Adding IT requires adding appropriate resources and deploying those resources. Those resources may come from a partnership, but there is need for additional resources nonetheless.
The other point I’d like to make is that it is just as important to communicate the plan to everyone involved as it is to have a plan in the first place. Everyone involved should have a good understanding of what the plan is and what every step of the plan looks like. Over-communication is infinitely better than none.
4. Hire The Right Employees … And Customers
One of the biggest challenges in adding IT to AV is ensuring you have a team that is capable and supportive of this new endeavor. At times, getting this team assembled requires hiring new employees.
In AV we tend to “fill vacant positions” rather than looking at where our business will be in a year or three years down the road and determining what our needs will be then. We tend to try to hire replacements with the same skill sets as previous employees. When adding IT to AV we need new skill sets and with that we need to look in new directions.
Start your job descriptions from scratch. Write the job description as if you were doing a needs analysis on your company. You will often find if you start from scratch rather than using an existing job description you will come up with something completely different. Sometimes change is good.
What about your customers? Are your customers asking for IT in their AV? If not, you may need to hire some new customers. Your customers may be the ones who are stagnant and if that’s the case you may be missing out on a lot of new business. Sometimes you need to look at business trends and wonder why your customers are not following them. You may need to hire some new customers, and possibly even fire some others.
5. Training And Certifications
You are not always going to hire new employees to embark on new endeavors (or new customers for that matter). So you will also need to grow the ones you have. Training is the best way to do this.
I completely believe in this. I have trained people most of my career. It is the best way to get loyal team members to grow and stay happy. If you have people with the aptitude and attitude, you will find that they are often worth their weight in gold. Making a training investment in them is well worth it. These types of employees are willing to grow with you and they will take your organization to new heights. The risk of not training your people is far greater than training them and having them leave.
Certifications in IT will gain your organization a foot in the door. A lot of the certifications do not hold much weight in the IT industry, but they do meet a litmus test and allow your people to get in the door to start a discussion. From there, your people need to sell the value of AV and IT combined or they will fall into the trap of competing with every other IT integrator at their game. So, change the game.
The bottom line is that AV is the true value-add in AV/IT. IT will bring the business, but AV will prove that your company can do things that no other player can. So again I say, change the game—and win.
Maxwell Kopsho (CTS-D/I, PMP, CQT, CCNA R&S and Security, CompTIA Network+ and CTT+) has worked in the AV industry for over 18 years in various management and technical roles. Over the last 28 years Max has acquired an extensive background in supporting AV and IT systems, computer networks, telecom, and VTC systems.
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