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Commercial Integration Business Strategies Moving Forward

By Expert Author: Julie Solomon

Recently, Commercial Integrator Magazine shared their findings from a survey of 72 commercial integrators and specifying consultants in its 2013 State of the Industry report on the commercial integration industry. The report offered findings that pointed to a tighter business market in 2014, but with opportunities for commercial integrators to form stronger business partnerships with customers, rather than just vendor-customer relationships.

This survey was no different from most surveys, where there is some good news and some challenging news for our industry. CI reports that 65% of surveyed companies reported revenue growth of more than 5% during the last year. That’s a big rise over the 46% of integration firms that showed similar 5% or more revenue growth in 2012.

However, CI noted that moving forward into 2014, some obstacles are clearly visible:

- Many integration firms are still operating with outdated sales approaches that simply sell product to customers, rather than partner with customers for service options.
- Convergence between IT departments and traditional A/V solutions integrators is reaching a boiling point and many traditional AV integrators are at risk of being burned.
- Pricing structures have come under intense scrutiny, forcing companies to assess the long-term viability of their pricing plans.
- Integration firms need to focus on becoming business partners with their customers.

Traditional audio-visual solutions providers need to increase their IT competency, according to experts. Being able to align an organization’s IT needs with its audio-visual solutions needs will be one of the key priorities for many in staying competitive in 2014.

One of the report’s respondents surmises that if a commercial integrator can’t merge its technology solutions with the existing information technology in a prospect’s organization, it will not be able to give the right kind of value to that organization. It’s more about becoming technology partners with current and future customers that will drive industry revenue forward.

Other topics in the report describe falling profit margins and how some integrators are willfully lowering costs to partners to becoming more service-oriented partners for the long-run. That could be a strategy for some integrators who are strong on IT service and consulting.

CI writes how integrators should become more integral to their customers’ needs:

“An overarching goal for integrators — one that can address a lot of these challenges in one fell swoop — is to become more important to customers. Savvy security integration firms have recognized this opportunity, especially since access control and surveillance solutions have migrated to clients’ IT networks. There are now opportunities for integrators to provide clients with valuable data on employees’ comings and goings and room utilization, for instance. Firms can articulate clear return on investment in the form of productivity metrics.”

CCS Presentation Systems has already moved into a partnership direction, finding it one of the best ways to work with manufacturers and our end-user organizations. Having a simplified team structure for a client has worked very well. It’s this kind of thinking that has helped us becomes one of the largest A/V integrators in the United States, serving customers in corporate, government and education markets with integration, installation, maintenance and training services for a wide variety of audio and video equipment.

Article Source: CCS Presentation Systems

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