Commercial Integrator June 2022 - 54

SPONSORED CONTENT
STARIN
LEANS INTO
UC&C EXPERTISE
The Indiana-based distributor boldly embraced a strategy
to create a simpler, cleaner business.
IT HAS OFTEN BEEN said that fortune favors
the bold. That may be particularly true in the
commercial AV industry, where the pace
of technological change means there's no
room for complacency. But when a company's
newly minted leader charts a course that
involves shedding substantial amounts of
existing business in order to focus on core
specialties, it'd be hard to blame someone
for being a little skittish. That's exactly what
Bobby Swartz, CTS, the CEO of Chesterton,
Ind.-based Starin, did when he took the
reins of the value-added distributor about
two years ago. Happily, however, the entire
Starin team bought into Swartz's vision
- namely, for the distributor to focus on
unified communications and collaboration
(UC&C) - because they recognized that
area encapsulated what Starin is best at. As
we now approach the midpoint of 2022,
the strategy has succeeded even beyond
Swartz's own hopes.
Gut-Check Time
Swartz explains that, when he ascended to
leadership, it was time for " a gut check. " He
says, " We looked at what we're really best
at [and] what we've always been good at -
our key fundamentals. " That soul searching
produced a revelation: Starin's fundamentals
have always been inside the conference
room. That includes longstanding relationships
with communications companies like
ClearOne and Revolabs. However, over
54
Commercial Integrator JUNE 2022
the past decade, the conference room has
changed dramatically, shifting from larger,
hardware-centric rooms to smaller spaces
with Zoom and Teams lying at their heart.
Recognizing the limitless growth potential
of UC&C, Starin, under Swartz' leadership,
decided to make what he calls " some radical
changes " to its line card to enable it to focus
all its resources on UC&C. Swartz quotes
back his own contemporaneous thinking,
saying, " We have to create time. We need to
create space to give that focus. "
'The message
was a simple one:
We're actually
making a simpler
business...a
cleaner business. That's really
easy for people to get behind.'
- Bobby Swartz, CTS,
CEO of Starin
The Starin team invested themselves in
this vision, seeing the potential to capture
far greater market share in the UC&C
category and equally importantly, to serve
existing channel partners better. What's
more, Swartz says, they understood that
sharper focus offers Starin greater organizational
coherence. As he puts it, " The
message was a simple one: We're actually
making a simpler business...a cleaner
business. That's really easy for people to
get behind. " And, indeed, it was key to
earning Starin associates' buy in. Swartz
was not proposing something different or
harder; rather, he was allowing the team
to lean into their strength. Finally, the team
understood that streamlining the line card
redounds to vendors' benefit; the distributor
can up its level of service to help
vendor partners reach into the channel
and seize the UC&C opportunity.
Executing the Plan
However good a concept might look on
paper, it's all in the execution. Unsurprisingly,
Swartz and the Starin leadership team
executed their plan with precision, starting
with creating a target list. " What things in
that corporate UC space are popular or could
we utilize and don't have? " the CEO says he
asked himself. The existing portfolio was quite
strong, but Starin, as a somewhat smaller
distributor, had not always been on every
brand's radar. So, with intentionality and
discipline - and avoiding the temptation to
brand collect - Starin began striking key relationships
across the collaboration category.
The leading vendors in the space quickly took
notice. " It's a small industry, " Swartz says with
a chuckle. " People start to chit-chat pretty
quickly, and, suddenly, opportunities start to
arise. " Meantime, Starin leaned hard into its
existing brands, asking key questions: How
do we take these to the next level? How can
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Commercial Integrator June 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Commercial Integrator June 2022

Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Cover1
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Cover2
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - 1
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - 2
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - 3
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - 4
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - 5
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Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 1
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 2
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 3
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 4
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 5
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 6
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 7
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 8
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 9
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 10
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 11
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 12
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 13
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Special Section 14
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - 46
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Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Cover3
Commercial Integrator June 2022 - Cover4
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