The Canadian head of specialty distributor BlueStar has a positive outlook for the company’s business here and plans to target natural-resource related customers to grow even more in the coming years.
Since 2009, or a peak period in the economic downturn, business has been improving, and BlueStar had significant growth in the past year, Jacques Lapierre, president of BlueStar Canada told ChannelBuzz.ca in an interview at VARTech Canada 2012 in Toronto.
“Most of the growth areas have been in the mobility sector,” he said. “Everybody’s replacing the clipboard,” to improve efficiency, across industries.
Lapierre took the opportunity at VARTech to point out opportunities across Canada for partners – including industries such as shipping in the Maritimes – that can capitalize on the mobile hardware and software solutions the distributor offers, as well as its other “solution-based” offerings for areas such as security.
But the common thread that runs throughout most of Canada is natural resources, where Lapierre encouraged partners to look for business. “Our natural resources are being sought after by the rest of the world,” he said.
From hydro power in Ontario and Quebec to the mining and potash industries, businesses connected to natural resources provide major opportunity for BlueStar partners, he said, especially since many of those potential customers may have field workers combined with old technology. “There is definitely a need for people to augment their productivity and their efficiency.”
BlueStar will also look to foster more cross-border business and make it easier on its partners who work with customers in the United States. “There’s no longer that big divide between U.S. and Canada,” he said.
On a general level, Lapierre said he wants to build relationships within the BlueStar partner community as well. “We’re going to be taking a lot of clear thought into how to understand our VAR community,” Lapie said.
“They’re asking us to know them better and be able to be an intermediary and introduce them to other people with complementary services. That’s becoming a necessity in the channel and I think that’s something we need to look at.”
The digital signage market is also showing promise among many industries, but has much more untapped potential.
“Digital signage is good, but it’s not where it could be,” he said. More can be done to make digital signage more touch-based and interactive, especially for local activities, using all screen formats, not just large ones. “I think there’s going to be more attention paid to that in the next couple of years.”
While BlueStar hasn’t gained many new partners in the last year, that hasn’t had an affect on its revenue. “There’s been a bit of consolidation,” he said, with not as many new VARs emerging. Still, BlueStar itself is growing, recently adding several new staff to its Canadian operations.
BlueStar will host its U.S. and Latin America VARTech event this fall.