Financial Benchmarking - The Pulse

The Pulse unconference at the 2016 CSIA Executive Conference was well-attended and lively.
We have a Pulse!
Participation in the Pulse, CSIA's business benchmarking program, has been steadily increasing, and is to a point where are now seeing some industry trends. For example, last year, the number of backlog days was decreasing as members were busy working off contracts in-hand. Additionally, the revenue per employee metric saw a healthy uptick as more material was being pushed through.

Message from CEO
Mixing it up - Reaching out to you
Communications are key to keeping our membership informed and engaged. Up until now, we have primarily relied on our monthly e-newsletters along with our Connected Community website ( for this.

Realizing that different people have different preferences for how they like to stay in touch, we are moving toward providing more diversity in our regular communications approach. Our new approach will provide CSIA information and updates to members via electronic newsletter (4 times annually), a printed mailer (2 times annually) and a 30-minute, webinar-style live broadcast (3 times annually).

Save the date!

Message from the Chairman of the Board
Inclusiveness helps CSIA deliver on its mission
Last month, I shared my thoughts with you regarding the role end-user clients play in getting CSIA Certification commonly required in the marketplace. This month, I want to share my thoughts regarding inclusiveness for CSIA and why it is important for us to pursue.  System integrators are a key element within a broad ecosystem of players. This ecosystem includes providers of automation hardware, software and services such as engineering, maintenance and consulting. It also includes the end-user clients, who benefit from the successful implementation of these automation solutions at their sites.
Changes to the board 
It is with mixed emotions that I announce the departure of Diane Trentini, Optimation, as a member of the CSIA board of directors. Diane has made a career change outside of our industry and will no longer be a member nor eligible to serve.

We wish her the best in her transition and want to acknowledge her many contributions as a committee member, thought leader, friend and the first female member of the CSIA board. Diane made a huge impact in her year of service.

The board of directors and Leadership Development (Nominating) Committee have already started identifying potential candidates from a Certified system integration company to serve the remaining three years of her term. Per the bylaws, the candidate will be approved by the board and then shared with the membership when the vacancy is filled.

If you have any questions or concerns during this transition process, please feel free to reach out to me directly at or to Jose Rivera at

Mike Miller, Chair CSIA Board of Directors

Click for more info:

Industrial Automation Exchange
Before you invest in the Industrial Automation Exchange . . .
Let's talk about how the Exchange is doing. What kind of traffic does it get? Will the Exchange send you qualified visitors? The two most important indicators of a website's health are page views and the number of its visitors. In these two areas alone, the growth of the Exchange has been outstanding. Take a look at the graph. The Exchange is just 2 years old and there's a definite growth trend.
Read more about visitor data and current discounts.

Take advantage of all the new features of the Exchange relaunch!

CSIA has received a lot of input from you regarding the Exchange, and we're incorporating many improvements as a result.

In the coming days, watch for several new features, including: 

  • Responsive and mobile friendly format
  • Homepage modifications and general layout modifications
  • Randomly rotating interviews on the homepage
  • Improved directory search with location filter (search by state and region)
  • The four filters below the directory search will be Industries, Specialties, Product Types and Certifications
  • Updates to the site search
  • Adding landing pages for Community and Answers and a Resource Library
  • Added community feed
  • Improvements on both organization and person profiles
  • Launching CSIA's Industrial Automation Blog

I will be doing a webinar in mid-July to cover all of the new features, so stay tuned for details on that. In the meantime, feel free to call me (Tony) at (800) 661-4914 or write if you want a 1-on-1 tour.


New and renewing Exchange subscribers. Join them!
CSIA Insurance (Taylor Gembridge, Inc)
Now also featuring Exchange Profiles of the Month
Contact Exchange community manager Tony Veroeven for information!
Quantifying Value of Certification
CSIA intern on board: Impact of Certification on company performance
As of June 20, CSIA has been receiving special support from a smart MBA candidate from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. David Huffman is deploying both his brains and energy to help our association get closer to cracking the code on our Certification program. David will be with us for a 10-week internship assignment, and  is tasked with determining the impact of Certification on company performance.
The CSIA Certification Six-Timer Club is growing!
Congratulations to Optimation Technologies and Bachelor Controls. Both have been CSIA Certified SIX times! They join Superior Controls in the CSIA Certification Six-Timer Club.

Latin America (LATAM) Update
Events in Mexico and Costa Rica
On June 22, CSIA's LATAM group conducted the third of its quarterly event series in Mexico City, sponsored this time by Panduit. Twenty-nine attendees from 18 companies attended. Gustavo Rojas, president of Gersa, a Certified CSIA member in Mexico, gave a presentation on business development. Ernesto López, general director of Lider y Control, provided useful advice on the topic of collection. Guillermo Martínez, automation manager at Panduit, provided an overview of their products and their Integrator Certification Program. In the feedback survey conducted after the session, the attendees gave very good ratings for both the topics presented and the organization of the event.

Attendees at CSIA's LATAM quarterly event in Mexico

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:

Estimating/quoting software for instrumentation and controls  
I am in the market for an estimating/quoting software for y industry. We provide comprehensive integration solutions in all facets of instrumentation and control systems. From small control panels to large scale SCADA, Fire Alarm and Security Systems. Can anyone suggest a software (other than Excel or Word) they are using and are happy with? It is difficult to find something for our industry.  
Waterfall or agile?
We have a lead engineer that wants to set up a pilot to try an agile style process for one of our projects. Right now our process is mainly water fall style (complete requirements in full, then complete design in full, then complete configuration in full, then complete testing, etc.). We were brainstorming on this as we have a few clients where traditional water fall may not be the best fit, ultimately we want to be more flexible to client's work styles while still delivering high quality high value systems. Do any of you have experience applying different software methodologies to traditional SCADA type projects (e.g. a project that establishes a computing/network platform, HMI, PLC, maybe a Historian)?

ERP Solutions
We are reviewing ERP solutions for our company, currently we have reviewed Quick Base, Epicor, Microsoft NAV. Any solution we consider will require the ability to interface with AutoCAD Electrical. Does anyone have any experience with the above solutions or is there any other solutions we should consider.

Brexit: What to expect and how to prepare for the 'new normal'
The U.K. has voted in a popular referendum to leave the EU. The referendum is not legally binding and the result was extremely narrow: 51.9 percent in favor of leaving, 48.1 percent in favor of remaining. This partly reflected a protest vote against a range of issues. The vote in favor of Brexit was unexpected and took the markets, and even those campaigning to leave, by surprise.  There are no settled, coherent views or plans for a post-EU Britain from the U.K. government, the EU or even those in favor of Brexit.

In the interim period, it will be critical for companies located both within and outside of the EU to monitor developments and prepare for the "new normal" for business relations with the U.K.
Read more.

CSIA insurance program: Insuring subcontractors
Since the start of the CSIA insurance program, it has become apparent that many members employ uninsured subcontractors. This is a concern because, in the event that a subcontractor causes a loss, this will appear on the member's loss record for five years, inevitably resulting in higher premiums for them.

Well, I have great news! CSIA is partnering with the International Society of Automation (ISA) to create The ISA Insurance Program for Automation Professionals, the coverage that subcontractors need at very affordable prices.

Partner Event
Best Practices
Project management training customized for SIs
Tuesday, Sept. 20 - Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016

After a successful debut in March 2016, CSIA, in partnership with ISA, is once again delivering live, web-based project management training. This training is specific to system integration companies and consistent with CSIA Best Practices©. The course is designed to prepare attendees (beginner to mid-level experienced project managers/engineers) 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.  Based on feedback from the first session we have increased the number of exercises and the level of system integration specificity.  Click for more information, and to register.

webinar series

Best Practices from Peer-to-Peer
Proactive quality - 
Shifting from reactive problem solving to operational excellence
Wednesday, July 20, 11:00 a.m. EDT
Presented by Concept Systems

Best Practices from Peer-to-Peer
Best Practices and Benchmarks Section 6 - System Development Lifecycle 
Wednesday, August 3, 11:00 a.m. EDT 
Presented by Jeff Miller, Director of Project Management, Interstates Control Systems 
This webinar is the fifth in a series to promote and provide training around CSIA Best Practices.

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 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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