Sage Conversations: The Best vs. the Worst Integrators?

April 20, 2012
Just what makes a good versus a bad integrator?

Recently The Sage Group interviewed a number of technology vendors. Here are the questions and the results of our survey:

Question #1: What are the key attributes of the best integrators?

  1. Leadership
  2. Innovation
  3. Discipline

Summary: The best integrators must be able to lead their company to be able to 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. So the technology vendors want to see investment in hiring next-generation competencies in the areas of business process, risk/compliance and IT and security technology. These should be supported by certifications and client-side experience. If this is accomplished, then 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 roadmap for the long term)
  2. No Value Proposition (No meaningful understanding of the value)
  3. Product vs. Solution Orientation (Selling their clients backward)

Summary: It is tough for integrators to be asked to have the long-term interests of their clients in mind when they feel that their clients are not 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 response. As well, without investing in an understanding of tomorrow’s technology architecture, they are unable to provide a roadmap for the client. And, finally, without a roadmap, there is no meaningful discussion around strategy and value.

Question #3: What percentage of integrators fall into the best and worst category?

Interesting enough, 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.