From The Editor | July 27, 2010

Sneak Preview - RSPA Industry Leader Panel Discussion

Roddy Headshot

By Jim Roddy, president

On Tuesday morning at RSPA's RetailNOW event, I'll be moderating the Industry Leader Panel Discussion featuring top executives from ScanSource, HP, Micros, BlueStar, IBM, NCR, and Ingram Micro. This event will bring together major players in our industry to share their perspectives and visions on the biggest issues facing the retail channel.

BSM Chief Editor Mike Monocello and I, with lots of guidance from RSPA members and Business Solutions subscribers, have assembled the questions for this highly anticipated two-hour event. Here's an exclusive sneak preview of some of the topics we'll discuss:

  • Channel Sustainability: The value-add that dealers have traditionally offered is changing (e.g. PCI compliance, cloud computing). Where's this going? What's a dealer's business going to look like in five years?
  • Retail Software: What's the future of providing software to the end user? How do vendors and distributors plan to address the SaaS model?
  • Mobility: What's the future of mobile POS in retail, particularly the SMB retail space?
  • Physical Security: How big an opportunity is adding video surveillance to your POS solution and to your linecard?
  • Self-Service and Digital Signage: What's the future in retail for digital signage and self-service kiosks?

I'm most interested in what the panelists have to say in response to the channel sustainability questions. Some vendor and distributor executives I've talked with are deeply concerned that dealers who don't begin changing their business model now will be abandoned by much of their customer base in the next 5 years.

Their fear is most acute for family owned, second- or third-generation VARs — which comprise a big chunk of the RSPA membership. Not only are those dealers enduring typical reseller business pressures, but also changing their model could be an affront to their father and grandfather who built the model. That's a tough conversation to have at the next family gathering.

These family-owned businesses aren't automatically less resistant to adapting; they're just under extra pressure that other businesses don't have. I've worked for family owned businesses my entire life, and I can tell you from firsthand experience that the toughest mind to change is that of a successful business owner, especially the person who founded the business.

For more information on RSPA RetailNOW 2010, go to

Related Inside RetailNOW Links:
InsideRetailNOW Micro Site
RetailNOW 2010 Articles
RetailNOW 2010 Videos
RetailNOW 2010 News