Working on a facility project with a system integrator?
“Get started early,” says Shaun Dolan of Inrush Broadcast Services. “We’ve been able to help some broadcasters do some pretty interesting things, especially with software architectures, that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise, because we got the conversation started early.”
“Begin with the end in mind,” says Bo Hoover of Technical Services Group. “Do the engineering planning or drawings, even if it’s a well-developed napkin sketch, and work the project backwards. … Don’t get in too big a hurry, do the homework first.”
Include your staff in the planning phase. “Because they’re the ones that have to operate it and make it work,” says Greg Dahl of Second Opinion Communications. Make it difficult for users and your project could ultimately fail on that basis.
Also tell your integrator that you want to work out in advance how “change management” will work.
“What kinds of things might trigger a change in cost or change work?” says Erik Utter of Utter Associates. “When there is a design change, or a workflow change, or a construction delay, what happens? Have a documented change order process, so that everybody is on the same page and you can minimize surprises.”
Don’t pay an integrator for work that can be done more efficiently by a local resource. “In every market, there’s a company that pulls hundreds of thousands of feet of Cat-6 every month for every business in town,” says Ed Bukont of E2 Technical Services.
And keep an open mind. Remember there’s more than one right way to do things. Allow the integrator to give you the benefit of their deep experience.
“Just tell them what you want,” says Jim Hibbard of Pacific Mobile Recorders. “And then listen to what they have to say.”
You can read more on this topic in our ebook “The World of System Integrators.”