ScanSource unveils IT services for resale

Monday, May 4, 2009

GREENVILLE, S.C.—Having learned from its parent company’s experience in the IP telephony business, distributor ScanSource Security has unveiled a new suite of IT and network services that installers can offer their customers. These include network assessments that can be done remotely; network design; Wi-Fi and point-to-point wireless site surveys; and network product installation.

“A lot of our customers,” said Paul Constantine, VP of merchandising at ScanSource Security, “their heritage and experience is in video and security, and not IT.” This is similar to the situation that ScanSource’s traditional telephony customers were in seven or eight years ago when Voice over IP hit the market. “They went through a similar evolution,” Constantine said, “from proprietary telephone to VoIP, and it was the exact same dynamic we’re seeing in security now.”

So ScanSource took IT services it was already offering its telephony customers, added some security expertise, and is now offering those services to the security marketplace.

“We bill the reseller for the service, and then they can charge the end user whatever they feel is appropriate,” Constantine said. “It’s something we intend for them to make money off of, not something they would have to eat.”

Katherine Passela, installation manager for telecom firm Consolidated Technologies, said she’s been using these services from ScanSource to conduct network assessments for some time and is pleased with the results. “We basically have a kick off call with ScanSource and they take it from there, and that’s one less worry I have,” she said. “They gather reports and put them in really great formatting and they supply us and the customer with the outcome of the assessment, where the network is failing and how to fix it and get it up to par. As far as the customer knows, we’re doing all of this, but if we wanted to do this internally we’d have to send somebody to school and pay to get them trained.”

He said, in a best-case scenario, these are services that installers would no longer need in a few years, as they gain their own IT expertise in house. “It’s a bridge,” Constantine said. “I would expect more and more security integrators to be able to offer this on their own in the near future, just as we’ve seen happen in the telecom space.”

In fact, he said, “our goal isn’t really to make money on these services; it’s to help them develop their skills in IP and sell more of our IP-based products. We want to be more than a stock room and price.”