The future of IP communications seems very bright according to Buck Baker the President of ScanSource Communications. I had a chance to speak with him, Mary Ellen Grom, Mike Ferney and Yvette McKenzie today and they seemed quite upbeat about their opportunities. Of special note is their distribution of Polycom products such as videoconferencing. This area of their business is doing well as it offsets reduced travel budgets.
ScanSource plays a vital role in the distribution of products and services, shipping thousands of boxes daily from a 600,000 square foot warehouse outside of Memphis, TN where they help resellers with cash flow and even financing. In this economic environment, financing is certainly tougher to come by so this is a great offering and a tremendous value add.
Throughout my meetings in the past 24 hours it is evident that many communications infrastructure providers really value the role ScanSource plays in the market and the reseller community seems to really like what ScanSource does.
According to Baker, the future holds more acceptance of video collaboration as end users are looking to cut costs.
Another theme for the future is resellers needing to be more consultative and collaborative – asking customers “Where do you want to be in 2-5 years?” From there they need to help customers with their product roadmaps.
Regarding UC, the company sees tremendous interest but little sales so far. We discussed how networking and videoconferencing took time to catch on as well. Jokingly I mentioned that I hope UC doesn’t take 18 years or so to take off like video did. Baker explained that he thinks that Microsoft’s legitimization of the space is a tremendous help to the market and will certainly accelerate adoption. Resellers are aggressively getting trained on UC he tells me and there are many customer trials which will eventually turn into large deployments.
In conclusion, it is obvious the communications market will have some casualties and ScanSource CEO Mike Bauer mentioned there will be increasing consolidation among vendors and resellers going forward. Still, the IP communications market has pockets of real strength and as travel costs are cut and companies look to be more productive, ScanSource and the company’s’ partners and resellers are positioned well to weather the storm.