Outsourcing Vital Business Services

CEDIA’s Professional Services program offers outsourced services for marketing, web design, public relations, accounting and more.

By Coleen Sterns

Back in Little League, the best ball players tended to be the best all-around athletes. But as players advance, they become more specialized. And when they hit the Major Leagues, even though everyone is a capable athlete, even the weakest pitchers are more effective on the mound than the strongest-throwing shortstops. The difference: core competencies.

Every integration company has a core competency, either with its owner or with one or more key technicians on his or her staff. Efficiency within this core competency is the key to winning bids or clients, satisfying the customer, and ultimately to business survival.

Like a baseball team, integrators have to put specialists in each position and let them do what they do best in order to win. But integrators don’t have the Yankees’ budget. That’s where www.cedia.net/psat CEDIA Professional Service Members come in. The association has gathered several “star players” who are specialists in their chosen field, including programmer, marketing, web design, public relations, and accounting.

Case in point: PanTech Design, a five-year-old Crestron-authorized independent control and design firm out of Grapevine, Texas, has a core competency in programming.

“One of the patterns we found again and again was we had customers who knew one area of the business, say, audio, like the back of their hand, but found themselves having to reinvent the wheel from scratch on the other aspects of every project,” explains co-owner Troy Morgan. “They would jump through hoops because they didn’t have the experts on staff. By simplifying and standardizing as much design and programming as we could, and acting as behind-the-scenes consultants, we are able to connect them with people who already had wheels! The result is faster completion, lower costs, better interaction with customers, and higher profits.”

Ryan Brown, who heads up Media Environment Design, has similar observations, “We find that many integrators struggle to streamline their processes, many times finding they’re just too busy to help themselves out,” says Brown. “They have specific needs to fill, but not enough for a full-time employee. We work as a value-added resource to the integrator – providing a level of business consultation, system design and documentation, and private theater design that most companies cannot afford to have in house.”

Unless an integrator is tapping the expertise of a given technician almost every day, it doesn’t make sense to keep him or her on the payroll. Add costs of benefits to a typical salary—plus the costs of advertising and recruiting to fill the position, training, payroll taxes, uncertainty over the effects of health care reform and the potential liability of having to keep up the payroll for days or weeks between jobs that truly tap his or expertise—and the case for bringing in a hired gun on a temporary basis, as opposed to a full-time, permanent hire, becomes significant.

Studies show that replacing a full-time skilled technology employee can cost up to three times the employee’s annual salary. Human resources costs are so significant, in fact, that the ill-timed departure of a key employee – during a time when cash flow does not support recruiting and hiring a replacement – can be devastating to a small business.

That sort of financial and accounting analysis is the type provided by another member of the group: Leslie Shiner, founder and president of the ShinerGroup. Her role is to provide her clients with tools and techniques to streamline the financial accounting, estimating and forecasting pieces of the business, so her clients can focus their time on what they do best – project management and execution.

Original Source: cepro.com