CSIA Partner Members Speak Out on the Value of Certification
At the end of the day, both system integrators and CSIA Partner Members (vendors) want nothing more than for their customers to be satisfied. They strive to provide sound solutions through their quality products and services, and they work hard to maintain a positive image in the eyes of their customers so those customers keep coming back.
It’s no wonder then that many vendors are quite particular about the system integrators they work with to carry out their automation system projects. “It’s really about reducing risk,” said Mark Moriarty, manager of system integrator/solution provider programs at Rockwell Automation. “It’s extremely important that the system integrators we’re working with don’t misrepresent or misuse our products or technologies in any way.”
What can vendors do to ensure that their technology is represented properly? Many say they have aligned themselves with CSIA-certified system integrators. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms is one such vendor.
“The CSIA certification process documents operational elements such as configuration management and quality as well as root business processes that are the foundation of long-term company viability. GE Fanuc appreciates CSIA certification as substantive documentation that an integrator can effectively deliver today and, more importantly, will continue to deliver sustainable contributions to our mutual end-clients well into the future,” said Glenn Graney, global leader, solution provider programs at GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms.
Moriarty continued, “We can do all sorts of things to make sure integrators are technically capable with our products, but CSIA certification gives us common standards under which successful integrators work.
“We know certification drives customer satisfaction. Certified integrators have better business, financial and general management systems; and they use proven project methodology,” Moriarty said.
For a business to become certified, all aspects of its operations are thoroughly reviewed by an independent auditor. The audit includes more than 76 criteria covering all aspects of business performance, including general management, strategic planning, human resources, project management and methodologies, project development life cycles, technical management and infrastructure support activities, quality assurance processes, finance, and business development. Vendors know that when they’re working with a CSIA-certified integrator, the CSIA Best Practices are being followed and the Benchmarks are being met.
Roger Manus, industry business value chain segment manager at Schneider Electric had this to say about CSIA membership and certification: “It is very important for us to align ourselves and our end-user customers with best-in-class partners to fulfill their total solution needs. Therefore, when we are choosing our partners in the marketplace, we must make absolutely sure that they reflect the professionalism, talent, and business capability that our customers need.
“If those partners are carrying the banner of CSIA membership and particularly CSIA certification, we feel very confident that those partners can successfully fulfill our goals and ultimately provide an industry-best solution to our customer base. CSIA certification specifically carries a greater dimension of assurance that our partner integrator will enhance the customer’s experience.”
It’s crucial to vendors that their integrator partners are in it for the long-haul. The vendors trust the system integrators with their reputation, so they need to feel confident and secure with how they’re represented.
Certification provides that level of trust because vendors know that certified integrators have processes at-the-ready to handle escalation of issues. They have testing and quality-control procedures in place. Their business is viable. They’re going to be there if there’s a problem, and they’re going to represent the vendor’s products and technologies well.
Graney puts it this way: “The success of the end-user is based not only on the technical competency of the integrator, but also on their ability to support the entire life cycle of the implementation. CSIA certification is clearly a reflection of that greater ability to be a sustained partner for the complete process.”
Standards today are high at every level. Vendors must be able to count on their integrator partners to successfully deliver their technology from start to finish. Certification is the key to making sure the job is done right. Rockwell’s Moriarty can vouch for that: “Our experience has been that we get called in to solve problems far less when a certified integrator is engaged than when one is not. We greatly reduce our risk by using a CSIA-certified integrator.”