The new role of a Systems Integrator

Throughout the years, Systems Integrator has played a vital role in delivering theologies to customers. They were always looked at as a major player in the relationship between customers and different Vendors and OEMs.

But the nature of a Systems Integrator role has changed and evolved overtime, and we are now seeing another major shift in the market that is affecting the nature, value and role of an SI.

What has changed?

In the past few years, a few things has changed in the market:

  • All major vendors and OEMS are trying to increase their share of market through expanding their offerings to cover more areas, so for example, CISCO now provides servers, HP now is pushing their network solutions, and Oracle is pushing their Oracle on Oracle concept.
  • Vendors are now being more direct, they want to take control of their customers, and they want to have a direct relationship with them. Today, any customer can pick up the phone and call HP or CISCO asking for a solution, and they will be more than happy to provide such customers with designs, BOQs, and other free services.
  • Installation of equipment, configuration, and first level support used to be one the main services provided by SI’s, but now vendors are also looking to take their own share of that pie, so HP now provides standard installation and power on services that is done by an HP engineer, and CISCO is increasing their support services to include more than just replacement of a faulty component.

The Classical SI

Within the past few years, Solutions Integrators has classically provided the following services:

  • Design of a solution that included different components
  • Order and Deliver if different equipment
  • Installation and configuration of components
  • First and sometimes second level support

So basically different vendors today are transforming Sis into a delivery partner, someone who provides the financial and commercial covers, order the items and deliver them to the client, and everything else will be done by the vendors.

This reduction of services provided by SI’s has also meant that the gross margins has also decreased. Also the commoditization of services (as they are now provided through the vendors) has meant that it is very difficult for a certain SI to provide a unique value.

What could be the new role of an SI?

When looking at things from a positive angles, OEMs and Vendors has made the life of an SI more easier and abstract, instead of an SI having to spend money and resources in training their staff on how to configure and support a server, they now need to focus on how would these different servers and network equipment be used to solve business problems.