Sage Conversations: The Best vs. the Worst Integrators?

Recently The Sage Group interviewed a number of technology vendors. Here’s what we asked and the results of our survey:

Question 1: What are the three key attributes of the best integrators? 1. Leadership 2. Innovation 3. Discipline

Summary: The best integrators must be leaders to effectively advise their clients. That means investing in the future. If you manage your people and your clients by resting on what has been successful in the past you will never be great. The technology vendors want to see investment in hiring next-generation competencies in business process, risk/compliance and IT and security technology. These should be supported by certifications and client-side experience. Once accomplished, they can address both the cost/efficiency and innovation side of any market vertical.

Question 2: What are the three most common mistakes you see in the worst integrators? 1. Project Centric (No long-term roadmap) 2. No Value Proposition 3. Product vs. Solution Orientation

Summary: It is tough for integrators to be asked to have the long-term interests of their clients in mind when they feel they aren’t interested in hearing it. However, by not finding a way out of this problem, integrators will fall into what one vendor called “Selling their clients backward.” That is, if clients are only focused on the lowest price, then yesterday’s technology becomes today’s Request for Proposal. Without investing in an understanding of tomorrow’s technology architecture, they are unable to provide a roadmap. Without a roadmap, there is no strategy or value to the client.

Question 3: Where are most integrators categorized?

Summary: Most integrators fall in the middle, posing a problem for the technology vendors who must find a way to distinguish their offerings through “average” solution providers.



Ron Worman is the founder and managing director of The Sage Group.