The ScanSource Global Partner Conference, or GPC as it was affectionately called, was three full days in beautiful Greenville, S.C., from November 7-9. From incredible evening entertainment, to informative keynote sessions that invoked tears, to a newly unveiled plan for ScanSource in 2018, GPC was a major success that included more than 1,400 attendees from 26 different countries.

Tuesday

Tuesday evening, ScanSource kicked off the event at the Westin Poinsett hotel with a welcome reception for first-time attendees. The evening expo at the Greenville Hyatt featured 113 different manufacturing suppliers from most of ScanSource’s deep line card. This high-energy networking opportunity gave attendees a hands-on chance to interact and see many of the total solutions ScanSource offers, while mingling with approximately 316 representatives from the ScanSource extended family.

Wednesday

As attendees descended to the TD Center Wednesday morning, it was apparent this was a truly global affair. Translation services offered guests the opportunity to hear the message in their native tongue, while the breakfast buffet featured a variety of accents and languages adjacent to the croissants and quiches.

ScanSource CEO Mike Baur welcomed everyone and wasted no time getting down to “new” business. With ScanSource’s 25th anniversary approaching, Baur spoke to a packed house about the evolution of the company he founded with five others in 1992. What was once a traditional distributor/reseller business, Baur explained how ScanSource is becoming more customer-centric by focusing on the demands of the end user.

“It’s our job to help you create a better customer experience,” Baur said.

Knowing that end users are moving toward recurring revenue models and everything-as-a-service, Baur said, “We’re embracing new market opportunities that reflect what your customers want most.” He then invited executive leaders from recent acquisitions — Intelisys, POS Portal, Network1, and CDC Brazil — to share how they became part of the ScanSource family. As major players in the payments, networking, carrier and cloud services spaces, these relationships pave the way for a true customer-focused partnership between distributor, reseller, and end user. This is not a total departure from their tried-and-true model, but rather an opportunity to ask, “What can ScanSource do for you?” In short, the answer was, just about anything.

To conclude, Baur asked the audience, “Are you ready to grow?” Without hesitation, it was apparent this new paradigm shift is welcome among ScanSource partners.

To finish out the morning, keynote speaker Phil Hansen showcased his incredible artistic talent by way of learning to overcome a shaky hand that almost destroyed his will to create. Translating perfectly to a corporate setting, Hansen’s “embrace the shake,” message reminded us all that limitations are only obstacles. Asking, “What happens when resources become scarce,” he challenged the crowd to think and do more with less in an often resource-strapped, office environment.

After a full morning, Latin American attendees spent the afternoon hearing from leaders across their region while other GPC attendees spent the day taking in the surrounding area through a variety of ScanSource-sponsored activities. Guests traveled to Clemson University’s Death Valley stadium (home of the reigning National Champions), local breweries, golf courses, enjoyed a walking tour of downtown Greenville (one man dubbed it, “Mayberry on steroids”) and participated in the always-popular BMW Driving Experience.

Although the weather was unseasonably cold and gloomy, the evening party at the Old Cigar Warehouse later that night offered a Tour of the World, and included food and beverages from many locations ScanSource has offices. Feeling like a miniature Epcot, it was easy to travel the world in just a few steps. Guests could walk to “Mexico” and enjoy a mariachi band, churros, and salsa dancing; and with a quick turn, venture to “California,” with stone-fired pizzas, s’mores, and comfortable seating in a warm ambience. The “Upstate” tent felt like home to many who are headquartered at ScanSource’s Greenville office, and offered shrimp and grits, biscuits with bacon jam, chicken and waffles, and a live bluegrass band to reflect the Southern hospitality. Other locations included a downstairs European pub complete with fish and chips, and Kansas City, with traditional barbecue and brisket dishes.

Thursday

Armed with new connections and rest from the day before, GPC attendees began Thursday morning at the TD center, ready for a day of mind sharing. A packed agenda offered a full day of information and expertise from ScanSource leadership across the traditional business units. The morning agenda featured executives speaking as well as mini-educational sessions from their best-of-breed suppliers. Avoiding typical sessions aimed at showing off the latest and greatest products, these 20-minute sessions highlighted trends in industries like point of sale, telecommunications, cloud, and physical security. Common themes emerged among the sessions, including mobility, IoT, collaboration, and heavily, customer experience.

Echoing the sentiment from the day before, the biggest takeaway from Thursday’s sessions were how the customer experience has changed. While many brick and mortar stores still exist and thrive, they are seeing a shift to more e-commerce options and complete solutions that move away from a hard-top desk register.

In the security space, guest speaker Alissa Parker shared her heartbreaking story of losing her six-year-old daughter in the Sandy Hook tragedy of 2012. Out of her loss, Parker, and another mother of a Sandy Hook victim, founded Safe and Sound Schools, which offers resources around school safety and security. At GPC, Parker shared her story with first-hand observations of security measures and equipment that were absent from the elementary school, while providing resellers with new ideas to take back to their customers.

To close out the GPC, the final party of the night was another taste of the South and featured live performances by Southern rock greats, The Marshall Tucker Band and Three Dog Night. While enjoying the concert, guests were again treated to food from around the globe and décor that encompassed everything from the Greenville Liberty Bridge to a Ferris wheel reminiscent of the London Eye.

On Friday, as attendees made their way back home to places near and far, one thing was certain: ScanSource is truly a global enterprise ready for the main stage. To experience the GPC for yourself, check out a fun video here.

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