I can’t even begin to say how great this year’s InfoComm was. After a couple of decades in the AV industry, you would think attending the same show every year would wear on you, but it actually invigorates me. When I see so many friends, colleagues and clients in one place I end up so excited and optimistic about the year ahead, and especially about the future of our industry.
This year at InfoComm 2015 we really set out to make a splash. We were pretty sure we’d hit a home run with the launch of our new Pocket Engineer solution, and guess what? We were right! Knowing the struggles of the AV integrator, I was certain they would be keen on the idea of a toolbox that would shorten the design cycle, and allow sales professionals to take opportunities further, before handing them off to the engineer.
Pocket Engineer was exactly the type of tool they wanted—and needed—to help scale business and provide relief to often-overworked engineering teams.
Heading home from the show we were certain sales of our new Pocket Engineer solution would accelerate. However, now that some time has passed and the dust has settled from the show, the adoption has been slower than expected. With so many business leaders clamoring for what we are doing—combined with a market that truly needs a new set of tools to speed up the sales and implementation process—we were sure we had it right. So what happened?
Change is hard and makes people uncomfortable.
Let’s face it, we’re all a little bit afraid of change. In a McKinsey & Company study, it was found that nearly 70 percent of all changes attempted in business fail. That’s a pretty high number. Of course, some of these failures can be attributed to the initial ideas and strategies, but I also feel pretty confident saying that a lot of these failures boil down to people who are simply averse to change.
That said, at a certain stage in your life, you come to the realization that if one thing is constant, it’s change. And as technology continues to advance at a rapid rate, it is going to become more and more important that organizations are able to “see around the bend,” so to speak, and are prepared to implement the business changes they need to succeed.
I came across a really great example of this the other day. We all talk about how cloud is going to be so important to our business. In fact, in a recent study by SAP, it was found that 85 percent of business leaders think cloud is critical to business transformation. However, only 36 percent of those same people polled have moved any portion of their business software solutions to the cloud. Another great illustration of “fear of change.”
I firmly believe that new models for AV integration are going to be needed in the near future. With technology moving faster and training continuing to be a challenge, integrators are going to have to look to new tools and technologies in order to stay ahead of the game.
The leaders of our organizations are going to have to carry the brunt of this evolution. All too often executives put tools and technology decisions into the hands of engineers, project managers and sales professionals. Sure, part of this is good delegation. You hired these folks for a reason and part of it is to make sure they are involved in the process, but remember; many times these are the folks that like doing things “the old way.”
As the visionaries of our organizations, we have to break down the silos between our sales and engineering department and the other areas of the corporation. Part of breaking down these silos means that we have to be prepared to challenge the business status quo in order to drive change and innovation. Adopting new processes and technologies that may be slightly uncomfortable at first but will in the long run save time and money, as well as improve operational efficiency just sound like a no-brainer to me.
There’s a great Internet meme I keep seeing that is perfect for what I’m talking about here:
The eight most dangerous words in business: “Because we have always done it that way.”
Let’s shake off those eight words. Let’s embrace optimism for the future, and be bold enough to try new tools that will help make our lives, and clients’ lives, a little better. I know deep down that conversations like this one, about new and improved ways of doing business, are going to lead to great things for so many of those partners and friends I have made over the years.
Until then, remember, change isn’t easy, but it is necessary and when you are ready, I’ll be there waiting to help.