Do integrators really provide added value?

In "My Fair Lady" when Eliza Doolittle sang, "Words, words, words! I'm so sick of words,"* she was referring to their pronunciation rather than their actual meanings. But when it comes to "added value," I would venture a guess that most end-users, unlike Eliza, can pronounce it; they just don't understand what that cliché really means or includes.


In "My Fair Lady" when Eliza Doolittle sang, "Words, words, words! I'm so sick of words,"* she was referring to their pronunciation rather than their actual meanings. But when it comes to "added value," I would venture a guess that most end-users, unlike Eliza, can pronounce it; they just don't understand what that cliche really means or includes.

"Added value" has become a catchall phrase, tacked on to most sales presentations, intended to convince purchasers that one's product and/or services will provide them with more benefits than those of the competition.

At a recent conference, a consultant in the distributor/rep field mentioned an in-depth survey his firm conducted with users to identify and rank the various services they would classify as providing real "extra value." Number one on the list turned out to be, "A person with whom I can have a meaningful relationship."

Wow! What an answer. It's not price, availability, reliability, on-time delivery or extra features, but rather the trust one has in the people with whom he or she deals.

This fits right in with what we are hearing at every industry conference regarding the factors that contribute most to the successful operation of any automation system. It's not leading-edge hardware or the latest and greatest software, but the support of motivated, dedicated, trained operating personnel.

Best practice and benchmarks

How can a control system integrator firm meet these "value added" criteria and turn its technical solution provider personnel into people whom clients will be able to trust and relate to?

Control And Information System Integrators Association (CSIA) believes that its "Best Practices & Benchmarks" process goes a long way toward providing just such guidelines for creating and enriching this type of behavior in its members' staff. These benchmarks enable CSIA members to raise the bar in seven business management disciplines: general management, financial management, quality management, project management, technical management, human resources, and business development. CSIA stresses that being a good system integrator goes hand in hand with operating a good business.

Then, to ensure compliance, the CSIA Registration Program independently audits members on more than 200 business performance criteria. The result: CSIA members' clients can be assured, when partnering with a CSIA Registered Member , that they will get the level of quality, performance, and long-term support they expect.

The bottom line is that personnel in a CSIA Registered Member firm know and respect the performance standards that their company expects and demands from its people. They believe that clients can trust and count on them and their associates for an excellent performance.

With an attitude such as this, CSIA is confident that its Registered Members can and do provide "added value" to clients.

For more information on the CSIA Registered Member program, see or contact Norm O'Leary at .

*courtesy Alan Jay Lerner

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