2016 CSIA Executive Conference registration now open!
The annual CSIA Executive Conference is the highlight of the professional year, when over 500 system integrators and industry partners meet to network, hear outstanding speakers, share best practices, and learn about new products and services. The 2016 Conference will be held April 19 - 22 in Puerto Rico. In addition to strong educational programming, the Partner Industry Expo and Reception will showcase the latest products and services from industry supplier, manufacturer and service provider members. There are several excursions planned, as well, to give you an opportunity to take in Puerto Rico from land and water.
Every year, as word spreads about the benefits of attending and those who have participated in the past come back, registration grows! Join fellow SIs and industry partners from around the globe to build connections, exchange ideas and have fun!  

Call for CSIA Award nominations
It's awards season. Who will you nominate?
It's time to honor our peers who have made significant contributions to CSIA. This year, we are requesting nominations for four awards: the Charlie Bergman "Remember Me" Award, Rising Star Award, Partner Member of the Year Award, and Integrator Member of the Year Award.

In addition to CSIA's formal awards program, we want to recognize members for their successes and milestones outside of CSIA. Achievements that may not necessarily fit in to a traditional award category may include local charity work, completing a marathon, recognition for multi-generational businesses, and other personal accomplishments. You will find the opportunity to submit these ideas on the last page of the nomination form.

Please review the awards criteria here and submit your nominations by Feb. 24 via the 2016 CSIA Award Nomination Form.

Winners will be recognized during the Executive Conference Awards Dinner on Feb. 21 in Puerto Rico.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Emily Wiseman at ewiseman@controlsys.org.
Message from CEO
Back to our core: CSIA Best Practices
CSIA exists today because a group of SIs got together to help each other build better SI companies. The main vehicle they chose to share the collective wisdom was through the Best Practices manual. This important document remains relevant because association members provide periodic reviews in a truly collaborative spirit. This year we will see the launch of Rev 5.0 and with it a special effort to re-emphasize Best Practices in our association.

Best Practices
A phased approach to supporting CSIA Best Practices adoption
We all know the importance that good nutrition and regular exercise play in our health. And, we recognize that participating in professional training or joining a support group with shared goals tends to increase the chances of success. With this in mind, CSIA is introducing a "Phased" approach to support the implementation of CSIA Best Practices. Increasing adoption of Best Practices helps SI companies become better organizations, and helps raise the overall quality level of the SI industry as a whole.

Project Management Training
Register today!
CSIA has heard your requests for project management training, and have partnered with ISA to deliver live, web-based project management training, specific to system integration companies and consistent with CSIA Best Practices©. The course is designed to prepare attendees to deliver on their daily project management responsibilities. Content coverage includes project initiation, definition/planning, execution, control, close out and related phases. Roles and requirements are also discussed, along with the techniques and tools needed to work with client organization project managers.

Management mess-up coverage
Management mess-ups can and do occur. Businesses in every industry face potential litigation directed against the company, management team or board of directors.  Competitors may claim anti-competitive business practices, pirating employees, theft of intellectual property, and wrongful interference with a contractual or business relationship.
Key Bank and First Niagara to join forces
A merger of Key Bank and First Niagara is expected to during the third quarter of 2016. Employees of First Niagara Risk Management (FNRM) are excited to begin this strong partnership. The FNRM CSIA team looks forward to continuing to serve CSIA membership!
Read more.

Bad boy acts
Common "carve-outs" for limitation of liability provisions 
Working in the control systems and integration industries, I often see master limitation of liability contract provisions in the terms and conditions of purchase orders, project services agreements and master services agreements. These terms usually cap a party's risk for direct claims to a certain maximum exposure and can be very useful in allocating the parties' respective risks involved in the relevant project.

However, these provisions may also carve-out damages caused by certain events from the scope of the liability waiver. Some of these more common events, are sometimes called bad boy acts.

Statistics Committee
Does your business have a pulse?
CSIA's Pulse is your association's Best Practices benchmarking program. Companies that have the opportunity to benchmark themselves against their peers are the envy of business owners who can't. Why? There is valuable data provided in the CSIA Pulse reports that enables you to more quickly learn how to grow your business, increase your efficiency (margins) and increase the value of your business.

The statistics committee has been working hard to make data entry easier and reports more meaningful. We've started with the key performance indicators that every integrator should be watching -- keeping the pulse of their business. The number of indicators will grow over time and so will your knowledge of how to use them.
Read more .

Tax Credits
Take control of your tax position
CSIA members are among millions of business owners who will see cash refunds and tax savings in 2016 as a result of the new and improved R&D Tax Credit

As the momentum of your tax season picks up in the coming weeks, it's important that you familiarize yourself with the major efforts and progress Congress has made to enrich the financial positions of businesses just like yours.

Ordinarily, the news that a bill was passed by Congress and signed into law by the president may not find a place in your industry newsletter, but there are three aspects of a brand new $600+ billion tax deal that will have CSIA members celebrating a major long-term windfall starting in 2016 and in the years ahead.

Of the many perks of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, the real game-changing excitement revolves around the Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit.

Industrial Automation Exchange

This morning, Tony was contacted by two end users:
  1. A municipality looking to contact a few of our systems integrators and suppliers in a particular specialty, in preparation for an RFQ.
  2. A customer looking for a certain type products.
Both had watched the "How to find Systems Integrator or Automation Supplier video," and were exploring on the Exchange. While we do get inquiries like this, most clients won't ever call in. Most will go to the Exchange, find what they are looking for, and never let us know.

Be certain that your "house is clean" for unexpected or expected visitors.This is a reminder and call to action to make certain if you have not yet posted your logo, replaced your default banner, replaced the gray heads for your staff members, updated your "about us" section and tagged yourself with categories, please do so now.

Our newest Exchange subscribers. Join them!
Remote connectivity to get started with IIoT
First article of a series of 3 
If we are honest, remote connectivity has been around for quite a while. It may have had other names like "telemetry," and it may have involved dial-up modems or other legacy connection methods, but it still involved the connection of system components spread over a wide geography. These methods generally were challenging to setup, configure and deploy securely. Technology evolution has allowed the capabilities and demands to change dramatically. New terms have emerged like "Internet of Things (IoT)" or "Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)" which take remote connectivity for granted and focus on the endless possibilities enabled by the sudden availability of massive amounts of data from a larger resource pool spread over an even bigger geography. 

When it comes to delivering on the "endless possibilities," remote connectivity remains a challenge for most system integrators. Remote connectivity enables fast and cost effective delivery of technical support, reducing the need to fly technicians to customer locations. Each project nevertheless faces the reality of dealing with customer IT infrastructure and the reduced odds of getting access to the VPN from the end user to establish a remote connection.
webinar series

CSIA Partners Webinar: 
Getting the most from your CSIA partnership and the Executive Conference
Friday, Feb. 5 at 11 a.m. EST

Best Practices and Benchmarks Section 5 - Project Management
Thursday, Feb. 25 at 11 a.m. EST
Presented by Jeff Miller, Director of Project Management, Interstates Control Systems

Instituting Best Practices - Two Integrators' Perspectives
Thursday, March 17 at 11 a.m. EST
Presented by Charles I. Sheets, PE, director, Industrial Systems Division, Matrix Technologies, Inc.; and Steve Palmgren, PE, VP of Texas Operations, Patti Engineering, Inc.

Register Now 
CSIA monthly webinars are sponsored by Software Toolbox .
Software Toolbox

Use IoT to better support customers
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, 11 a.m. EST
Presented by eWON

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?  What should you 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.


CSIA CEO Jose Rivera took a detour while on vacation to visit with CSIA member Sistemas IQ and Max Alpizar (r) in San Jose, Costa Rica.

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