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Top Integrators 2021: COVID-19 Challenges

Top 50 Systems Integrators
(Image credit: Future)

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

What’s been the biggest change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Arash Raznahan, Director of Technology, HS Solutions

Arash Raznahan, HS Solutions

(Image credit: HS Solutions)

Construction work was considered an “essential business” and did not get shut down during the lockdown; therefore, we had to adapt quickly to public health guidelines to keep our employees safe. Staff who needed to be at the office went there during different hours to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. For the most part, our field staff got vaccinated as soon as they became eligible. A large portion of our business is K-12 school projects, so it was very important to ensure we promoted a safe work environment for that clientele. 

[Top Integrators 2021: Technology Trends for 2022]

From a sales and operations perspective, all our interactions transitioned to virtual meetings. In-person meetings went away overnight – no more onsite scope reviews, no more taking clients out to lunch. We are still doing it that way. It really hasn’t gone back to “the way it was,” and most of our relation building meetings are through virtual medians.  

Jason Derector, Principal, Spectra Audiovisual Design

Spectra

(Image credit: Spectra)

Our organization has successfully adopted a “hybrid” workflow model. We have become exceptionally efficient, nimble, and seamlessly working both remotely and on job sites.  Our transition has been unified and exceedingly effective due to great teamwork, collaboration, and coordinated efforts in all departments.

Most importantly, our entire organization (and all our clients) are very grateful for all our workers who never stopped going to job sites during these extenuating circumstances.  Our technicians, programmers, project managers, field engineers, office workers, and admins have been steadfast, resilient, going to job sites (and office), and acting as “front line” workers during the pandemic.  We are very appreciative of their unwavering commitment. 

Dave Van Hoy, President, Advanced Systems Group

ASG Dave Van Hoy

(Image credit: Advanced Systems Group)

The biggest change is the acceleration of remote work and virtual operations—and their impact on everything we do. Today’s systems integration is about usability, resource management, collaboration, cloud computing, and storage. While we’re still focused solving our clients’ challenges, the vendors making the software and physical interfaces are having to work closely with the cloud service providers themselves. Today’s SIs need to maintain solid relationships with traditional and new vendors, while our relationships with hyperscalers are just as important. This represents a radical shift. 

Matt McClain, Director, Key Code Media

Matt McClain, Key Code Media

Key Code Media switched all our internal operations and fulfillment to the cloud a few years back. This allows our team to work from anywhere via a web browser. Our on-site engineers have been trained on COVID-19 requirements and follow a strict daily screening policy.  

[Top Integrators 2021: COVID-19 Recovery]

Bob Swing, CEO, IVCi

Bob Swing, IVCi

(Image credit: IVCi)

IVCi is proud that our business was deemed essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. We utilized our creative thinking and problem-solving talents when we were presented with some unique client situations, such as implementing telemedicine solutions to one of New York's largest hospital systems without being permitted to enter the facility. Our box trucks turned into makeshift installation hubs, setting up shop outside loading docks to run the network and configure the technology. 

Angela Nolan, Chief Operating Officer, Vistacom

Angela Nolan, Vistacom

(Image credit: Vistacom)

Vistacom has adopted a hybrid working environment that gives our employees the flexibility and security of working from home, while also incorporating the collaborative nature of regular in-office hours. We believe this also gives us the best results to foster teamwork and experience parity for our business. One major change to our regular workflow was including the use of Microsoft Teams as an option for all meetings. Teams has empowered us to be more productive and to have less meetings that run over and waste time.

 

Mark J. Pescatore

Mark J. Pescatore, Ph.D., is the content director of Systems Contractor News.