Many of you have heard me say that if you want to own the account, you need to own the network. I’ve also said the person who manages the network, the bandwidth and the access to either, will own that customer. I’ve stated that systems operating on a proprietary network will soon become less desirable to the building owners. I’m on record as stating that once interoperability standards become common, we will see dramatic shifts in pricing models and margins. See where I’m headed?
Fast forward to now and think about what I’ve said. Our members come to me concerned that they will lose the sole source provider status with their customers if systems migrate over to an enterprise level network. Most of our members don’t control the enterprise network like they did the independent cabling in a stand-alone system. And, if various brands of products can interoperate with one another, will their competitive edge be lost? Will the CIO in a company value the relationship with a systems integrator as much as the facility manger once did?
Do NSCA members have a real concern here? Sure they do. Is this the end of the preferred vendor status, the exclusive provider of the system, the loyal customer? Absolutely not. However, we have to come at this from a whole new perspective and at a much higher level that satisfies the needs of the CIO. We all need to sharpen our service-oriented business model and value-added sales strategy.
In reality you’ve never owned a customer – nor did you own the account based on the product you offered. You earned that business based on your expertise, your people, your level of service, and your response time and so on. It just made life a whole lot easier when you knew they would have to go through major expense to find a suitable replacement for what you do.
It’s still true and always will be – relationships and service drives customer loyalty. Now you have to earn your way on to the network, earn your way to managing the systems on that network, earn the right to help manage other applications and traffic on the network as you re-establish control of the account. You simply have to earn their trust in your company as a qualified and reliable network-savvy systems integrator if you want to play in that space. If you need help planning for this, we have the answers. — CW