Over 55% of attendees of the recent iaconnects webinar hosted by EnOcean selected System Integrators (SIs) as an IoT project blocker.
The IoT dream is that one day all solutions will integrate with one another, providing a single point for users to access systems and the data they require. In order for this to become a reality, particularly for larger scale projects, it is likely you will need a system integrator.
The Gartner definition of a System Integrator (SI) is: An enterprise that specializes in implementing, planning, coordinating, scheduling, testing, improving and sometimes maintaining a computing operation. SIs try to bring order to disparate suppliers.
The key part of this definition is that SIs try to bring order to disparate suppliers. This perfectly encapsulates the IoT market as there is no “one size fits all” solution for IoT. Therefore, the need for a competent SI continues to be a challenge in a rapidly changing industry.
After 20+ years in cross industry integration our Partner & Market Development Leader, Dave Lister offers some words of wisdom! The importance of early engagement cannot be underestimated. Time and time again the SI is parachuted in when all of the key system architecture decisions have been made and the SI’s role becomes one of patching and creating connections for ill matched systems - the “square peg, round hole” analogy fits beautifully! The right time to engage the SI is back at RIBA stages 0 and/or 1 so design decisions can be appraised and influenced by the specialist. The cost savings born out by simplicity further down the line would far out way any upfront costs associated with early engagement!
The SI should be vetted and tested on their approach to openness and flexibility! Too many SIs have developed unwavering commitments to a single manufacturer or protocol which forms their comfort zone. This unwavering commitment closes down the options from the get-go, and so often leads to segregation in the OpEx phase.
Does your SI speak IT? From personal experience, iaconnects has had to embrace the IT world and all its complexity. This is simply because it is the future of controls and however much the traditional Silo’s cling on to their way of working, it will all inevitably come back to IT. The hot topic of the day is currently the meeting of IT and OT (Operation Technology) and how that might pan out, so any competent SI must be aware of the past, the present and most importantly the future!
Your SI should be an integral part of your consultancy team, they should be introduced to the Stakeholders and, if at all possible, the end users and most importantly the maintainers. When we consider that the operational phase of the project will make up by far the biggest part of any project’s life, then why wouldn’t you? Initiatives such as ‘soft landings’ benefit hugely from early interaction and undoubtably smooth the transition from CapEx into OpEx.
Pedigree isn’t just a Dog Food! There really is no replacement for experience and a depth of knowledge! If we look at the team in iaconnects we have proven experience across every part of our prospective marketplace. From Robotics through Factory Automation, to Building Automation and Enterprise Security, to Networking, Cloud integration, AI and Hardware/Software development, there’s a proven track record of delivery and subject matter experience across the board.
These are the elements we believe should define your system integrator. Get in touch with iaconnects to discuss the importance or working with the right SI for your IoT project.