TOP
STORIES
 1 of 5
Flashback Friday: 7 Super-Scary Wiring Scenarios
CI is bringing back our Halloween-themed guide to feeling great about your company's wiring techniques. What's the worst wiring scenario you've encountered?
 2 of 5
ESPN Makes Digital Splash with Eye-Popping SportsCenter Upgrade
Mobile displays, video floor, social media wall among many highlights of the new SportsCenter digital studio DC-2.
 3 of 5
Mission Critical 411 on Control Room Integration
Integrators with long histories in this space discuss how projects and customer demands are different than others.
 4 of 5
How Boston College Gets Fans off Comfy Couches, onto Metal Benches
Boston College installs new Daktronics 13HD LED video boards at Alumni Stadium to draw fans to the in-game experience.
 5 of 5
Top 10 Dante-Enabled Products
Check out 10 key products that have received the increasingly important Dante touch.
7 Dirty Words of the Integration Business
There are some phrases that can bring fear to the hearts of even the most experienced integrator.

Article


Seven Dirty Words
In a business where there are more than a few things that can go wrong, these seven phrases should raise red flags.
January 29, 2013 | by Daniel L. Newman

When it comes to running an integration business, we all have phrases we love to hear.

Some that immediately come to mind are, signed contract, margin rich, or design build. All of these phrases exude a certain positivity integrators can get behind.

But in a business where there are more than a few things that can go wrong, there are some phrases that can bring fear to the hearts of even the most experienced integrator.

These are the “7 Dirty Words/Phrases for Integration:”

1. Bid - Perhaps no word wreaks of “not-profitable"more than bid work. Between the layers of contractors the integrator often has to work through, the slow pay and being the last on the job site, this is often a no-win proposition. If bid work is where you want to live, be careful and read EVERYTHING. The bigger the project the shakier ground you may be walking on when it comes to potential losses.

2. Owner Furnished - I love it when the customer shows you the room full of old projectors or plasmas they want to put into their new rooms. Coupled with a few new pieces of gear and they have everything you need to do the install. Be sure and test everything twice to make sure it works. Once you sign the okay to use their gear, it is in your hands. And when it doesn’t work, it is still in your hands.

3. Shared Labor - “We will pull the cable and put the equipment in the racks, can you do the rest?” This is the start of something really bad. When the customer is trying to save money by piecing together the install, it is never a good thing for the integrator. If you decide to go down this road, you need rock solid agreements as to where there work ends and yours begin. Otherwise, making money will be in the rearview mirror for this project.

4. Extended Terms - For the customer that is. This is common when dealing with the biggest companies. They generate cash flow by extending out payments as long as possible, sometimes waiting to pay until the job is delivered 100 percent. In some projects, getting to 100 percent starts to look like searching for your contact in the middle of a corn field.

5. Consultant - Unrelated to the part where these very smart engineers design systems to bid. This group also loves to specify “next gen” technologies, often before they are proven to work. What makes it worse is the projects they specify are often tremendous in scope. Taking the newest tech on the biggest projects with the least margin is a dirty, dirty word in my book.

6. Charge Back - Often buried deep in the contracts is the potential for charge backs to be incurred by integrators if they do not meet project timelines. This wouldn’t be so bad if we were 100 percent in control, but in the world we live in we wait for electricians, carpeting, ceiling, drywall and everyone else to do their part. So when the schedule gets compressed at the end, they love to hit up the integrator for restitution. Not cool and definitely a dirty word.

7. Trunk Slammer - The security guy, the drywall company or the CIO’s nephew also does home theaters. They said this project can be done for half of your price and they will come in at night and the weekend to do the work. If you hear this, or any iteration of this, turn around and run, not walk, but full out sprint out of the building. There isn’t a penny to be made. 

Did we nail it here? Or is there a dirtier word to describe the worst parts of system integration?

Add your thoughts. We’d love to hear them!

About the author

Daniel Newman is the founder of BroadSuite Consulting (link digital to www.broadsuite.com), a specialized consulting firm that focuses on helping brands and businesses to be found, seen and heard online. Prior to finding BroadSuite, Newman spent his entire career in various integration industry roles including CEO of United Visual, a 60-plus-year-old commercial integrator. Part-time MBA instructor, he's also a contributing writer for Huffington Post, SAP and IBM.
View all posts by Daniel L. Newman
Article Topics
Social Bookmark or Share This
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Digg
  • Del.icio.us
  • Yahoo! Bookmarks
  • Google Bookmarks
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
  • Reddit
  • Windows Live
  • LinkedIn
  • Evernote
  • E-mail


  • Latest
  • Blogs
  • Photos
  • Resources
Tales of the Mentors Who Made Us Who We Are

CI, along with InfoComm, NSCA's Chuck Wilson and Zdi's Jay McArdle, takes a step back to appreciate the mentors who get young, tech-savvy professionals excited about a career in the integration industry.

Redefining the Control Systems Programmer
An AV Guy's Guide to Talking IT
What Are You Thinking… Seeking RMR From Yesteryear’s Trends?
5 Strategies for Selling and Renewing Service Plans
View more blog posts
Flashback Friday: 7 Super-Scary Wiring Scenarios

Chances are, when this story was published one year ago, you didn't learn anything from our Halloween-themed gallery of scary wiring scenarios. But hopefully it made you feel great about your own company's wiring techniques. Check it out for this week's edition of Flashback Friday.

InFocus LiteShow 4 Transmits Digital Content to Projectors & Displays
ESPN Makes Digital Splash with Eye-Popping SportsCenter Upgrade
How Boston College Gets Fans off Comfy Couches, onto Metal Benches
Top 10 Dante-Enabled Products
View more photo galleries
White Paper:
Campuses Banking on Emergency Notification, Upgrades

A survey from CI sister publication Campus Safety shows that one in two campus protection professionals say their institutions plan on or are considering deploying new/upgraded emergency alert solutions in the next year.

Webcast: Unscrambling Your AVB, HDBaseT Questions
White Paper: Technology Brief on Control Rooms
White Paper: The Voice: How to Design Emergency Communication Systems with Announcements
White Paper: Digital Signs of the Times
White Paper: A Snapshot of the Onsite Freelance & Contractor Workforce
Webcast: 7 Ways an Integrator Can Save Clients Money on Utility Costs
White Paper: 3 Dazzling LED Panel Implementations
View more papers or webcasts



Recent comments

I am a co-leader for my local ACE Mentor Program here in central Florida.  It is a very rewarding program…

Posted by Jim Landis on 2014 10 24 · commented on
'Tales of the Mentors Who Made Us Who We Are'.

This set really looks amazing, display walls everywhere!

Posted by Chanan Averbuch on 2014 10 23 · commented on
'ESPN Makes Digital Splash with Eye-Popping SportsCenter Upgrade'.

This device is just awesome. It expands line that includes access control and CCTV camera solutions to offer…

Posted by Nishad Hasan on 2014 10 20 · commented on
'Seco-Larm Launches HDMI Product Line'.

Thanks for your comment, Alan. I understand and appreciate your frustration about the pictures and belief…

Posted by D. Craig MacCormack on 2014 10 14 · commented on
'Inside Look: Long Island Railroad's Hiperwall Command Center Unveiled'.