Over the next few months, we’ll take an inside look at how the NSCA 2020 Excellence in Business award winners have adapted to our constantly changing industry. For its commitment to seizing new growth opportunities, Constant Technologies Inc. was named an NSCA 2020 Excellence in Business award winner in the Strategic Transformation category.
Constant Technologies Inc.’s business transformation story is unique, in part, because it didn’t pursue a shift in strategy. Instead, customers dictated that the North Kingstown, RI-based integration company broaden its focus. Then the company demonstrated the nimbleness necessary to open up new markets and transform its business.
As a result, Constant Technologies earned a 2020 Excellence in Business (EIB) award in the Strategic Transformation category.
Constant Technologies has long been an extremely focused integration firm, having carved its niche providing mission-critical, 24/7 operations centers. The core of its business is built on being able to understand customers’ mission-critical AV needs – and designing solutions and providing on-going support.
The company’s philosophy is focus on its highly specific area of expertise and grow with the industry, according to Sales and Marketing Associate Kelly Okerson. That philosophy has been challenged in recent years as the mission-critical world rapidly develops. It’s not that customer demand for mission-critical solutions is diminishing; in fact, it’s diversifying across vertical markets and showing up in new industries.
In other words, it’s the definition of “mission critical” that’s expanding. It often conjures up images of a room like NASA mission control, where rows of technicians view data on a large monitor wall. “That remains a good example of an operations center, but many other types have developed in recent years,” Okerson says.
“An operations center serves as the ‘nerve center’ of an organization, providing unified oversight and control of its most important functions. A wide range of applications include cybersecurity operations, network operations, and physical security operations. In recent years, our project portfolio has expanded to include marketing hubs, fleet operations centers, and hospital control rooms, among others.”
Constant Technologies has been able to apply its mission-critical focus to new markets and customers. “We’ve been successful in taking what people thought of as mission critical – like NASA and government installations – and pivoting [toward] what every corporation deems as mission critical now,” said Constant Technologies president Brad Righi during a panel discussion with EIB winners at the 22nd annual Business & Leadership Conference.
“Some of the centers we build today are very different [from] what you would think of five or six years ago,” he says. “We’ve been able to pivot into other verticals. The market has just exploded in terms of what every company deems as mission critical.”
Nimbleness Becomes Mission Critical
Providing mission-critical AV in a NASA-like environment vs. a company’s social media and digital marketing command center (an example of a new market for Constant Technologies, according to Righi) is not an apples-to-apples comparison. The integration firm had to make strategic adjustments to serve its evolving client base.
“We have had to adapt to learn about these new applications and discover how different industries approach their mission-critical spaces in diverse ways,” Okerson says.
Many aspects of mission-critical integration, however, remain the same. “Regardless of industry vertical, technology offerings in these environments must be held to a higher standard as they need to withstand constant use 24/7/365,” she says. “While our market’s growth has provided new challenges, we’ve risen to the challenge with a strategy of focusing on the quality of products we use in our customized solutions. As an integrator, we remain brand agnostic and our focus is always on the client and the needs of their specific space. More than anything, we are committed to providing the best possible products for their applications.”
Still, Constant Technologies found itself serving clients that fell outside its traditional comfort zone — with different vertical markets, types of customer contacts, timeline expectations, and measures of project success. The Strategic Transformation category winner took a subtle but significant step that positioned it to succeed with its myriad customers. “One of the things we did — which is very atypical of the industry, but very strategic — is eliminate territories,” Righi says.
That’s partly because Constant Technologies saw demand for new types of mission-critical solutions from its existing customer based. “We really wanted to go wide and deep within our existing client base,” Righi says.
“It’s extremely difficult to acquire clients. [Among existing clients], we noticed that there were regional sites that had been built all over the country and all over the world. [We wanted to continue] the relationships we had with a consistent sales and management team, and it really resonated with our clients. From a strategic standpoint, it was invaluable for us. It allowed us to open the doors to go extremely deep within one organization, and now it’s opening up other verticals for us. We’re being asked to do projects that we otherwise would not have.”
Ultimately, Constant Technologies transformed its business not just by diversifying its customer base, but also by being nimble enough to apply its time-tested approach to new applications without disrupting its successful business model.
Learn More: 2020 Excellence in Business Award Winners
Check back as we continue to reveal how the 2020 NSCA Excellence in Business award winners made business changes to adapt to our constantly changing industry. You’ll also read stories from: