CSIA offers training for Registered Member audits

Since the executive directors of the Control and Information System Integrator Association (CSIA) recommended in 2002 that all of its members must become Registered Members within three years of joining, several major fallout effects have occurred, according to Norm O’Leary, CSIA’s executive director.


Since the executive directors of the Control and Information System Integrator Association (CSIA) recommended in 2002 that all of its members must become Registered Members within three years of joining, several major fallout effects have occurred, according to Norm O’Leary, CSIA’s executive director. For instance, some of CSIA’s larger Associate Members, such as National Instruments, Schneider Electric, Rockwell Automation, Siemens, and GE Fanuc Automation, have either mandated or strongly recommended that their premium CSI's become Registered Members of CSIA. In addition, in the past two years, CSIA has 85 new members, which joined specifically to become a part of the elite Registered Member classification.

“A spinoff benefit is the positive feedback we’ve received from members as to their overall improvements in business effectiveness as a result of taking the audit,” says O’Leary. “Visitors can see the Registered Membership brochure in the members' only section of our Website for eight statements from very pleased members.”

Despite these benefits, O’Leary adds that taking the audit requires a fair amount of preparation by many applicant-company employees. Someone has to be appointed to direct these efforts to ensure that all specified audited items are ready for review. CSIA receives many requests from members stating that they just don't know how to go about doing this, nor do they have the time and personnel to spend on this effort, and some want recommendations on an outside consultant to help them.

Since the required audited information is internal to each company, an outside coordinator usually isn’t a very effective solution. Consequently, CSIA previously approached its own auditor, Exotek, and asked if it could conduct a training session for companies preparing for the audit. “We were impressed with their response, and highly recommend that firms consider sending their audit leaders, and perhaps other key personnel to the training session,” says O’Leary. “To minimize your expense, CSIA is underwriting the material development costs of this program, and will set up regional seminars at central locations for our members. The first of these sessions will be scheduled in Chicago in late February 2005.”

The two-day “CSIA Registration Audit Preparation Course” will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on its scheduled days. Materials include the CSIA Registration Workbook with presentations and samples. This course will give the system integrator a review of the systems, policies, and procedures necessary to successfully pass a CSIA Registration Audit. The intent of the class is to prepare the internal champion with a clear understanding of requirements and advise on how to prepare for the audit. The same people that perform the audits will present course material. Content will be based on experiences gained by the auditors, and will include examples and templates where appropriate. Material covered will only be those sections of the CSIA Best Practices & Benchmarks Guidelines Rev (02) addressed in the audit.

Specifically, the course will cover an overview of the CSIA Registration Program; interpretation of scoring parameters; each audit criteria in detail; samples and examples of best practices; who should be on the audit preparation team; how to develop a registration preparation schedule; how to conduct an internal audit; and where to go for help.

As a result of taking the course, attendees will be able to: understand the intent of the registration program; appreciate the effort required to prepare for an audit; compare current level of preparedness with what will be required; interpret the CSIA Best Practices & Benchmarks Guidelines as they were intended and will be interpreted by the auditor; determine what steps a company will need to take; develop a schedule to prepare for the audit; modify samples provided to suit your company; appreciate the industry benchmarks a firm will be compared against; and gain exposure to what other companies have done.

O’Leary says that anyone interested in sending attendees to the February 2005 training session should contact him. For more information and contact data, visit the CSIA Web site .

—Jim Montague, news editor, Control Engineering, jmontague@reedbusiness.com

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