What Will Propel Our Industry In 2016?

Discipline and focus are key.

Every year around this time, I have conversations with integrators and manufacturers in our industry that all focus on the same thing: “What does next year hold for the AV Industry?” Between Thanksgiving and the New Year, we spend a lot of time eating, gift giving and reflecting on the past year and, more importantly, the year to come. If only we had the ability to see into the future….

I have great opportunities to gain insight into our industry as I spend time on the road. And, although I can never divulge the little secrets that propel individual companies forward, I do start to notice trends and common practices that are moving certain companies up the ladder. Those little nuggets of information become the basis of my hypothesis for where our industry is headed in the near future, and what will set the winners apart from every other company out there.

I’m convinced that too many dollars are left on the table by companies that don’t focus on running a great business.

Before we take a step forward, though, it sometimes helps to take a quick look back at the past. The year 2015 was strong overall for systems integrators. Not only did business across almost all sectors and markets see some level of AV growth, but the overall global outlook also showed a lot of promise.

I am witnessing integrators beginning to take hold of the long-discussed trends we continue to revisit, including recurring revenue and managed services. I’m also seeing more technology manufacturers move toward IT-centric products, from AV and nurse call systems, to overhead paging and surveillance systems.

These shifts are driving the industry forward by helping integrators develop more profitable, sustainable businesses that allow them to deliver the kinds of solutions that meet the demands of CIOs, CTOs and even CEOs of enterprises and small businesses alike.

So what’s coming down the road for 2016? I see a lot of strong signs indicating that the successes we’ve observed over the past few years will continue to grow. With so many people always asking me what they should anticipate for next year, here are the three things that I think will have the biggest impact on integrators and manufacturers.

  • Mobility: Mobility is going to become a hot topic in every strategic discussion with end users. For a long time, the topics of BYOD (bring your own device) and mobile apps have been on the table. I think it’s safe to say that we’re now a mobile-first society (or close to it). Integrators can no longer view mobile as an afterthought, instead, they will have to make it core to all integration offerings.
    With spaces such as huddle rooms in high demand, and the growth in utilization of remote workforces, companies investing in collaboration technologies are going to expect their purchases to truly support the shifting mobile workforce.
  • Digital Transformation: Digital transformation is not an option for integrators. Specifically, the utilization of digital platforms to market, sell and run your business is going to separate growing companies from everyone else. From your website and CRM/ERP solutions to your marketing automation and customer service platforms, companies need to embrace digital to improve communication and efficiency. Customers are spending more time shopping online and less time face to face with clients. With this in mind, the digital shift isn’t just nice to have, but an obligation for companies in our industry.
  • Same Rules Apply: Lastly, the rules that have always been followed to propel great businesses forward will continue to apply.
    Companies that focus not only on keeping up with the technology trends, but also on running reliable, well disciplined businesses, will see strong results. Although this may not sound like much of a prognostication, it shouldn’t be understated.

We often think that being on the front edge of new trends is the key to a successful business. However, the integrators and manufacturers I speak to are showing that, time and time again, great results come from discipline and focus rather than jumping on every bandwagon.

This doesn’t mean that keeping on top of the industry isn’t important, but I’m convinced that too many dollars are left on the table by companies that don’t focus on running a great business.

The great news with every new year is that there is so much opportunity for a fresh start. With this in mind, what will the key focuses be for your business to make 2016 a great year?

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