CSIA adding technical section to registration process for integrators

New Orleans, LA—The Control and Information System Integrators Association (CSIA, Exton, PA) reported during its 2003 Executive Conference, May 8-10, that it is adding a technical management section to its Best Practices and Benchmarks Guidelines for registering system integrators (SIs).


New Orleans, LA— The Control and Information System Integrators Association (CSIA, Exton, PA) reported during its 2003 Executive Conference, May 8-10, that it's adding a technical management section to its Best Practices and Benchmarks Guidelines for registering system integrators (SIs). Developed during the past year by CSIA's best practices and benchmarks subcommittee, this technical section will ask integrators seeking registration to examine how they come up with technical solutions for their clients, and require them to make sure they have the capabilities, management and infrastructure needed to successfully implement those solutions.

"The registration process for system integrators previously focused on the business side, but now we're asking people to concentrate on their technical solutions process," says Don Roberts, of Exotek, who is a subcommittee member and a CSIA-designated auditor. "We aren't telling people how to solve technical problems. We just want to make sure they look at how they're coming up with those technical solutions, and that they adequately understand and address how they coming up with solutions."

Potential registrants will be asked to evaluate their operations in light of seven areas in the new technical management section:

  • Technical infrastructure-Does your technical infrastructure facilitate delivery of cost-effective services?

  • Project process-How does your project process ensure consistent, on-time, on-budget deliverables that meet clients' expectations?

  • Testing-Do you have a panel acceptance standards, such as FAT and SAT, and do you conduct tests and document results?

  • Configuration management-How do you determine the amount and level of configuration management (CM) needed by a client, its application, and the industries it serves? Also, do you have a culture that encourages CM and do you have ingoing management support?

  • Reuse management-Are you able to use previously developed component frameworks? Do you have standards for them? And do you have a library of standard components?

  • Technical training-Do you have a technical training program, including documentation and record keeping, and does that program address both the hard and soft skills required of technical professionals?

  • Client information assessment-Do you conduct business-level planning with your customers, including business goals, as well as technical architecture requirements?

While some parts of the technical management section are new, others are pulled from elsewhere in CSIA's overall registration guidelines. For example, the project management chapter is now part of the new technical management section. The subcommittee reports that these edited and revised guidelines are clearer and designed to remove ambiguity. For instance, some duplicate information was consolidated into its proper sections, and some redundant questions were removed.

The new technical management section will be released at the end of May 2003, and will go into effect at the end of June 2003. Once this happens, it will become part of the evaluation process that every system integrator seeking CSIA registration must successfully complete. Already-registered integrators must also undergo this process every three years.

Integrators presently scheduled for a registration evaluation will have the choice of being audited as scheduled using the old criteria, or having their evaluation postponed for up to a year, so they can prepare, make corrections, and run self-audits to meet the new requirements. CSIA wants to every system integrator member to achieve registration by the time that they've been members for three years, which means that all current members will have to be registered by 2006.

Since starting its registration program in 2000, CSIA has registered almost 40 members, and 40 more are awaiting registration audits. In fact, CSIA also announced May 5 and at its executive conference that 10 integrators recently achieved registered status, bringing its total to 38 official registrants. These 10 new registrants are:

  • Ai Control Systems Inc. (Reading, PA);

  • Cal-Bay Systems Inc. (San Rafael, CA);

  • Controls Link, Inc. (Sewickley, PA);

  • Frakes Engineering Inc. (Indianapolis, IN);

  • Frank Electric Corporation Inc. (York, PA);

  • Interstates Control Systems Inc. (Sioux Center, IA);

  • Kim Controls of Texas Inc. (Austin, TX);

  • Patti Engineering, Inc. (Auburn Hills, MI);

  • RBB Systems, Inc. (Shreve, OH); and

  • Stone Technologies Inc. (St. Louis, MO).

Each of these new registrants, not to mention CSIA's other registered members, passed an intense audit process that measured their performance against benchmarking criteria in six business areas: general management; human resources, project management; quality management; financial management, and business development. The criteria for the registered member program was developed in concurrence with Fortune 500 companies and others that use control and information system integrators' services, control manufacturers that often team with these firms, and CSIA's members.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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