Using the Control Engineering Global System Integrator Database

When a manufacturing company or other customer buys sophisticated automation technologies, the success of the implementation and the ultimate value depends on the technical talent and delivery skills of the system integrators who implement the solution. Use the Control Engineering Global System Integrator Database to find the best system integrator for the solution.

04/01/2015


As systems become more complex and require integration with other systems, the impact of finding the right system integrator is greater. In general, depending on the application, the complexity of integrating programmable logic controllers / human-machineWhen a manufacturing company or other end user buys sophisticated automation technologies, products, and software, the technology sale is only the beginning of the process. The success of the implementation and the ultimate value delivered to the customer depends on the technical talent and delivery skills of the system integrators who implement the solution.

Selection of the right system integrator is critical

Choosing the right system integrator (SI) for a complex automation solution increases the opportunity for a successful technology implementation. Finding the right SI firm with the appropriate experiences is an essential step in obtaining the desired results. After identifying specific requirements criteria, the system integrator selection process can begin. 

Optimal system integrator profile

Based on discussions with multiple end users and SIs, below are several critical questions that a potential client should ask during the selection process:

  • What is the SI's profile (location, size, years in business)?
  • Is the company skilled in the application of target technologies? n Are staff members experienced, trained, or certified in using the desired technologies?
  • Does the SI or its employees have project management or other core technology certifications?
  • How many solutions has the system integrator delivered using the targeted technologies?
  • What is the system integrator's vertical market experience?
  • Will the system integrator provide dedicated resources for the project?
  • Is the SI firm certified by any of your technology vendors, and does it have other industry certifications, such as Microsoft, ISO, Control System Integrators Association (CSIA)?
  • Will the SI provide post-project support?
  • Can the SI meet the time schedule and performance criteria?
  • What are the proposed commercial terms for the SI?

Vendor program membership

The top level of a listing in the Global System Integrator Database readily shows contact, location, awards and certifications, key statistics, and other information. Courtesy: JS Kiser Consulting, CFE MediaMany clients prefer to work with certified system integrators because they want to reduce project risk. More importantly, they want to avoid situations where a SI is "learning on the job" at the customer's expense. Clients also want to ensure that automation solutions work once they're deployed and get finished on time. SIs involved in a vendor's product and technology certification program makes this much more likely.

Leading automation vendors recognize that their market success and brand reputation depends on the availability of a capable body of system integrators that have invested in staff training and have proven their abilities to deliver successful projects with the vendors' technologies.

Anyone searching for the right SI should understand the selected technology vendor's system integrator program to determine if a potential system integrator partner has achieved recognition within the program. Several automation vendors have multi-tiered SI programs that recognize SI capabilities with their tools. Examples are Rockwell Automation Recognized System Integrator, Siemens Product Specialists, and Schneider Electric's Endorsed System Integrators Certified Alliance Partners, to name a few.

How to locate an SI partner and determine if it fits the needed profile

To find an integrator with the optimal profile, online directories are available. The Control Engineering Global System Integrator Database can be searched by system integrator name, industries served, engineering specialties, vendor experience or affiliations, professional affiliations, annual revenue, and/or location.

To get the most out of the Global System Integrator Database, visit www.controleng.com/global-si-database and select an SI. When evaluating SI listings, note the key areas below in this sample listing.

Industries served

This selection allows system integrators to identify the primary industries they serve. Also, they may list any reference projects they have delivered in North America or worldwide outside of North America. 

Industries served: This selection allows system integrators to identify the primary industries they serve. Also, they may list any reference projects they have delivered in North America or worldwide outside of North America. Courtesy: CFE Media

Engineering specialties

SIs deliver solutions using a wide range of technologies that require a variety of engineering skill sets. The directory allows the system integrator to highlight key engineering specialties. 

Engineering specialties: SIs deliver solutions using a wide range of technologies that require a variety of engineering skill sets. The directory allows the system integrator to highlight key engineering specialties. Courtesy: CFE Media

Project profiles

This area allows system integrators to upload information about projects and solutions they have delivered. 

Project profiles: This area allows system integrators to upload information about projects and solutions they have delivered. Courtesy: CFE Media

Partnership programs

This area lists the vendor programs in which the SI is an active participant. 

Partnership programs: This area lists the vendor programs in which the SI is an active participant. Courtesy: CFE Media

Vendor experience

SIs work with a variety of vendor products and can affiliate with many technology vendors. Here the SIs may list the vendors and products they have worked with. 

Vendor experience: SIs work with a variety of vendor products and can affiliate with many technology vendors. Here the SIs may list the vendors and products they have worked with. Courtesy: CFE Media

Selecting a system integrator

After narrowing the selection to a small group of potential system integrator candidates and reviewing experience and capabilities, it is important to interview the candidates. The results of the interview and the responses of the systems integrators will aid in providing the necessary background to finalize a selection.

The Global System Integrator Database is part of CFE Media, along with Control Engineering and Plant Engineering, among other publications and products.

- Scott Kiser, principal, JS Kiser Consulting; edited by Mark T. Hoske, content manager, CFE Media, Control Engineering, mhoske@cfemedia.com.

Key concepts

  • System integrators help with efficient implementation of complex automation systems.
  • Multiple criteria can be used to narrow the pool of available system integrators.
  • An online database can help with the SI selection process.

Consider this

Control Engineering research shows that system integrators feel they can add more value to a project when consulted earlier in the project lifecycle.

www.controleng.com/CE-research

ONLINE extra

- Learn more about the Control Engineering Global System Integrator Database and the System Integrator Hall of Fame.

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