If you’re researching systems integration vendors for the first time because you have a new upcoming project, or you simply want to outsource tasks you’ve been handling in-house, there are several important factors to consider before locking in your next supply chain systems service partner.
Integration suppliers can help you access droves of valuable, previously unavailable process information. However, you must ensure that any prospective implementation vendor is a good match for your forthcoming digital transformation project. While there are many steps to take before even starting to interview integration service suppliers that we won’t cover here, there few important factors to consider when it comes time to select your next integration systems company.
In this post, we take a deep dive into seven of these hiring facets while offering some additional insight into how you should select a system integrator in Pennsylvania.
1. The initial assessment
Before any prospective control systems integrator can understand your unique requirements, the vendor will need to supply you with a reliable initial assessment, including an evaluation of the tools you’re currently using. The vendor will have to look at the background of your system architecture and provide meaningful feedback as it pertains to your business objectives.
Once they complete this first step, your potential service partner should be able to provide a blueprint along with a series of recommendations for integrating your systems. If a vendor appears to offer a solution before completing a comprehensive assessment, this is a pretty strong indicator that you should continue your search.
2. Background and experience
Whichever system integration service you choose, don’t forget to verify that its engineers and technicians have the appropriate experience in your focused industrial domain. Ask the vendor for customer testimonials and white papers documenting successful outcomes for similar integration projects in your field.
After you’ve confirmed the company can implement the scalable architecture your need. This added layer of social proof should give you the confidence to move forward . Ultimately, it’s left to the integration service provider to demonstrate that it is up for the job. If the vendor can paint a clear picture of their methodology and a roadmap outlining the steps for completing the implementation, it’s probably a good fit.
3. A proven approach
While methodology generally falls along the same lines as experience and expertise, it’s still important to understand the vendor’s process for integrating your complex system. Once you’ve identified that the system integrator has tacked similar projects before, start honing in on how they managed to pull them off and determine if this approach makes sense for your business.
The vendor shouldn’t have any trouble addressing your objections, and if a strategy doesn’t make sense, be willing to admit it. Never hesitate to ask for process metrics that the company’s project failure rates and any other documentation that support their verbal claims.
4. Vendor reputation
If a prospective integration service provider has been competing in the Pennsylvania marketplace for any considerable length of time, showcasing successful projects for brands you recognize shouldn’t be any trouble at all. This transparency will tell you how stable the service provider is and should serve as a strong indicator of the level of support you’re likely to receive after they wrap your project.
A company that’s been operating in the area for a while is more likely to stick around after implementing the solution to ensure the final outcome is stable and robust enough to accept future enhancements as you scale your operations.
5. Training and maintenance plans
It’s always a bad sign when a systems integrator disappears unceremoniously after completing a project. Successful implementations almost always involve some level of post hoc involvement on the service provider’s part. The implementation phase is really just half the process, as your system will require knowledge briefings, employee training, and ongoing maintenance.
Reputable system integrators will schedule knowledge transfer sessions with you after the project completes. This additional and necessary follow-up ensures that your industrial automation solutions the service provider installed. By the end, your team should be able to comfortably train and manage any operators using the integrated software.
You should have a pretty clear picture of the vendor’s purposed training initiative from the outset. Request that the system integrator identifies any key team members involved in both implementation and the training phases, and try to get a clear sense of their roles in the training and maintenance phases in addition to their qualifications and experience.
6. Implementation tools
Your systems integrator should offer an extensive briefing that outlines the capabilities of various tools required to implement your project. Typically, this is where integration service providers present your organization with a specific use case that details the advantages and disadvantages of the tools they’ve elected to deploy.
By the end of the information session, you should have a clear overview of how scalable the solution is, whether or not the vendor’s coding methodologies and deployment strategies are easy to understand, and if the solution is implementable at a reasonable cost.
7. Additional outsourced services
We a bit touched on training and maintenance services in factor number five, but you will likely need additional support, particularly when it comes to system maintenance. What level of service you need is ultimately up to you, it’s always recommended that you confirm the integration service provider offers an ongoing maintenance and support program.
You should be able to choose from a variety of terms that span anywhere from two weeks to a comprehensive and continuous maintenance platform. Whatever you do, ensure that whatever supplier you go with can provide a system maintenance plan that meets your requirements.
Why choose EZSoft?
EZSoft is a class-leading, full-service integrator of process control systems that helps clients in the food, metal, and chemical process industries complete their critical system integration projects.
For more on how EZSoft can align a new, more efficient system with your current manufacturing processes, request more information on our site now or dial us by phone at (484) 568-5040.