Executive Conference - Road to Puerto Rico
12 Tips to get the most out of the Executive Conference
Whether you attend the CSIA Executive Conference annually or are making your first appearance this year, we want to make sure your experience surpasses your expectations. The key, we've found, to a successful meeting, is in the preparation. Here are a few tips that will ensure you get the most out of your attendance at the 2016 CSIA Executive Conference in Puerto Rico and help make your business the best it can be.

1) Download the mobile app. The app is really your "bible" for the three-plus days you'll be at the conference. It gives you a full line-up of programs and a list of everyone who is coming, including integrators, partners, speakers and exhibitors. Be sure to update your profile on the app well before you get to the conference and start using it in anticipation of the meeting, on-route and when you arrive. Build some excitement! More information about accessing the app will come your way at least a week before the meeting.
Channel your inner reporter
As we head into the final stretch ahead of the 2016 Executive Conference, we are hoping someone like you would be interested in covering the conference. Are you intrigued at the prospect of unleashing your inner correspondent? We would love for you to report on an "unconference," panel discussion or session, or share your key take-aways -- whatever looks interesting to you, grabs your attention and leaves you compelled to share a brief report. Then we'll post to the Open Forum.

Intrigued? Contact Jeanne Rosen at jrosen@controlsys.org .

We know how fun it is to post Executive Conference photos inside the conference mobile app, especially because earning extra points every time you do puts you ahead on the in-app leaderboard. But, we encourage you to share your PR experience on social media, as well, and to use the #CSIA2016 if you do! Consider it a kind of "wish you were here" postcard to those who aren't. 

Metrics that Really Matter: Digging Through the Data in an IIoT World
Get up to speed on IOT and relevant metrics ahead of the IoT Service Opportunities for SIs unconference at the CSIA Executive Conference. In collaboration with MESA International and LNS Research we provide you access to this recorded webinar session (60 min) on this important topic!  Click here to access the recording.
Message from CEO
SI industry enjoying a fortunate moment in time
In previous contributions I have shared my views that the system integration industry is enjoying a fortunate moment in time. Trends like interconnectivity increase the size of the integration market. In our industry, interconnectivity is also commonly referred to as IoT or IIoT, and is closely related to Industrie 4.0 and smart manufacturing. End users continue to outsource system integration functions to external parties and this also supports growth in the system integration industry.  Am I the only one viewing it this way?

Committee Update-Best Practices and Benchmarking
New material to be included in version five of BP&B manual, discussed at Executive Conference
While we are behind schedule on the development of version five of the Best Practices and Benchmarking (BP&B) manual, we are working hard to make up time so that we can report on the status of updating the manual and discuss new material that will be included in this release at the Executive Conference.  There have been several questions regarding both the review and updating process, as well as what the next steps in the process are.

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Connected Community
It has been an active month in CSIA's Open Forum discussion thread
Check it out, and while you are at it, chime in on some of the ongoing discussions:

I wanted to start a thread on time entry, project management, and invoicing solutions. There was a thread a few months ago that offered up a few software packages. We evaluated these packages as well as a few others and every package had a "gotcha" of some sort. Some were too rigid on rate structures, some had difficult to manage overtime settings, some had way too many options and in others not enough. Some had almost everything we needed, but there wasn't any benefit over the current combination of an older time entry package coupled with QuickBooks. My question is what are some solutions you all are using that work well? We've also explored developing our own internal package, but I wanted to see if anyone had done this and had experiences with a homegrown system versus something off the shelf.  
I am researching software packages that will scan receipts and create expense reports for common business travel expenses. Also, I would like to be able to reimburse our employees when applicable. Has anyone implemented Expensify? Do you have a software platform that works well for your organization that you would recommend?
Has anyone else noted an increase in encryption file attacks (ransomware attacks)?  We have robust backup procedures that allow us to recover if/when hit but we've seen 2 already this year and each time we lose hours executing our regroup. We have tools that are fantastic for detecting the problems once they launch but all of our equipment and software seem to struggle with pre-launch detection. We currently use a Barracuda web filter (up to date with signatures), sonic wall email appliance with antivirus protection, and Trend Micro business suite. Any suggestions that others have for frontline combat of these would be appreciated!
Bundled legal services represent new benefit for CSIA members
As announced in last month's newsletter, all CSIA members, both certified and non-certified, are being automatically enrolled during the month of April in a new program we are calling the CSIA Legal Plan. The object of the plan is nothing less than ensuring that all CSIA members have access to quality legal advice from lawyers who understand their industry.

Learn more about the CSIA Insurance Program at Executive Conference
Another year has flown by, and I am looking forward to meeting all the CSIA Insurance Program members -- there are now 93 of you from around the world insured through this program -- as well as interested noninsured members, at The Gran Melia Resort in Puerto Rico later this month. I shall arrive on Tuesday, April 19, and will be available to meet with you from around noon that day until the conference ends on Friday evening.

Special events coming for our LATAM members
CSIA's top annual event, the Executive Conference, is here again. The LATAM staff is excited that this year's the conference is taking place in Puerto Rico, a Latin American location.  We expect great participation from Latin American members. As of today, we have 16 of our top LATAM members from Colombia, Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica registered. We will also have a new LATAM Partner member, Elipse Software, who will be exhibiting at the Expo. Be sure to stop by their booth.

Project Management Training
CSIA delivers PM training in partnership with ISA
On four different days, spread out over the course of two weeks in March, CSIA delivered a remote learning project management course in partnership with ISA. Over 40 companies were represented. The course was based on training ISA has offered in the past, but customized to meet the needs of system integrators.

Industrial Automation Exchange
Put on your marketing hat and listen up!
If you handle the marketing for your company, read on. Otherwise, forward this to your marketing manager.

Why update your Exchange profile?
You've probably heard from me recently, imploring you to get your Exchange profile completed.  It's now become nearly a daily occurrence when an end user client calls or uses the live chat feature on our website to ask for a vendor that carries X or an integrator specializing in Y and located in Z.

When I get these requests, I instruct them to do three things:
  • Use the Industrial Automation Exchange's Find an Integrator or Find a Product Feature.
  • Research the companies by viewing any videos, articles and data sheets posted on their profiles.
  • Ask a question to solicit help on our Exchange community page.
Our newest Exchange subscribers. Join them!

Contact Exchange community manager Tony Veroeven  for information!
webinar series

Top 3 things to know about increasing efficiency with HART
Tuesday, May 3 at 11 a.m. EDT
Presented by Phoenix Contact

Register Now 
Partner Members: Host a webinar in 2016 and connect with SI members
Partner members, did you know as part of your membership you can host a Partner Technical Webinar?  Need ideas on what to present? Educate our SI members and their clients with a white paper or case study. Highlight a challenge or trend in a certain industry. 

One partner reported recently that they received phone calls from attendees immediately after their webinar!  Email Tony Veroeven to get one scheduled in 2016.

Industry Partner
Where could revenue opportunities be in 2016? Consider cybersecurity
CSIA member businesses have been based on a "parts and smarts" mind set, coupled with good old fashioned ingenuity and determination. This approach has resulted in improved processes for customers and increased profit margins for themselves.

The times are changing, though, and customers' needs go beyond process automation. End users continually want to streamline operations, increase safety and improve output, but often need more data points, or things, with Ethernet interfaces in order to do that.

Industry Partner
Integrate, support, troubleshoot and optimize using IIoT
Third article in a series of three

System integrators are the key element of the industrial automation puzzle, linking mechanical and electrical devices to some sort of process control system through the combination of logic, experience and technology. This is a unique position to be in, with the ability to change the industrial automation paradigm.
Read more.

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