July 18, 2016 By D. Craig MacCormack
Each of these 10 integrators bring different talents and take different approaches to meeting their clients’ needs.
Even though Alpha Video & Audio is more than 45 years old, “we still operate with an entrepreneur spirit,” says Jerry Gale, professional services marketer.
“Employees who see an opportunity in the market are giving the time and resources to pursue their idea.” Alpha Video uses “improved project management processes, including the implementation of a project portfolio management software platform and a real-time dashboard with key performance indicators for all projects” to meet client demands in a variety of vertical markets, says Gale.
Brad Walsh, president and COO at Beacon Communications, says the company’s biggest challenge this year is “continuing to bring in the right people as we grow.” “The Colorado market is thriving, and finding quality talent is becoming more of a challenge,” he says. “We continue to entertain new avenues for talent acquisition; I don’t believe there’s a silver bullet. It’s an ever-changing process.”
Video walls and wireless presentation are two very in-demand solutions, says Julie Solomon, manager of marketing and training at 2013 CI Integrator of the Year CCS Presentation Systems.
“We can do it all — design and engineer the hardware, procure and install, provide and develop the content, service and maintain it for the life of the system,” she says. “Most organizations are looking to make implementation of a complicated solution as easy as possible.”
Internally, CCS encourages a safe, competitive work environment through its Beyond Better program that enhances high company engagement. Within the office, employees complete monthly ballots to reward other employees’ performance with regards to customer service.
The more ‘points’ an employee receives, the better their chances at winning a cash prize at the end of each month. “CCS believes work should be rewarding, mentally and physically,” says Solomon. “We have extended this program to clients through a customer service survey, which further ranks employees on the board.”
Most of CI 2014 Integrator of the Year Electrosonic’s projects, says president and CEO Jim Bowie, fall into the category of “mission-critical,” whether that means they’re actually in a control room or in another space that has a specific deadline date for its opening.
“We like to be involved in the design and concept of a project,” says Bowie. “Things can vary dramatically on labor and you can tell pretty quickly if someone doesn’t understand the scope. “One of our major skills is project management. We know how to do very large projects over a long period of time in very difficult places. This job is about integrating different components and having a happy client at the end.”
Kevin McKay, national sales manager at Genesis Integration, says “clients are demanding cost-effective collaboration solutions for their small- and medium-sized conference and meeting rooms. Genesis is looking at delivering packaged solutions bundled with managed services.
“Genesis is shifting our focus away from equipment and focusing more on the value-added services that we can provide to our clients. From our initial engagement with our clients, we strive to become ‘outcome-focused.’ The collaboration technologies we provide have become an integral part of the strategic initiatives of our clients therefore we are focused on managing the complete lifecycle of the solutions we offer,” he says.
“The biggest challenge is to continue to wage war against the commoditization of our industry as a whole,” says McKay. “Encroachment will continue from cabling and electrical contractors as well as IT services providers. We must continue to differentiate ourselves and leverage our experience and expertise to create a compelling reason why clients should choose Genesis as a strategic business partner.”
Bruce Kaufmann, president and CEO of Human Circuit, says “our customers demand more authenticity” in their installations so the company’s sales/engineering approach to needs analysis and project programming “makes our project approach unique.”
Kaufmann sees “further commoditization of the market and lack of manufacturer innovation” as the most significant challenge.
Max Curry, owner of Infinity Sound, says his company is “now poised to grow rapidly on the substantial foundation we have created. We have been meticulous in developing our procedures from ordering to training the end user. We are already rapidly growing and taking on more projects than before. We felt that the foundation development that we have worked on is ready to support this type of growth. All the people are in place and very motivated to achieve this growth goal.”
Spinitar implemented a new ERP system a few years ago “that gives us the business intelligence and central portal to gather and share all information needed to simplify our employee experience while executing for our customers,” says principal Jeff Irvin.
The company also implemented self-directed work teams (made up of sales, PM, designer, associate designer, and project foreman) that are responsible for their own financials, while assuring an exceptional customer experience and implemented a LEAN team, now having two individuals that have gone through formal LEAN training, with the charge to ID opportunities to eliminate waste, redundancy, wait time, duplication of efforts, etc., making for a more efficient organization.
Westbury National “focuses on larger and more complex projects, requiring our advanced engineering, programming and project-execution experience and expertise,” says sales manager Brock McGinnis.
“We’re the first choice of facility operators (including sports, entertainment, gaming and corporate customers) whose businesses rely heavily on the reliability and performance of the systems we provide. Our focus is meticulous engineering and quality execution.”
More than 50 percent of 2015 CI Integrator of the Year Yorktel’s global revenue is derived from recurring managed services contracts, says marketing manager Michael Beaudoin. The company is proud of its “strength in enabling Fortune 1000 and federal government clientele leverage unified, video communications to collaborate seamlessly and without complexity-derived hiccups.”
“Enterprise customers need a partner that understands both their unique situation, as well as the bigger picture perspective of moving to the cloud,” says Beaudoin.
“Among the prevalent concerns our sales team hears from executive management is the need for assurance that their internal IT teams are approaching collaboration properly. They need to know their communications tools are reliable, scalable, and secure, as well as assurances that it solves use cases specific to their workforce. Application development, coupled with vertical market integration into UCC platforms has allowed Yorktel to not only extend its footprint into vertical markets, but to also establish a leadership position.”
“Interoperability and QoS have become significant hurdles for enterprises that must now adapt business practices to employees connecting from myriad devices, on various operating systems in settings not always conducive to secure communications,” says Beaudoin.
“In-house IT has neither the time nor the specific video skillset to stay current with new technologies, whereas Yorktel has more than 30 years’ experience making video work for customers, and is on the forefront of next-generation communications.
“What other service providers view as challenges, we view as opportunities,” says Beaudoin.
Check out the complete report: Meet the 2016 CI Industry Leaders
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