What Does CSIA Stand For?

Control and information system integration is big business ... and getting bigger every year, today representing close to $20 billion in engineering services and related hardware and software revenues worldwide. With the forecasted and hopeful ending of worldwide economic stagnation, it should resume an estimated growth rate of 10% a year.

By Norm O'Leary, Control and Information System Integrators Association December 15, 2003

Control and information system integration is big business … and getting bigger every year, today representing close to $20 billion in engineering services and related hardware and software revenues worldwide. With the forecasted and hopeful ending of worldwide economic stagnation, it should resume an estimated growth rate of 10% a year.

Continued downsizing of plant engineering staffs, ever-changing technology, increasingly sophisticated projects, and explosive need for real-time data acquisition fuel this business market. It is certainly helped by users’ showing growing confidence and comfort in the outsourcing of control system and information integration assignments.

As this CSIA function becomes better understood and more visible, the importance of clearly defining, delineating, and delimiting the role of the pure-play integrator becomes paramount. This becomes even more important as industrial automation hardware and software suppliers, re-sellers, distributors, and others blur the line between themselves and dedicated control and information system integrators.

Validating, improving skills

CSIA, as the premier organization dedicated to the professional control and information system integrator, is addressing this challenge by validating the role of system integrators, while confirming their use by the end-user community. In its second decade of serving as the beacon of good business practices, CSIA recognizes that user companies rely on their members to translate the promise of technology into performance on the manufacturing plant floor.

Since its founding in 1994, CSIA has maintained a laser-like focus on its primary mission—to improve the business skills of its member companies and their executive management. We support a belief that being a good system integrator goes hand in hand with operating a good business. CSIA introduced its Best Practices and Benchmarks process in 1997, and in 2001 established the heralded Registered Member program. End users, automation product manufacturers, professional associations, and the major control and information media have recognized this program.

CSIA members aspiring to become “registered” are audited by an independent third-party consulting firm in seven critical areas: General Management, Quality Management, Project Management, Technical Management, Financial Management, Human Resources, and Business Development. The Registered Member program has two objectives:

  • Simplify for end users the daunting task of identifying, interviewing, qualifying, evaluating, selecting, and managing control and information system integration firms.

  • Provide control and information system integrators a means to evaluate and continuously improve their business.

The acclaim, wide recognition, and acceptance of this program, along with its touted operational benefits for our members, have resulted in a decision requiring all members to become “registered” within three years of joining CSIA. Plus, to ensure the ongoing quality of their management skills and business operations, all members will be re-audited every three years.

So just what does CSIA stands for? Simply put, it’s a symbol for use in selecting a control and information system integrator with confidence and assurance of choosing from among the best.

Author Information
Norm O’Leary is the executive director of the Control and Information System Integrators Association (CSIA, execdir@controlsys.org .