Business systems can bring a space to life.
That’s why systems integration is so important. And it’s why it’s so crucial to find the right systems integrator for your space. Admittedly, though, doing so can be difficult. Systems integration is a buzzword in itself. And while we’ve dealt with its definition before, the entire industry is packed with jargon and acronyms that make clarity difficult to find.
We’re here to help. If you’re searching for the right systems integrator, here’s what you should look for.
1. Find a systems integrator with expertise across a broad variety of systems.
This is where buzz can obscure reality: there are some systems installers who claim the label of “integrator” without the expertise that the title implies.
Often, these are the companies that are attempting to branch out from a particular line of service – say, surveillance camera installations – into full-on integration, but don’t yet have the capabilities to sufficiently do so.
They may have deep expertise in a particular type of system, but if they don’t have expertise across all building systems, they’ll be hard-pressed to manage integration well. Experience with surveillance systems, for example, doesn’t necessarily translate into the ability to integrate surveillance and VoIP. When these companies say they’ll integrate systems, they likely mean they’ll give set up their best shot – but they almost certainly don’t mean that both systems will play together in a way that brings new value to each.
Without sufficient capabilities, providers will only be able to offer lackluster (or, worse, frequently-breaking) results.
That’s not to say that a specialty in an area is always a drawback; most systems integrators evolved from single-system specialists, after all. And an area of specialty can be a strength in certain situations.
It is to say, though, that it’s worth digging into what a provider means when they say they can “integrate” your systems to see if they really have a breadth of expertise to draw from.
2. Find a systems integrator with expertise across a broad variety of brands.
Generally, it’s also wise to select a systems integrator with expertise across a variety of brands. There are a few reasons for this.
First, integration of systems generally requires knowledge of multiple software and hardware brands. There are a few branded solutions that seek to meet broad needs, but the reality of modern integration usually means that the best solutions are compiled from multiple parts. A systems integrator that works with a wide variety of brands is less likely to sell a specific solution at the expense of the best solution for you.
Second, a provider that works with a wide variety of brands will have greater expertise in servicing building components that might be tangentially related to the systems being worked on. If, for example, a building access control installation affects a previously-installed security camera system, an integrator that’s worked with a broad variety of brands will have a better chance of identifying and solving the issues that arise.
3. Find a systems integrator who will consult on your options.
If a systems integrator has a broad expertise in types and brands of systems, this point will logically follow: they will be able to offer valuable consulting into your system options.
Integrators limited by brand or system will only be able to offer limited solutions, and rarely will those solutions be the best fit for your space.
In systems integration, consulting is key to success. You want a systems integrator who can comprehensively review your systems infrastructure to understand your context, and then present a roadmap toward the best solution with multiple options based on your business’ needs.
You don’t want a systems integrator whose only option is to hand you a solution from the shelf.
4. Find a systems integrator with a portfolio you can trust.
How do you know if your systems integrator has expertise? Check their work.
It’s a fairly straightforward step, but it’s an important one. Ask your systems integrator what systems they’ve worked on that are similar to your own, and what contexts they’ve seen that might offer insight into yours.
If the comparisons are a stretch, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. If, though, the systems integrator has a portfolio that aligns with your business and needs, the chances are much higher that you’ve found a good fit.
5. Find a systems integrator who will take responsibility and get the job done right.
Last, but not least: find a systems integrator who will get the job done right.
Systems integration is a tricky business, because so many components are tied together that it can be difficult to determine causation when issues arise.
Some systems integrators take advantage of this fact. They’ll pass off blame for an issue to another provider (“Your phone systems would be working fine if your network installer had done their job; you’ll want to take it up with them.”).
Look for a systems integrator that seeks responsibility rather than running from it – a partner that will dig through the tangle of systems to find the cause of an issue, rather than sidestepping results with excuses.
Look for a partner that will make sure the job gets done right, no matter what. That’s how you’ll know you’ve found the right systems integrator.
Get the Best Systems Integration for Your Space with Medlin
There are a lot of systems that go into making a building work, but if you choose the right systems integrator, you can make things simple.
We’re here to help. At Medlin, if there’s one thing our customers praise us for, it’s our ability to see a project through every last detail. We deliver on our promises, so that when we say it’s done, it is. And we’ll never bounce you through multiple providers or fail to get the job done right. We’re your one throat to choke. Even if you never have to.
Ready to stop worrying about choosing the right systems integrator? Get in touch with us online or at 1-800-4-MEDLIN.