Should AV Integrators Think about Doing (More) Structured Cable Work?

Written 2015-04-06 by H8fRi845jF

Growth is the goal we all aspire to achieve in the integration business. At least most of us. After riding a half-decade wave of financial turbulence, if you came out the other end equal or better than you went in, then you have to be optimistic about your prospects for growth.

However, while growth IS important, I will also say, five years later we are still talking about many of the same things as they pertain to growth. “More service revenue,” we may hear from one corner of the room. Another may shout out, “expanded technology offerings,” and still one more may say, “Cloud Solutions.” Has this list changed much over the last half decade?

For the forward thinking integrator, a national and/or global footprint (link to last article) makes sense. There is something to be said for building a business that supports the growing needs of their clients. While we, of course, see this option as something we can help with, it also comes with its own subset of challenges.

Keep It Simple Silly?

I know it isn’t silly, but I’m too nice to call anyone stupid. Anyhow, a few weeks ago I went to the BICSI show. I wouldn’t say the information and communications technology industry is an area we spend a ton of time focused on, but as a national supplier of specialty low voltage labor we do have a subset of customers in that space. And sure enough, each time we make an appearance, we find more value.

This year, one of the things that really stood out to me was seeing the opportunities that AV Integration channels have in the BICSI space. After spending time with them, and learning more about what they do, I realized there is so much potential for AV Integrators to do this work. Even though the initial concerns may include over-qualification, or extra labor, I started to see some connections that may be more valuable than the added work.

Allow me to share.

1. Earlier Engagement in the Process: Cabling is often sought out very early in the building, construction, or project process. Sometimes long before a tenant is finalized and certainly before they have specified integration technology. Providing structured cabling puts you in the game far earlier than if you are only offering the more sophisticated portion of the AV build.

2. A More Holistic Approach to Solution Delivery: As mentioned, offering structured cabling gives contractors and owners a reason to involve your organization earlier in the process. What it also shows is your organization can be counted on for a larger portion of the installation. In my experience with GC’s, Architects, and other stakeholders during these types of projects, I have found they prefer to work with fewer hands when possible. This gives them a bit more control of course, but can also mean much bigger projects for the integrator.

3. Increased Direction in Technology Proliferation: Many project stakeholders look to their structured cable partner to help define where tech is best located. That way the setup is conducive to the current state of technology, as well as adaptable for future needs. Considering we are always looking for recurring revenue, a nice way to get the next project is to design the current one to support it. By handling the cabling, your organization can help make this possible.

As we continue to pursue growth and relevance with our clients, we are always trying to figure out which keys unlock these doors. We have come to see that our highly specialized knowledge in certain areas such as acoustics, video distribution, or control and automation tend to set us apart. However, specialty knowledge isn’t the only thing that adds value for our customers.

Sure, providing wire and cabling services may seem like a low value portion of the solution. However, I challenge you to think about how it can make you more valuable to your clients. By becoming engaged earlier, eliminating the number of “chefs” in the kitchen, and helping guide the technology planning by building future-forward infrastructure, you hold the keys to better customer relationships.

Perhaps a moment of empathy is the best approach here. As a business leader, what do you look for in your vendors? For me, highly skilled and specialized is important, but quite often I am looking for those that solve the most problems with the least guidance. Having a few great strategic partners beats the heck out of piecing together many who can only do a portion of what I need. In the technology world we live in, maybe having a bit more in your arsenal is worthwhile, especially during these days when tech is changing so quickly.

Are you looking for a partner to expand your outsource AV or Structured Cable Integration capabilities? Connect with us to learn more.