The holiday season provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on the year that’s passed, consider the future, and develop an action plan for January. It’s a great time to soak it all in and dream about what’s possible.
Watching my four-year-old get excited for the holidays reminds me that my wishes for the future aren’t what they used to be. I've gone from looking forward to R&R to obsessing over RMR. What follows are my dreams for 2017:
1)A New Title for the Integrator - Technology Manager
The title of integrator has served us well, but I think it’s time for a change. We are more than smart-home installers, we are managers of home technology. And in the future (if not already), clients will ask us to manage their personal technology (computers, smart phones, etc). What better way to embrace that change and position ourselves to take advantage of the opportunity ahead than to solidify our position as Technology Managers. We are perfectly positioned for it having the relationships, the infrastructure, the talent, and the experience behind us to know what it means to manage the consumer technology experience in the home.
2)A Widespread Culture of Service
For too long we’ve dealt with service as an afterthought. It’s something we’ve “had to do” but haven’t entirely been happy doing because we’re not comfortable/familiar with making money in that part of the company. Let’s change that; projects need to be seen as an entry point to a life-long relationship and a lifetime value with streams of recurring revenue. We should embrace the culture of service and recognize the full potential our client relationships have.
3)Keep the Faith - We Will Solve the RMR Riddle
Speaking of lifetime value with streams of recurring revenue, I hope we as an industry can solve the RMR riddle this year. The demand for Technology Managers in the home has never been higher, but as an industry we’ve struggled long to monetize on this demand. My holiday wish is that we keep the faith. The potential of RMR is real and I know it’s attainable in a profitable and scalable manner. With continued persistence we’ll find the perfect way to package these services en masse across the industry and the results will be game-changing.
4)This is a Bilateral Effort - Integrators and Non-Integrators Alike
For years it’s been the integrators who have had to carry the burden of adapting to change. But for the first time, non-integrators can help move the industry forward beyond simply producing more black boxes. Manufacturers can invest in connected platforms that make it easier to deploy, manage, and support their products (Control4, SnapAV). Software vendors are streamlining business processes every day (Slateplan, iPoint, D-Tools). Service providers are taking a load off the integrator’s back (OneVision, MarchandWright, OneFirefly). And RSM providers are making the support process more efficient than ever (Ihiji, Domotz, SnapAV, Krika). And CEDIA is stepping up its game with a focus on the business of being an integrator (and not just the technology we manage). We recently launched our 20/20 program to encourage a collaborative approach and I’m excited about the reception so far.
5)Stronger Industry Resources - CEDIA?
Speaking of CEDIA, I’m hoping to see a stronger push by the industry at large for prescriptive resources aimed at helping integrators adapt to the rapidly evolving home technology market. CEDIA in particular has an opportunity to put their collective muscle and brain-power into training on best practices. We know many integrators are looking for a prescriptive approach to the business including design, engineering, hiring, contract negotiation, operations, pricing, tracking metrics / KPI’s, and how to run an efficient and profitable service department. The development of the CEDIA Business Xchange coming up in March is a step in the right direction. If you’re focusing on the development of your business you should consider this event!
Miracles don’t happen overnight. Progress is realized through hard work and determination every day. But if there’s one thing this industry has, it’s grit. We’ve shown an incredible determination to make progress together and I hope for nothing more than a continuation of that effort in 2017.
Are you dreaming about some of the same things? Anything different? Let me know below...