New direction

New direction

The ScanSource Team
The ScanSource Team

ScanSource were celebrating in style when we visited their offices on 1 May with all staff wearing something orange and/or red – the new company colours. It’s just over a year now since ScanSource, the giant US distributor took over the reins at MTV Telecom. What, we asked Vice President Clay Sorensen, would the channel see from the company in the next 12 months?

 

“There will be many things the channel will notice; some will be more subtle than others. Notably we will continue to enhance our technical capability and are moving firmly into the mid market and enterprise space – albeit not at the expense of our SME heritage where we continue to lead the market.

“The experience we bring to the mid and enterprise markets gives us an enhanced capability in delivering IP-based solutions – all the reseller support mechanisms are firmly in place.”

One of the first signs that ScanSource has all their enterprise ducks in a row is that the company is now supplying the full Avaya enterprise and mid-market portfolio in the UK for the first time.

Sorensen comments, “This move would not normally be easy for a distributor but of course we have all the experience and resources gained from selling the Avaya enterprise portfolio elsewhere; IS systems are in place for reseller quotation support, sales and technical support and remote network programming is available – all the elements required for a successful enterprise sales operation.

“Most of all, we know what we don’t know; the enterprise business can be very expensive if you make mistakes. It takes a lot of financial muscle to succeed in the enterprise space and the size and value of the deals grows exponentially and not all resellers have the ability to fund these opportunities whereas ScanSource does and will stand firmly behind the reseller. Smaller resellers, unless they have the right partners, could be financially challenged by these larger deals.”

 

Visible Support

Sorensen says that the channel will see more visible changes in the form of increased external support for partners. “We understand their needs and have people in place with all the right certifications. External staff have a responsibility for a group of accounts whilst an internal account manager will be assigned responsibility for sales, technical and accounts issues. We will be recruiting and some changes have already been implemented – we don’t need a ‘cast of thousands’, it’s all about quality rather than quantity. In our experience it is only when things go wrong that channel partners find out the quality of their supplier.”

 

Convergence

“Our heritage is in the converged network market and we are positioned very well having been preaching and selling converged solutions for more than four years. Over the next year ScanSource will be developing our presence in the convergence market. We use the technology ourselves and run our whole business globally on a converged network of voice, video and data communication. Our UK office was upgraded from an Avaya IP Office to a gateway running from our USbased Avaya 8700 while our office in Brussels uses an Avaya 8300. We make extensive use of video between the offices and I have a video client on my laptop.

“Our new web site was also recently launched and provides a valuable resource for our channel partners who will also notice that our inventory holding has increased considerably to ensure that we can supply resellers what they want and when they want it.”

Sorensen concludes, “ScanSource is an industry-leading, worldwide company capable of financing, supporting and supplying the channel – the three critical factors in distribution – and resellers should know that we have no hybrid model in place. We are a trade only supplier.”

 
COLT Saas Benefits
COLT Saas Benefits
 
COLT Saas Barriers
COLT Saas Barriers
 

Applications:

Cable & Wireless has entered the applications space and is offering applications to the SME market via its channel partners, using the SaaS delivery model. For C&W this provides them with a single, efficient service delivery mechanism and a quicker time-to-market approach to take applications to its partners. Deploying this delivery model breaks from the traditional methods of creating services that require dedicated resources for the SME market.

Cable&Wireless’ SaaS application portfolio includes: Online Backup and Web IP-CCTV. They will shortly be adding a Microsoft Exchange SaaS solution.

Ian Fishwick, MD of Adept, comments, “In today’s challenging business environment, it is important we look to new business areas, particularly where we can offer customers improved service whilst taking cost out.

“We now talk about benefits of propositions which include applications and bandwidth. With the support of Cable&Wireless, we can offer applications such as Web IP CCTV, part of Cable&Wireless’ SaaS applications suite, allowing us to tap into a completely new market and attract new customers.”

Simon Whatley, Director at Tollring says that whatever others are saying in the industry prising the cash out of nervous and conservative customers at the moment is a challenge. “On-demand licensing enables software to become a variable expense (OPEX), rather than a fixed cost (CAPEX) at the time of purchase. It enables licensing only the amount of software needed. SaaS also enables our partners to share licences across their organisation and between organisations, to reduce the cost of acquiring multiple systems.

“One big benefit of SaaS applications is the ability to establish and maintain recurring revenue streams.

“At Tollring we have three charging models: a monthly variable subscription fee which allows our partners to start small and grow as their subscriptions increase, a project by project monthly cost and an introduction commission where the entire sales and management function can be outsourced to us.

“With such a variety of modules to choose from or combine in the Enterprise Resource Management (ERM) portal – PBX, Mobile, Carrier, Assets, Personal Calls, Consolidated, Fuel Cards, Vehicle Tracking and Travel/Expenses there are enormous opportunities to create new and growing recurring revenue streams.”

 

A Clear Road…

Griffin Internet recently held a joint workshop with Microsoft to show how enterprises could more likely to adopt hosted desktop applications by making the connection to offices and homeworkers fast, reliable and affordable.

“Few would disagree that in the future a large section of the SME community will be buying their software and communications by the month and by the seat. The savvy resellers are making sure they are ready when this happens by preparing their sales channels and deciding what to build, what to buy and where to partner.”

Griffin Internet is a Microsoft Gold partner and is working closely with Microsoft to bring white label managed office solutions to the channel. Part of the portfolio of business products is Griffin’s MPLS IPVPN, which enables resellers to link up customer sites with a mixture of broadband, private circuits and Ethernet from multiple carriers.

In the future Griffin’s partners will be able to offer business networks and managed applications in partnership with Microsoft.

Adrian Sunderland, CTO, Griffin Internet said: “The feedback from the event was really encouraging. 50% of resellers attending our event already sell VPN solutions and were looking to overcome limitations with current carrier solutions, 34% sell SaaS solutions and had a need for secure private networking and 36% have seen an increasing demand for hosted applications and are looking to sell VPN and SaaS solutions in the near future.”

 

On the Other Hand…

Phil Reynolds, Joint CEO at Oak Telecom says, “I’m just not sure why anyone would want to be locked into an ongoing commitment to a service they have no control over when the best packages around are available to buy with flexible and very affordable licensing. The market knows that Oak software will perform and that it is pretty bullet-proof and will keep performing through extension and hardware reconfigurations. Resellers also know that we keep our support promises and will maintain our competitive edge with ongoing upgrades. An investment in Comms Suite is the easiest way to add value for end-users – and you can have our applications installed and delivering in minutes.”

 

Reseller Comment

John Singleton of SpiriTel: “It has taken time for our customers to accept that, despite a service being hosted in our data centre, they can still have full control. It is unfamiliar to them to not have a server or box on the wall that they own and control. However, after the initial uncertainty, they come to recognise the benefits of zero maintenance and CAPEX on expensive hardware, software licences and ongoing support. These are all managed by a team at SpiriTel, who are responsible for development, maintenance and support, which alleviates the burden from the customer.

“Customers are happy to relinquish control of software version to the vendor because the vendor is the specialist in the product, and can provide free upgrades and maintenance. It is down to the service provider to support the customer’s needs and to keep the service up to date. In these uncertain times, CAPEX can be a problem. The beauty of SpiriTel’s SaaS products is that the customer has the choice of buying their own solution and hosting it at their own data centre, or hosting it at SpiriTel’s data centre, or using ours.”

 

Ed Says

What does the channel need to do to raise its game as far as delivering SaaS is concerned in order to achieve a critical mass as far as uptake is concerned? We agree with Geoff Gilton, head of Managed Services Products at COLT when he says, “The channel needs to be IT-focused. SaaS is moving from a Line-of-Business discussion to a CIO/IT Director discussion about sourcing for the entire business. For the foreseeable future, there will be traditional IT solutions, managed hosted solutions and SaaS solutions, deployed in a multi-sourcing approach. SaaS provides an alternative sourcing strategy for the CIO.” SaaS provides an opportunity for resellers. The three IT delivery models – on-premise, Managed IT Services and SaaS will co-exist and resellers will play a role in enabling their customers to find the right solution for their business.

The following two tabs change content below.