CSIA seeks greater connection with end user community
System integrators are the experts who connect automation and control systems throughout a manufacturing facility. Now the system integration association is ready to make a connected between those integrators and the people they serve.
The Control System Integrators Association laid out its goal of creating greater outreach to end users at the plant floor level during its 2011 CSIA Executive Conference in Orlando last week. The goal will be achieved by delivering more information to the end user community and by increasing certification and educating end users and members about its importance.
Bob Lowe, the CSIA’s first full-time executive director and a former system integrator himself, cited several areas where the association needed to make progress in the near term:
- Marketing to the end users. “Our partners the value of CSIA and how CSIA can help end users understand the importance of CSIA membership.”
- End users don’t know CSIA even exists. “This is something identified in our marketing study. What need to do is get articles, and we need your help in doing that.” Lowe said that CSIA need to deliver valuable content to the end user community. In a major step toward accomplishing this, CSIA has a content partnership with CFE Media, which publishes Plant Engineering and Control Engineering magazine.
- Some end users don’t understand what a system integrator is. “Maybe we’re too close to situation,” said Lowe. “Maybe we need to go back to automation and controls 101.”
- What’s important to our customers? Why do they value CSIA certification? They want to seek more input from the user community. “As an association, we don’t have direct access to end users. Can we count on your help?”
CSIA has seen membership rise steadily in the past few years, climbing almost 10% from 2009 to 2011. While certified members have fallen slightly in the same period, most of that was attributed to mergers in the market.
Outgoing CSIA board chairman Ed Diehl said the association has the goal of increasing membership to more than 600 by 2015 while increasing the number of certified members to 150 and growing international membership in the same time period. Diehl is being succeeded by Steve Goldberg for a three-year term as CSIA board president.
The association has five immediate goals in its efforts to market to the end user audience:
- Raise online profile
- Expand media relationships
- Forge partnerships with other associations
- Provide more tools to certified firms
- Increase membership/certification.
Control System Integrators Association