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Rich Long: With Its Upcoming 25th Anniversary, ScanSource Focused On Transformation

To gain new capabilities, ScanSource has acquired several other companies through the years.

Edward Gately

November 10, 2017

5 Min Read

ScanSource soon will be celebrating its 25th anniversary and looking ahead, it’s all about continued transformation.

The distributor capped off its Global Partner Conference this week in its hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. Executives gave a positive prognosis for its traditional businesses, and talked about its transitioned into new areas, such as SaaS, to foster more growth, and focusing more on the end-user experience..

To gain new capabilities, ScanSource has acquired other companies through the years, such as master agent Intelisys, CDC Brasil, Network1 and most recently POS Portal, which is says will “create the industry’s leading payments channel.”

This summer, Intelisys launched a new financial program that allows its sales partners to leverage their monthly recurring revenue (MRR) through the master agent to buy hardware through ScanSource.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Rich Long, ScanSource president, talks about what the upcoming anniversary means to his company, and how continued transformation will benefit its partners.

Channel Partners: What’s the overall message behind the 25th anniversary?


ScanSource’s Rich Long

Rich Long: We’re obviously using the 25th anniversary celebration as a platform to remind people of where we’ve come from, all of us. It’s one month from now. So we’re reminding partners about all of our journeys together, the history, the present and where things are going. And so we’re using that to talk about the trends in the industry, the trends in technologies and how we all as partners, not just the resellers, but the distributors too, have to transform to help each other during that journey. So transforming means developing new services streams, developing new revenue streams, developing new ways of meeting the clients’ needs and that’s what it’s all about. Surrounding the end customer with complete channel support and care.

CP: Change has been a big theme of this conference. What kind of change already has ScanSource initiated?

RL: Some of the changes we discussed … are around transformative changes within the partner community. And that means the types of support that we provide to the customer and the types of technologies that we’re selling as companies. So it’s not just about hardware products and software as part of the solution, but it also has to do with recurring revenue models, bringing on cloud services, bringing on carrier services, bringing on adjacent technologies to compliment the solutions we’ve sold before, all of us as a partner community. We’re proving it by making some acquisitions of our own. So over the last couple of years we’ve made few acquisitions that get us a little outside of our comfort zone and into adjacent technologies, and we’re using those as models to hopefully help guide and navigate partners throughout their journey, too.

CP: As far as ScanSource’s transformation, has it been a combination of internal organic growth and acquisitions?

RL: We’re transforming as a company, and part of it is building new practices ourselves and part of it is…

…partnering with other companies to build out those solutions. But certainly part of our strategy is to acquire some of these adjacent technologies so that we can help round out those solutions, and then give a better, broader selection of solutions and services for our partners to deliver to their clients.

CP: There’s so much change and consolidation happening now, with a new channel acquisition announced nearly every day. What’s happening?

RL: Lots of consolidation in the industry, certainly in our space if you’re talking about UC, lots of that. Some of it is predictable and some of it isn’t. Some of those acquisitions or consolidations are validating some of the trends that we all expected. Cisco’s acquisition of BroadSoft validates a trend that we all were seeing in the UC hosted versus premise solution, and so I think it’s a natural part of this transformation of technologies. I would expect more to happen and I think it’s just a natural part.

CP: Has there been much downside for the channel amid all of this consolidation?

RL: What we’re seeing is opportunities. Opportunities for more solutions, more services to be sold by our partner community to their clients, and introducing them into new technology streams, too.

CP: What sort of feedback have you been receiving from partners during the conference?

RL: I’ll give you one specific example around acquisitions and mergers. Recently ShoreTel was acquired by Mitel. We’ve been a partner of both of those brands for many years, probably a longer time period with ShoreTel, so we have a larger ShoreTel community here this week than we do traditional Mitel dealers, and all of those dealers have a positive reaction to Mitel’s acquisition of ShoreTel. They’re very energized positively by the new solutions and services that they will be able to offer. They believe it to be additive to their businesses and they can’t wait to get started. They’re more energized to begin learning those, and getting accredited and certified in those new solutions so that they have a broader scope of solutions to offer their end-users.

CP: ScanSource already is in its fiscal year 2018. What does the new year mean for your company?

RL: For us, as we illustrated here, it’s the beginning of a transformation ourselves as we look to service our customers deeper, learn more about their needs, and create new services and revenue streams to help them serve their clients.

CP: What does digital transformation mean to you?

RL: I think it means being as efficient and automated as you can. Everybody is at a different point in that journey and it’s how you apply that automation and how you apply that data to your businesses. What makes things more efficient. What takes costs out of your business, what makes you more proactive and less reactive to your clients’ needs. For us, that’s what digital transformation means.

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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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