2018 Executive Conference
Best Practices
Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual V5.0 to be released in April
One of the top benefits of being a CSIA member is the availability of the Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual. It is a manual of the collective intelligence of many successful members throughout the years. Well, it's here, the revisions are done, the pilots are complete and the feedback has been incorporated -  Best Practices and Benchmarks Manual Version 5.0  is ready for its final release later this month. It's been a long journey, but a worthwhile one. 
Best Practices Workshop offered immediately preceding Executive Conference
The upcoming 2018 pre-conference Best Practices Workshop offers training centered around the brand-new Version 5 of the Best Practices. It is the intention of CSIA to provide continuous improvement on the training format and content. Just like the survey integrators deploy with their customer at the end of every project, CSIA conducts end-of-training surveys. We have reviewed and introduced several improvements, including pre-session video segment reviews of the various sections. 
Learn more .  
CSIA On the Move
CSIA staff attended the Manufacturing in America conference in Detroit, 
presenting on industry trends and participating in a goal kicking opportunity at Ford Field.

Message from the Chair
Early indicators point toward continued success in 2018 
I just want to give a quick update from the Board of Directors on what has been happening at CSIA over the last three or four months. It is hard to believe that the CSIA Executive Conference is right around the corner, and all indications are that it will be a record breaker in San Francisco. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to get registered quickly - We really are just a few weeks away! Looking behind, 2017 proved to be a strong financial year, contributing to the continued rebuilding of our nest egg so that we can make future investments back into CSIA. We had a member retention rate of 87% this past year and a growth in Certified Integrators of 5.8%, which was great to see. 
Message from CEO
Innovation is critical for SI companies
You are receiving this e-Newsletter just a few weeks ahead of our 2018 Executive Conference, an event that always energizes our membership. For this year's conference we have dedicated one track to the topic of innovation. The term innovation has unfortunately been overused and I hesitated to use it in this year's conference theme, 
Growth through innovation and sound business practices . I'd like to provide an insight into why innovation is a BIG DEAL for our system integration community. This year's conference will take place in San Francisco, a location in close proximity to Silicon Valley and many respectable tech companies often associated with the concept of innovation. The truth is that innovation goes beyond the tech industry and this specific geography. When we ask our members, "What keeps you up at night?" the answer is frequently a) Attracting, retaining and developing talent and 2) Developing new business. 
Read more.

A very active first quarter for LATAM

Our most outstanding achievement for the first quarter is the Certification of Cybermax by Don Roberts (Exotek). We congratulate Víctor González (CEO) and his team, along with Ignacio Guerra, the external consultant who helped Cybermax prepare for the audit.
Our LATAM Task Force was started as a member initiative in May 2017 during the Executive Conference in Fort Lauderdale. It has been successful and of value to our regional SIs. We have held five meetings so far, sharing practical and helpful insights.
Read more.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions for system integrators:
Building, preparing and realizing value
This is the third in a three-part series on Mergers and Acquisitions topics addressing the Control System Integrators Market.
When an owner is ready to begin the sales process of a system integration firm, there are a number of pieces that need to successfully come together. In order for a company sale to occur, it is important for the owner and advisors to jointly manage the sale process. By doing so, the outcome is more likely to be orderly, smooth and lucrative for the business owner. 
Read more .  
M&A corner
This is a new section in our quarterly e-Newsletters, as well as on our website. We would like members to share information that has been made public. Our goal is not to be the source for breaking news, but a place to get caught up on recent deals.
Comment: The SI market has seen interesting developments in the past years. Strategic buyers have recognized SIs as a key element for the delivery of differentiated solutions, either for the products or machines they provide. We have also seen some infrastructure companies acquire SIs to deliver their projects too. Private equity has seen an opportunity in the SI market to consolidate, providing an exit strategy for SIs wanting to retire.
Voigtmann vs. Clifford (round two) - The contract negotiation of the year 
We are looking forward to connecting with you at the 2018 CSIA Executive Conference. We hope you will join us on Thursday, April 26 at 9:45 a.m. for round two of our critically acclaimed 
Contract negotiation of the year. As you may remember from round one at the 2014 CSIA Executive Conference in San Diego, we were able to come to an agreement, but not without some jokes (and bicycle horn honks) along the way.
We are working on our  lines  for this exciting  negotiation tips-in-action  presentation, and we believe there are lines that you should be using every day in your business, too. 
Are you adequately covered in case of a cyber security breach?
Someone hacks into your system. They encrypt your data and hold it for ransom. You pay the ransom to minimize the disruption to your business. They then provide the key to unlock their hold on your data so you can resume operations.

Cyber breaches hit the news daily. While we all focus on the privacy liabilities associated with the cyber breach, there is less focus on our own loss. We are not fully aware of the potentially uninsured costs associated with the breach. The time, resources, expense and lost opportunity costs spent can be significant.
Thank You 2018 Executive Conference Sponsors
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Connected Community
It has been busy in CSIA's Open Forum
Check it out, and while you are at it, chime in on some of the ongoing discussions:

Managing project email
I wonder how other system integrators manage their project email. For many years we have used Shared Folders in Exchange / Outlook but Microsoft has announced that they will discontinue that functionality and it did not work very efficient for us. Since one year we create a site for each project in our SharePoint (on premise) including a mailbox that is handled in Exchange. Each of these mailboxes gets its own email address that starts with our internal project number. All email send to that email address end up in that project specific mailbox. That seems nice, but there are many disadvantages to that mailbox too. I guess too many to mention in this message. Does anyone have experience with an application that manages project email and that is worth investigating?

Pre-bid project checklist
As a distributor of automation and controls products, my sales team frequently finds projects for System Integrators. One issue I've noticed is that they don't have all the information prior to engaging an SI. This causes wasted time going back-and-forth answering basic questions. Therefore, I'm building a checklist of basic information that my sales team needs to collect from the customer  prior to soliciting an SI for help. This will help answer common questions in advance. Does anyone have a pre-project/screening checklist that they are willing to share with me in this effort? Something specifically geared for a sales team would be great. I would like to get multiple inputs and cherry-pick them all to build a form that will meet my needs. I did a quick look in the CSiA library, but easily could have missed something if this already exists. I have no problem sharing my results with the group. Thanks everyone!

Employee engagement surveys
Does anyone have a company they would recommend that conducts employee engagement surveys? We would like to find a company that can provide guidance on putting together the survey and analyzing the data.
Ajera peer group
Last year at the CSIA conference there was some talk of an Ajera Peer Group being formed. Did this ever develop?

Cyber Security
Adding cybersecurity to the system integrator toolkit, 
even if it isn't your sweet spot
This is the first in a three-part series on the imperative and value-add opportunity for system integrators to add cybersecurity to their toolkits when servicing the industrial and manufacturing sectors.

Digital transformation and automation is changing the way your clients do business. But moving from an analog to digital posture opens manufacturing and processing industries to cyber risk. Yet, very few SIs are integrating cybersecurity into their offerings, this creates a lucrative opportunity to expand your company's role. Here's how you can take advantage, even if cyber isn't your sweet spot.
Read more

Since our last newsletter, CSIA launched a regular podcast titled, "Talking Industrial Automation" to help clients get to know the people who make modern manufacturing and processing possible. Along the way, we touch on integration technology, trends and challenges. It's a great way for CSIA Members to create valuable marketing content, and feature the owner or executive of your company.
Interested in participating? Here's how to prepare. I'm interviewing those members who have a Gold Profile (or package) on the Exchange first as an extra value and thank you. Set up a time
on my calendar. I may do a few podcast episodes in San Francisco as well!
Want to listen? Visit www.talkingindustrialautomation.com  to listen and subscribe. Please review and rate the podcast a 5 on iTunes if you like it! I appreciate your feedback.
Integrators: Want to meet Tony to talk about your membership and getting more value out of it?
Partners: Want to learn how to use your membership to build better relationships with SIs?
Getting more out of membership sometimes includes giving as well. Volunteering or joining a committee at an association is proven to members feel more involved, and get more value from membership dues.
Contact Tony at  tveroeven@controlsys.org  to set up a time in San Francisco to talk and learn how and what to "give and get." If meeting at the conference doesn't work, he'll set up a time to talk before or after.

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presented by CSIA
Tuesday, April 3, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (ET)

presented by Ubidots
Tuesday, April 10, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM (ET)

presented by  Contec Americas Inc.
April 17, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (ET)

presented by Clayton & McKervey and Mueller Prost
May 10, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (ET)
Partner members: Host a webinar in 2017 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 member recently reported that they received phone calls from attendees immediately after their webinar! Email Tony Veroeven to get one of your own scheduled.

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