We all receive value from the governing bodies that regulate industry and standardize the products we use every day. We need to feel confident: we rely on the Food and Drug Administration to certify the safety and purity of our foods and medicines and the National Institute of Standards to ensure there’s a gallon of gas in the tank when it says so on the pump. Consumer trust is critical to the buying process.
In the system integration business it is no different. Adherence to Standards and Best Practices is key to ensuring that systems integrators do their jobs right, time and time again, regardless of the people assigned to the project.
The governing body that verifies and certifies the correct steps take place inside a system integration engineering house is the CSIA (Control System Integrator Association). Avanceon helped form the CSIA in the early 1990’s to start providing structure to what was at the time a fledgling and rather wild and ‘cowboy’ industry called Control System Integration.
The founding members of the organization tasked themselves with developing a Best Practices and Benchmark (BP&B) standard that addressed the majority of the areas (Project Management, Financial, Legal Risk, Project Execution, Communication, HR, etc.) where an SI could go off the tracks and derail a customer project or damage the career of its associates. The BP&B effort succeeded in providing the SI community with the foundation and details for executing and auditing our special type of work. This structure ensures that, like ISO9000, an SI takes the correct steps to drive a project towards success.
Even though Avanceon served as an integral original contributor to the BP&B effort (many of the BP&Bs developed from our practices), we still find continuing value in the three-year audit cycle the organization requires to achieve and maintain certification. We see value in the audit and accountability it imposes as, regardless of our best intentions to walk the walk, we can always improve and be better. The CSIA spot check, audit and BP&B-infused continuous improvement culture is one of the main reasons that Avanceon’s quality and customer satisfaction ratings improve year over year. It’s a method by which we ensure we drive continuous improvement and keep our project approach fresh and current.
It would be a natural reaction to assume that, in the 18 years that we’ve been certified, we might feel the value of certification had dimmed. At the end of the day, however, we firmly believe certification provides a consistent and continuous way to drive improvement for our processes, raise our accountability, and deliver successfully to our customers. We want to ensure the companies that put their faith in us that Avanceon’s gallon of gas goes as far as it can – and that it’s a true gallon or, more appropriately, more than a gallon (of high octane).
For more information on Avanceon’s CSIA certification here