EGSI: Executives Tell All

1. If you could share one "best practice" on working with your systems integrator, what would it be? Regular and constant communication - need regulare status updates to insure that any challenges/issues are addressed in a timely manner...

Lack of good follow up – and knowledge of our companies practices and policies when it comes to system configuration, etc.

The main challenge that I face when dealing with systems integrator is communication.  Having offices across the nation and coordinating with different employees within the same integrator company creates an opportunity for a large variation in customer satisfaction.  However I really feel this could be avoided if every entity on the project is communicates their expectations, understanding, and level of knowledge up front.


Ensuring that the vision, goals and strategy are aligned and defined enough to provide the integrator with the best picture of the end result.  Effective definition of scope is critical to help get a system that meets your organization’s needs.  Without it, the solution may look good, but doesn’t fit down the road.


­­ Ensuring they can keep the bog picture in mind. Sometime there is a tendency to get "in the weeds" when a 30,000 ft. view is needed.

Overcoming the initial trust barrier is always a challenge. Some customers are more familier with the product lines available - we know what works for our environment. Get to know your customer and their business and look to provide value-based solutions.


Integrators delivering what was promised on time.

This would be my number one issue with IT personnel. I have worked with some that failed to possess people skills, they were so IT minded that they could not interact with others and when asked a question would get annoyed and if the person did not understand the answer or needed further clarification about IT processes they would express their displeasure or pass the person off to someone else for an answer to the question.

A lack of proactive insight based on data that should be captured through a formal review process; i.e., Lessons Learned, Root Cause Analysis, After Action Review or similar.


Trust. If you ever loose trust, you're done. Transitioning integrators is complicated and time consuming. If all your eggs are in one basket (you have a sole source integrator) and you have to make a change, you're in for stormy seas. If you have to make a change uregently or unexpedly, you might find yourself in the eye of a hurricane. It is vital that you manage expectations and you trust but constantly verify.

Being able to meet expectations in regards to proposal delivery, system problem shooting and Performing root cause analysis of issues, and meeting schedule requirements. Be wary of companies that throw out proposals and follow up with change orders. The integrator needs to communicate in a timely manner. Too often a replay or response takes much longer than necessary. Some do not listen and go on their own path, where profit margins are greater. We have specified equipment down to the minor peripheral and do not want any substitution.


3. What do you see as the prime benefit of working with a systems integrator?

In theory the integrator has subject matter expertise with the product.


Having an advocate on your side when working with vendors for the multiple technologies you are deploying.


A partnered approach for a sound business delivery model for pricing, standards, consistency, and performance.


They have the overall and technical knowledge to ensure we are using the best technology available and that it is in line with our growth strategy for the 3-5 years ahead of us.


Utilizing a system integrator versus the alternative is level of understanding.  When not using a system integrator, installations take longer, cost more, and create unnecessary turbulences in relationships.  More often than not, the choice to utilize a true system integrator is usually after a failed project.  This is not the ideal time to get a system integrator on board.


The ability to tap into and utilize specific technical systems expertise.  An effective systems integrator can bring a valuable part of the answer to the table.  An effective integrator will be able to bring their skills to the table to help define the solution that best fits your organization.


The prime benefit of using the RIGHT integrator is their access to many vendors. Have a key point of interface relieves a lot of burden from the CSO.

Once established, the relationship is hugely beneficial for the customer. To me the prime benefit is having a trusted resource to rely on for their subject matter expertise and qualified personnel. They add flexibility and capability to any security services organization.