Why Manufacturers Are Cozying Up to Users

Manufacturers in recent years have opened clear lines of communication and even built close relationships with end users. Are some systems integrators in danger of being leapfrogged? Peter Boriskin, vice president of access control for Tyco Int’l, joins the conversation.

Why are manufacturers focusing on the end user?

There are a lot of unique ideas and applications that are done at the customer level that may not have any visibility beyond that single customer. You had the advent of end users themselves starting self-governing bodies, user groups, where they all come together and share best practices. As a byproduct of that, in many cases, the manufacturer is allowed to be a fly on the wall in the user group meetings and it is an absolute goldmine of great “voice of the customer.”


What do integrators have to benefit from a supplier-end user alliance?

It just makes sense not to design in a vacuum. As we and other organizations look at how you design and how you pull requirements together, one of the things we are trying to do early on is make sure all of the customer requirements have a story behind them. Because that story really translates into the why. Without it you end up developing what. What should the feature be? But if you don’t know why you are doing that particular feature, then you lose some of the richness that you can get from it.


What would you consider the systems integrator industry’s vital asset?

There are such unique requirements across the thousands of customers that we have. When you look at the integrators, they all have different value they bring to the table. Some are more hardware oriented. Some are more integration oriented and do software development in-house. Others have a long track record in the university and college model, and understand that unique deployment is really like a tiny city and you need one of everything. The richness you get by having a diverse integrator population, it just can’t be duplicated in a one-size-fits-all model.

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