Top 10 Higher Education Market Integrators of 2015

These innovative, market-leading firms offer advice on how to stay at the forefront of this sophisticated vertical.>

Jessica Kennedy

Welcome to the fourth annual celebration of some of this industry’s brightest companies, a collection of talent we refer to as the 2015 CI Industry Leaders.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 higher education market integrators, asked them to share a few secrets of their success and looked at how they’ve made it to the top of the industry (though keep in mind these listings are not revenue-based).

So check out what they have to say and click here to download the complete report: Meet the 2015 CI Industry Leaders.

What kind of project management can higher education customers expect from a great integrator?

“Customers are looking for enterprise solutions that include standardized designs with remote monitoring and control capabilities. Clients are also looking for simplicity in operation and BYOD connectivity capabilities. An integral part of this overall project lifecycle is a departure from the industry norm approach to project management.

“We define our project management practice as a core competency that brings value to both our internal operations and our clients through proper project execution and focus on scheduling, communications and other business (vs. technical) functions.” —Barry Goldin, president, Unified AV Systems

“Clients are looking for collaboration areas that extend beyond their current four walls. They want to be able to collaborate despite the geographic location of the participants and time zones. We understand how people work.” —John Mitton, VP of audio-visual group, Red Thread Spaces

“Education clients demand the ability to complete products on very tight timelines. We have a big and well-trained staff that puts the client first.” —Philip Muscatello, manager, Adtech Systems

What elements set your integration firm apart from other firms?

“We have developed a new project management (PM) office within the company. We have reengineered, documented and conducted company-wide training on PM best practices. This is an opportunity to improve our customer experience and our productivity.” —Tami Zeidlhack, marketing supervisor, Compview

“We are able to form mutually beneficial and non-threatening relationships with major IT firms. This has helped us with reach and relevancy within the market.” —Jay McArdle, CIO, Zdi, Inc.

“Our strongest market is with higher education. As a company that ‘grew up’ as a residential based business, we understand people. This gives us a huge advantage when selling the right solutions and dealing with fellow human beings.” —Heather Sidorowicz, owner and president, Southtown Audio Video

How do successful integration firms stay afloat in 2015?

“By staying focused on profitability. You need greater engagement and conversation surrounding the project selection. Encourage different departments to weigh in on opportunities as well as maintain a constant vigil on personnel resources.”
—John Greene, VP of sales and marketing, Advanced AV

What are some of the biggest opportunities to look forward to in 2015 and beyond?

“The biggest opportunity is meshing consumer world products such as Skype, Google Docs and mobile apps into professional AV systems. We need to stop worrying about selling high-end professional equipment when some of the consumer products are cost-effective.” —Bill McIntosh, President & CEO, Synergy Media Group

“Our biggest opportunities in 2015 are in standardizing solutions across large enterprise customers, especially at a global level. Cloud solutions are still very relevant and growing in interest, and we deliver many options through the industry market lead.”
—Doug Hall, CEO of Whitlock

“Our revenue was 160 percent above targets for the first quarter, so our biggest challenge is our biggest opportunity: growth. We are actively pursuing talent that complements the personality of our organization, but that also pushes us.” —Michael Shinn, director of operations, IMS Technology Services

Download the complete report: Meet the 2015 CI Industry Leaders.