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AV Systems Integrator Vs. Managed Services Provider — What’s the Difference?

AV Systems Integrator Vs. Managed Services Provider — What’s the Difference?

Who provides the most value to your business?

Your AV systems are significant contributors to your company’s productivity and bottom line. When it comes time to elevate the conference and training rooms in your Scottsdale, AZ, home office, or build out new meeting spaces in a second office, you want to ensure you’re investing in the right solutions that will create meaningful experiences and promote business growth and productivity. 

Two vastly different standards are emerging and diverging in the enterprise market: the AV system integrator model and the managed services provider (MSP) model. What’s the difference, and which models delivers more value to your business? Find out below. 

SEE ALSO: What Does a Good Managed Services Contract Look Like?

AV Integrator: Project Focus

AV system integrators approach AV on a project-by-project basis. When your company needs a new conference room, training room, or digital signage installation, an AV integrator will work with you to design the right solution for your space, install the hardware, software, and controls…..and then leave. 

The project-based approach has significant flaws that can impact your business’s productivity and bottom line.

  • No day two support. While many AV integrators now offer post-installation service plans, these plans may not clearly define who’s responsible for problems like downtime, repairs, and software updates. Frequently, when multiple teams manage and operate the technology systems, conflict arises between executive managers, in-house IT, and integrators when issues arise. If a device goes offline or a security measure needs patching, you may be stuck calling several people to resolve the problem — and prolonged downtime costs your company time, productivity, and meeting availability.
  • No long-term roadmap. An AV integrator may build the best conference room you’ve ever used, but what comes next when you need a new conference room in your second location a few months down the road? Unfortunately, because integrators work on a project-by-project basis, you’re forced to begin the design-bid process all over again, possibly with a new integrator. The single-project approach slows deployment and complicates your company’s ability to standardize systems across multiple locations. 
  • Sunk costs. At the rate technology advances, AV systems start depreciating as soon as you purchase them. Buying and owning conference room systems, video walls, and the like is a huge capital expenditure that provides little return on the investment when the systems inevitably break or fail to meet your business needs in a few years. 

When your company purchases AV systems from an integrator, you take on all the costs and responsibilities of ownership. AV integrators give you a solution — but at the end of the day, you’re the one responsible for making it work. 

MSP: Business Outcomes Focus

Managed service providers (MSP) approach AV with a business outcome focus. MSPs view AV systems as strategies deployed to facilitate measurable improvements in business performance. From day one, an MSP will work with you to identify your most pressing business problems and demonstrate how their AV design, deployment, and support services will create value by increasing uptime, accessibility, and productivity. 

The outcome-based approach offers significant benefits over the solution-based approach. 

  • Lifecycle support. An MSP provides you with 100% support from day one through the end of a system’s lifecycle. Not only will your service provider design and deploy your new conference rooms, training rooms, and digital signage, but you’re not responsible for making the solutions work — your MSP is. MSPs offer remote monitoring and management to proactively detect and resolve issues, often before you even realize a device was down! When problems do arise, you only need to make one phone call to your MSP, instead of two or three calls. 
  • Long-term roadmap. An MSP thinks beyond the project-by-project approach. Service providers can design and offer program-level management and deployment services across global applications. That means when you need 100 new conference rooms in five different locations, your MSP can swiftly deploy standardized systems across every office.
  • Predictable expenses. As stated above, owning AV systems leaves your company with the short end of the stick when the equipment and software reach the end of their lifecycles. Under a managed services contract, your MSP owns and manages the systems, and all you’re responsible for is a monthly fee to operate them. The subscription-based model eliminates the need to budget for large, unpredictable AV expenses, and easily allows your company to upgrade to new systems as part of your contract.

Under a managed services contract, you are not responsible for any part of your AV systems — the hardware, software, or management. Your MSP accepts all the risks and responsibilities to keep your systems running smoothly and meeting your defined business outcomes. If your provider fails to deliver the promised outcomes, your company has grounds to request clawbacks and penalties. At the end of the day, a managed services provider offers nothing less than a complete solution and 100% support. 

Can your organization use managed services to increase efficiency? To learn more about flexibly outsourcing your AV technology needs to an experienced MSP, reach out to us here or click the chat box below to connect instantly. We look forward to working with you.

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