The system integrator's evolving role

Dec. 2, 2021

Chris McNamara: Tell me, Jose, how is the role of the system integrator changing, as digital transformation and manufacturing gains momentum?

Jose Rivera: It is very interesting because what we have seen is that the first phases of digital transformation, the ones that involve connection and making data visible, they may not look very different from what system integrators have done in the past. But they are creating the base for the next phases, which are related more to predictive, adaptive and intelligent. And so, in our community of system integrators, we have some that view that nothing has changed. And I have done system integration transformation for the past 25 years, what I would say is that, it's not the same. The scope has changed in a very big way. What you were doing before was very much focused on the plant in the past. Today, you're including supply chains, you're including your end user, customer, you're also involving your workforce much more than you were ever before. And with the data richness that we have today, and the availability of relatively cheap computing power, you're leveraging this much more than you were able to do in the past.

Chris: Yeah. And those workforces are being distributed just like their assets are, and that, you know, no longer exists within a facility. You know, as we gain momentum with this Industry 4.0 stuff, and this digital transformation stuff, and as everybody gets a greater understanding of these, you know, tools, techniques, and technologies that are central to this stuff, do you find that people you interact with have a better understanding of who and what system integrators are, in a general sense in the industrial space? Is there a greater understanding of what you guys do?

Jose: I think so. I think that people understand that, I have a problem, I have this possible solution components, and somebody must put all of this together. And that's normally the system integrator. So, yes, I think it's like the missing link between components and the real solution. But system integrators, the market is one of many, many companies, mostly smaller companies, so they don't have the marketing muscle that larger players have. And so I think CSIA plays a role. We have an electronic directory that helps these companies gain some relevancy on the internet and allowing end users to find them.