During the 23rd annual Business & Leadership Conference, NSCA’s 2021 agenda on behalf of our members is presented during the Annual Member Meeting. Each meeting attendee is provided with a letter outlining NSCA’s proposed priorities. Below is that letter.
Hello 2021 BLC Attendees and NSCA Members,
While 2020 was a chaotic and unpredictable year, NSCA was well-positioned to step up on your behalf. We stayed true to our mission: to serve as the voice of the systems integrator, your business resource, and your trusted advisor. By aligning with our vision and living our core values during the pandemic, NSCA was able to focus squarely on the survival and success of our members.
We expect the first half of 2021 to continue to have many uncertain elements and require everyone to step up in terms of leadership and business. NSCA – our staff, volunteers, and trusted partners – stand ready to address the most pressing issues you face daily. We’re taking this opportunity to make you aware of the valuable work going on at NSCA and, more importantly, how it will impact you.
First, however, we want to thank our valued members who regularly leverage NSCA for business resources, advice, data, news, analytics, and workflow tools. We are honored to help you manage issues that affect your organization and are proud to be your voice in matters that impact our industry.
This year is set to be momentous for our nation and the world. We are being bombarded with new regulations and compliance issues (to which many of our members have little or no visibility until they’re thrust upon them). Lawmakers are often convinced by adjacent industry factions to blindly craft new bills that directly impact our scope of work. Our credentials, skills, and training programs are often overlooked in favor of mandated regulatory capture efforts.
On a broader scale, vaccine distribution and containment of COVID-19 will determine much of what we can do and how our industry will rebound. In the United States, a new administration could likely impact our industry in regard to funding or defunding programs, new regulations, taxation, etc. We will remain diligent in providing you with crucial information regarding these matters as they relate to the integration business.
In these times of uncertainty, we recognize your need for clarity in navigating the complexities, realities, and new expectations of this rapidly changing world. NSCA is privileged to be the association you rely upon for direction and guidance. We are your voice, your business resource, and your trusted advisor.
In 2021, we are committed to enhancing and developing the best business climate possible for your company. Our mantra will be “to stay the course”: 2020 was our most successful year ever in driving positive changes that benefit our members.
This year, we’re focused on these key areas:
- Business model transformation: Our members realize they need to move from project-focused business to services models. It is increasingly difficult to scale business to meet the demands of both models while making this move; creating recurring revenue without disrupting project-based revenue is difficult. Staffing for the new organization model is challenging. Productivity, accountability, and workflow improvements are part of the transformation. NSCA’s response has been to support members through educational courses, business partners, and best practices to help scale business and create a successful transformation. Pivot to Profit was created in direct response to this effort.
- Client expectations, providing value, and creating differentiation: Margin erosion on product sales continues; it’s a major factor in maintaining adequate profitability. To fight commoditization, many members find success in elevating services and the labor portion of projects. End-users are increasingly demanding on many fronts: schedule compression, unrealistic expectations, restricted change orders, etc. NSCA’s response has been to help members differentiate themselves while also adding more value by focusing on outcomes, solutions, and experiences – all while maintaining a healthy workplace and keeping profits at a reasonable level.
- Managing change: Innovation at the integrator level has become a major focus. We are experiencing a rapid pace of change led by new technologies that will directly impact our members. In addition, continued market shifts are happening with DIY, standardization, globalization, rapidly growing influences from the IT sector, consumer technology infiltration, and many other low-cost solutions. NSCA’s response is one of awareness and developing strategy to maintain relevance and stay ahead of the competition and the impact of adjacent industry encroachment. Our Emerging Technologies Committee was formed to face this high-priority issue.
- Codes, regulations, licensure, and compliance: This issue came to the surface in a major way in 2020, and we expect the same in 2021. It has a massive impact on our entire industry. NSCA’s response was immediate – but, at times, it overwhelmed our capacity to manage the threat. This year, we are much better prepared through our leadership position in the Connected Technologies Industry Consortium. (Use NSCA’s portal to track legislation that may impact your business.)
- Industry consolidation: Larger companies with multiple locations are the new norm. Private equity firms and VC money are flowing into our industry, creating a corporate vs. lifestyle business model. The channel we represent is evolving, and our ecosystem has become one where manufacturers drive demand with large end-users. M&A activity has created concern and conflicts. Loyalty has been a challenge. Channel lines are blurred. NSCA’s response has been very clear, and we remain 100% committed to protecting the channel and protecting the flow of products and services through the integrator.
- Talent management: The No. 1 challenge and reported barrier to growth and profitability is the constraint of productivity due to recruiting and retaining qualified and engaged employees. It’s not uncommon to experience over 20% turnover in sales and specialized technical staff. NSCA’s response has been centered around the Ignite recruiting platform. We recently launched Ignite 2.0, which emphasizes the need for NSCA member companies to reflect diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in company culture. This is critical for supporting existing employees and recruiting top talent. Ignite 2.0 aims to provide resources and platforms to help member companies embrace DEI. NSCA also addresses employment law, internships, onboarding methods, workforce development, retention, research on wages and benefits, and career path mapping.
None of the above can happen without you. We sincerely thank each one of you for placing your confidence in NSCA. We look forward to helping you with your continued success.
Chuck Wilson, Executive Director, NSCA
Mike Boettcher, President, NSCA