The organization’s new regional Best Practices Conference is structured to lower your risk of falling a step behind competitors.
I’m leading with the full disclosure part, because I don’t want it to get in the way of my point. Commercial Integrator and NSCA have strategically partnered to produce the NSCA Best Practices Conference, a regional complement to NSCA’s annual Business & Leadership Conference (BPC).
No part of the agreement requires me to write things that I don’t believe (and I challenge you to find an article in which I do that).
I do believe that, for integration firms that care enough to improve their operations and strategies as they prepare to compete in 2014, sending a key decision-maker to NSCA BPC is invaluable.
Some of the firms at the first BPC in Dallas, Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, I’ll be frank, seem at risk of being left in the dust.
This NSCA Education Foundation is offering complimentary registration for first-time NSCA event attendees and to NSCA members that register multiple attendees. Call 800-446-6722 to ask about savings opportunities.
The NSCA-driven sessions, however, are structured to zero in on the things that many integrators aren’t doing enough of and aren’t doing well.
For instance, I entered BPC in Dallas feeling like I appreciated the disconnect between A/V-centric integrators and their clients IT staffs, but I underestimated the criticalness of it.
Is integrators’ lack of IT understanding the biggest issue in the industry? “Absolutely,” said Jeff Mauldin, president of Fort Worth, Texas-based Communication Concepts, who attended the event. “That is where our industry has really fallen behind, and I don’t see that [a lot of integration firms] have plans to embrace [IT and networking]. I believe that a lot of people in our industry over the next four or five years will become dinosaurs.”
Dialog at NSCA BPC is aimed at preventing that from happening. Joseph Thomas, technical training manager for AVI-SPL, led the “Meet Your New Customer: The CIO” session. He estimated that only 10 percent of integrators are “network confident.”
That’s a big deal for an industry that installs products on their clients’ IT networks, and it doesn’t exactly set up a trusting relationship with the IT staffs at those companies whose primary jobs are to protect those networks.
It’s not that integrators ought to be building or managing their clients networks, Mauldin said, but they need to get trained and even certified to the point where “we can show that we embrace their networks and understand how they work and, because of that, we are cognizant that our equipment may have an impact on their network.” CIOs “respect that,” added Mauldin who has earned Cisco certification, “and I have never had a problem dealing with [IT staffs] because of that.”
Tom has been covering electronics integration since 2003. Prior to being named editor-in-chief of CI, he was senior writer and managing editor of CE Pro. Before that, he wrote for the sports department of the Boston Herald. Migrating to magazines, he was a staff editor for a golf publication and an outdoor sports publication. Follow him on Twitter @leblanctom.