year. Their team brings a deep level of experience and expertise in serving the payments channel. Together, we are excited about the opportunity to enable our partners – from SMB to the enterprise – to grow their payments business or begin a payments practice.”

Ken Howery, president of Versona Systems, a ScanSource vendor, said the pace of change is happening “extremely fast and it’s really hard to keep up.”

“ScanSource helps us stay current,” he said. “We’ve transformed by operating lean, operating at a fast pace, trying to strive for continuous improvement and reliable processes.”

Stephen Mays, executive vice president of Call One, said the changes in customer experience are “absolutely needed and that’s one of the things we’re working on in our business.” Call One is a ScanSource communications partner.

“When Mike talked about SaaS and that type of transition into the cloud, we saw that coming about 14 months ago, and so we’ve actually started making preparations,” he said. “It’s fantastic seeing a company as large as ScanSource starting to head in that direction. It makes me feel like I’m not crazy going in …

… that direction. We’re changing our business model and our business structure. We do a lot of telecommunications solutions, so telephones, headsets, stuff like that, and we’re actually moving into SaaS … and ScanSource is one of our biggest partners that we’re doing that with.”

David Hertwig, president of ScanSource Catalyst, said Avaya’s upcoming emergence from chapter 11 bankruptcy will be “exciting” for his company and its partners.

“They’re introducing and have continued to introduce a lot of new technologies, so taking it into a newer technology set, more cloud-based and more product development-based versus where they came from where it was basically about just the software and a premise solution,” he said. “We believe that our relationship will continue to grow. We as a company are making some transitions and moving toward a lot of that, too. We’re moving into what we’re doing with cloud, what do we do with more software and then what services we can wrap around those to help our customers be more successful in the market — and they don’t have to put as much investment in. So together, we’re really going in a similar direction and making the journey together.”

In terms of forward-looking technology, Greg Dixon, ScanSource’s chief technology officer, said his company is now ready to take some “positive steps as a business” toward the Internet of Things (IoT) as a business practice.

“In order to move the needle at ScanSource, it has to be really big, and it takes years to move the needle on a $4 billion company,” he said. “But we start small. We get some minor adoption, and we put a person or two at it, and we borrow some time from there and we steal a little bit of this, and we create some solutions and then we get out there. And we have to verticalize it as well. Starting now, maybe in the third year out, I don’t know that we’ll move the needle, but we’ll be able to see the promise of moving the needle, of some real financial benefit to not just us, but all of our partners as well.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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