ScanSource Heads to the Cloud

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Comms Business Editor Ian Hunter talks to Paul Emery, VP of ScanSource CommunicationsUK about their latest plans for hosted telephony.

Let’s take a minute to remind ourselves of the scale of ScanSource. Established in 1992 and headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina the company has revenues of around $3.0 billion and employs 1500 people. ScanSource has a significant footprint in Europe with a headquarters and logistics centre in Brussels, two further offices in Germany, one each in Italy, France, Poland, Spain and The Netherlands. In the UK their Communications operation is run out of Egham in Surrey which is where we met Paul Emery, VP of ScanSource Communications UK.

Emery runs the Communications set up in the UK, others run their extensive Bar Code and Video Conferencing operations.
So, we asked, what projects are you working on right now?

Emery says ScanSource is currently running a series of cloud workshops for their channel partners.

“The Comms and Unified Communications world is changing. Customers are migrating these services to the cloud and using BroadSoft type platforms to do so as traditional suppliers such as Avaya and Unify have not had the right products.”
This is quite a statement to make given ScanSource’s long term business relationship with Avaya.

“Now’, says Emery, “Things have changed. Unify has a solution and ScanSource has a unique proposition with a Virtual1 data centre – an aggregated cloud model. So Unify has the hosted telephony licencing and handsets, Virtual1 provides the data centre and our resellers are pointed to Virtual1 for the connectivity.”

Emery notes that Virtual1 also has a private SIP exchange and goes on to add that ScanSource is offering its resellers two deployment models for the new service.

Option A is an on net service with Virtual1 comprising a virtualised Unify Openscape.

Option B is a VPN connectivity to the Virtual1 Data Centre.

In essence, the differences between the two offer are that Option A has Virtual1 connectivity circuits with guarantees on QOS whilst Option B is VPN connectivity using any circuit. Both services offer the cost per user, per month cloud model.

Operationally this is very different from a BroadSoft ‘type’ service’

The ScanSource offer is not a multi-tenant deployment such as you would get with BroadSoft but instead a dedicated private instance of Unify Openscape.

Emery says the price for their service is competitive above 25 users and very competitive above 100 users.
“Sales have already started, services have been spun up and are working with users. We see the market moving this way and want to remain agnostic to cloud and CPE by offering multi solutions for the channel including a new multi-tenant solution for early 2017.”

I had to ask the question; ever since the formation of ScanSource Communications the company has been a supplier of Avaya solutions. It has been the foundation and bedrock on which their Communications operation is based.

So, what does CPE agnostic mean and where does Avaya fit in this new world?

“Historically we have been a large distributor of Avaya solutions but our portfolio has expanded and become broader. An Avaya solution will be launched in addition to that of Unify also in early 2017 and we will continue our aim of being the go to distributor for channel solutions.

The cloud workshops we are running are the foundation. Today many of our partners are not sure where the opportunities are and need to know how to and when to position cloud against on premise as well as the hybrid options. So far we have held three Unify workshops, at Egham, Bury and London.”