Outlining Emerging Integrator Tech Hurdles
Smaller specialty SIs are the earliest adopters of new tech – they typically work in real-time scenarios of decision making, and boast a highly talented, motivated and intelligent workforce.
My previous two columns have focused on the challenges of product suppliers and distributers developing and delivering new emerging technology products. Here, I’ll focus on the pivotal role that systems integrators (SIs) play in the complex puzzle of introducing new security technologies to their customers. Next month, I’ll add insights on the final piece of the puzzle: the all-important end-user segment.
SIs come in all shapes, sizes, growth phases, cultures, attitudes and revenue tiers. One cannot assume that a system integrator, regardless of these factors, will be successful at implementing emerging technologies. You might assume very large SIs would have processes in place to enable them to roll out new technologies faster, smoother, better, and more profitably than perhaps mid-tier or smaller integrators. You would be wrong.
Large SIs have many departments, time-consuming approval processes, competing priorities and agendas. Gaining consensus on a new technology to be rolled out to their field can take quite a bit of time. In addition, they can be overly cautious about new technologies because they are protecting their brand investors and reputation, not to mention mitigating potential liability. This makes sense because of the size of their commitment, the number of people that must be technically trained, and a sales perspective that it is not easy to reverse course with strategic customers if a new technology fails to deliver. Once they are fully committed, even though it may take more time, over time they can dramatically improve their market share over smaller competitors and may have price advantages at that point to buy market share. If you’re not a large integrator, what is your advantage when implementing new technologies?
Smaller SIs Are More Agile
Midsize SIs typically move faster within a marketplace because of a shorter line of decision making. The owner, founder or senior management team is generally readily accessible to the rest of the organization to discuss opportunities and risks of new tech. Still risk averse to some degree about new technologies, they typically move much faster with the decision, testing, training, and marketing to launch a new technology into their market. Their early adopter culture or attitude can be an advantage in their market, moving ahead of large competitors with new technologies and gaining referrable customers. In general, their rollout of emerging tech will be smaller in scale but certainly significant for product suppliers who need market traction for their new products. This makes for a good partnership and potential launch for new products.
Smaller specialty SIs are the quickest movers and earliest adopters of emerging tech. They typically work in real-time scenarios of decision making, and are served by highly talented, motivated, and intelligent workforce. If they are market disruptors, forward-thinkers and technically highly competent, they will often attract similar customers that wish to push the envelope to their advantage. They generally need the most support from a new technology provider because they’re getting to the market first in applying that technology to solve new and different problems — higher risk but potentially much higher reward as their customers become opinion leaders within their various vertical markets.
However, there is an additional outlier group who will impact SIs at one time or another: security consultants, who can be influential with applying emerging technologies to their clients, if they solve significant security challenges in new ways. Truth be told, they’re hard sells. They have heard promises of new technologies and solutions their entire careers and their job is to sort the wheat from the shaft for their clients. Their reputations are based on the success of a new technology within their projects; so understand, if you cannot demonstrate reliable performance past successful applications, you will be climbing a rather steep mountain. Security consultants can play a key role in your dialogue of developing emerging technologies as far as what the market is requiring. Those conditions for adoption may be what their expectations are, what reservations they have, and proof of concept they require with your product.
Having a passion for emerging technologies, launching them, coaching, and training teams to intelligently deploy them, here are a few final thoughts. The three biggest factors in successful new technology adoption are:
- Company commitment – if you waffle you lose.
- Well-executed field implementation, which is the tricky part to do well.
- Motivating associates and customers to get on board with the technology.
Next month, we’ll explore insights on end-user adoption of new products.
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