We all know that in life there are some things that are trends and some things that are fads.
Now when a fad hits it big time, it becomes a trend, but deep down we all kind of recognize when a trend comes that is going to go away just as fast, right?
French rolled jeans, neon clothes and shaved heads come to mind as a few fads that have come, gone, returned and if we are lucky will go away once and for all. (Editor’s note: Daniel L. Newman has a shaved head.)
On the other hand, not all trends are created equal — some are here to stay and they are the kinds of trends that uproot the way things have always been done.
After all, they say the most dangerous expression in business is “We do things a certain way because that is how they have always been done.” Over the past five years there have probably been more significant changes to the way integrators do business than ever before.
From tight credit markets to eroding margins and rapidly proliferating technology, in short, trying to thrive has been tough to say the least. However, chances are if you are reading this you have survived and maybe even grown despite one hurdle after another, and that is something to celebrate for a moment.
Having said that, resting on your laurels isn’t what got you through the last several years and it won’t get you through the next several. As the trends drive change it is easy to say “Not this time” and stay the course, but changes in technology and business cannot and should not be resisted. You would have to be crazy to resist.
Truth is things like IT convergence, better-informed consumers and consumerization are here to stay. As integrators it is your responsibility to stay with the trends and use them to drive new solutions. So here is what to do.
IT Convergence: Perhaps the longest running theme in the industry, the migration from IT to AV is truly here. Not just because the devices ride on the net-work but because the solutions are being controlled by the IT department.
Companies need to forge the right partnerships with IT-savvy organizations and/or make the right hires of network talent to support this quickly evolving trend. One thing is for sure, it is never going back to the way it was no matter how much you may want it to.
Better-Informed Consumers: AV integrators have long made their hay by being the trusted advisor.
This can still be the case, but customers are flocking to the Internet to research and gather information about their business needs. Companies that are supporting the buyer’s journey both in 3D and in the virtual worlds with content and social media will be the winners of not only the ￼￼￼￼day, but of the future.
Consumerization: B2B no longer drives the technology of the day, our kids do. Well maybe not our kids, but for the most part the high-tech gadgets we will see in the office tomorrow have been in our pocket or brief cases for a year or two.
This means mobility and BYOD for instance are going to be mainstays of the future of integration, and if you are in this business you should be productizing around this trend.
One thing is for sure; resistance is futile, so buck up and embrace the trends. Unless of course you want to set them and in that case, you may just drive the tech enhanced environments of the future.