Top Integrators 2020: COVID-19 Challenges

SCN Top 50 2020: COVID-19 Challenge
(Image credit: Future)

Along with our annual Top 50 Systems Integrators feature, we polled a selection of leading firms on industry hot topics.

SCN: How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your business?

Julie Solomon, CCS Presentation Systems

Julie Solomon, Chief Marketing Officer, CCS Presentation Systems

We have had one simple objective guiding us during these difficult times: keep our customers, vendors, and CCS employees safe. We learned to be flexible and understanding when navigating delays and when emotions ran high. We embraced working from home, provided PPE to protect everyone, installed temperature check tablets in our own lobbies, and learned to celebrate the little things.

Doug Carnell, Guitar Center

Doug Carnell, VP of Business Solutions at Guitar Center (AVDG's Parent Company)

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to look at technology and our environments entirely differently, and with these developments in mind, we are developing and testing new technologies that will produce solutions that are effective, adaptive, and scalable. For commercial and corporate clients, we are seeing the need to create no-touch and socially distant spaces. Thus, we are leveraging technology in every way possible to bring teams together while keeping them apart. When the pandemic hit, we were able to shift quickly in collaborating with our clients and partners to create long-term digital strategies that drive engagement and support well-being.

Jeff Stoebner, President and CEO, AVI Systems

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted many of our customers dramatically. 2020 will likely see our overall business down by 10 to 15 percent at year end.

Marina Gregory, New Era Technology

Marina Gregory, Chief Administrative Officer, New Era Technology

COVID-19 and related shutdowns impacted our businesses, particularly in the second quarter. However, through careful management and early action, we were able to maintain a strong business. The true value of our managed services businesses was demonstrated during this time—managed services continued to grow as customers required greater levels of support for remote workforces.

Rob Gilfillan, Cenero

Rob Gilfillan, President, Cenero

COVID changed the way people worked and interacted nearly overnight. As an essential business, Cenero continued to design, integrate, and support collaboration technology for many clients. However, we were not able to access buildings to complete projects in some instances because of the shut-down of office spaces. We worked with our clients as they switched gears and helped them establish UC collaboration strategies to enable productive virtual meetings.

Lisa Hale, Level 3 Audiovisual

Lisa Hale, CAO, Level 3 Audiovisual

Early on, we saw our clients placing projects on hold as the landscape was uncertain. Product delays are a concern but have been minimal. Revenue is down 20 percent, but we made the necessary changes and are financially stable. We’re now working with clients on their technology roadmaps, considering new measures for health and safety.

Gilberto Romo, IES Communications

Gilbert Romo, Vice President Sales and Marketing, IES Communications

The impact has been more economic than pandemic-specific; our growth will be tempered by our ability to increase the workforce, whether it is a sudden increase or sustained increase. We have a diversified business that encompasses many types of customers and various technologies. Our company has seen our offerings increase as new technologies are being implemented to ensure social distancing and safety measures in the cloud infrastructure space, healthcare, education, warehouse, and public spaces.

Brian Fichter, Carousel Industries

Brian Fichter, Vice President of Visual Collaboration, Carousel Industries

Customer budgets have been disrupted, project priorities have shifted, and uncertainty has increased for all. Carousel has, however, withstood the pandemic and through our focus on innovation,  customer success and collaboration, we’ve identified and capitalized on opportunities for new services to help clients automate workflows to support a growing remote workforce. Given our deep capabilities in data center services such as business continuity and disaster recovery, we bring a strong focus on business resilience unique in the AV space.

Anthony Cuellar

Anthony Cuellar, SVP of Global Marketing, Diversified

Like many others, our business overall is down due to the pandemic, but the diversity in our service offerings has minimized the impact. As our clients and prospects began phasing back into their work environments, we began to consider and design new solutions for their health and safety while still offering the collaboration and productivity tools required to support the business or use case.  The pandemic accelerated several portfolio solution roadmaps like VitalSign, Pulse, and ReFresh that met the needs of the market. We’ve seen a steady trend of growth and recovery as we adapted to the market and evolved our business to meet the new demands.

Matt McClain, Key Code Media

Matt McClain, Director of Marketing, Key Code Media

Key Code Media is classified as an essential infrastructure services provider during this time, and we remain open for business with a few modifications. Luckily, we switched all our internal operations and fulfillment to the cloud a few years back. This allows our team to work from anywhere—as long as they have access to a web browser. Our on-site engineers have been trained on COVID-19 and follow a strict policy of mask-wearing, temp checks and social distancing.

Click here to read the full SCN Top 50 2020 list.

Megan A. Dutta

Megan A. Dutta is a pro AV industry journalist, and the former content director for Systems Contractor News (SCN) and Digital Signage Magazine, both Future U.S. publications. Dutta previously served as the marketing communications manager at Peerless-AV, where she led the company’s marketing and communications department. Dutta is the recipient of AVIXA's 2017 Young AV Professional Award and Women in Consumer Technology's 2018 Woman to Watch Award. Dutta is co-founder of Women of Digital Signage, an organization designed to provide a pathway to promote networking, mentoring, and personal growth.