What has CSIA accomplished?

The organization is 12 years old, and, according to Bob Reinhart, outgoing Chairman, has accomplished quite a lot. CSIA has become "thought leaders for the information technology industry." If that sounds a little ARC-ish, it ought to, since ARC has taken CSIA on as a client. Seriously, though, CSIA has built a brand that has raised the bar for all system integrators by insisting on higher and higher benchmarks. They've forged liasons with AHTD, with ISA, with WBF (and MESA, as you will see later) and with OMAC (which is now a wholly owned subsidiary of ISA). Many integrators are entering their second audit for their 2nd Registration, and CSIA has looked at licensing some knowledge base, selling the statistics ($300 and you don't get invited to lunch). Reinhart noted that it was CSIA founder, Charlie Bergman, who said, "Every idea you give away, you receive many more in return." Ray Batchelor, the new Chairman, said, "I see CSIA as a standard that the industry looks to, for ethics, professionalism, and performance." He expects to see the marketing emphasis of CSIA increasing as a way to get clients to help step up the standard of performance, ethics, and professionalism of all integrators, not just CSIA members. Executive Director Norm O'Leary gave his State of the Association report, in which he noted that currently there are 213 members, 67 of them registered, and all expected to become registered within three years. There are also 51 Associate Members, all of whom are availing themselves of the most important table top show in automation tonight. In about 20 minutes, 250 integrators, most of them CEOs and Chief Engineers, and all with checkbooks, will begin to visit and mingle at the tabletop show that the Associate Members put on. O'Leary noted that they have learned that magazine advertising is "hideously expensive. If we advertised with a full page color ad in Control and Control Engineering for a year, it would wipe out our budget." On the other hand, it might generate new members, and end users who specify CSIA registration for their system integrators. You pays yer money and ya takes yer choice, Norm. O'Leary noted that they expect some reduction in membership as the "Become a Registered Member or depart" program starts to be felt. He also noted that CSIA had retained Shari Worthington's Telesian Technology to redesign their famously horrible website, and to bring more viewers to the site. Shari promised that it would be "Norm proof" shortly. CSIA now means REGISTERED, and specifying CSIA means value to the end users, a stop loss and risk abatement in project management. This is a major accomplishment of CSIA. Some comments from new Executive Board candidates: Bob Ziegenfuss, who is one of the founders of CSIA, and a former Executive Chairman, noted that, "we need to make the community really see us as the thought leaders." Jim Campbell, current treasurer, and candidate, noted, "I am a NI integrator, and NI dragged me here kicking and screaming. I went through the validation of registration, and found it incredibly valuable, so I volunteered to help." The Liasons from WBF and ISA Rob Renner, Executive Director of ISA discussed what ISA should be doing, and pointed out that the focus groups, including one just for SIs, that ISA has been running have noted that ISA is respected, but not revered anymore, and that ISA needs to change and change dramatically or it will become irrelevant. There is a need for ISA, he said. "We have to provide the content people need to do their jobs." ISA wants to be setting the standard for automation. Renner continued that ISA needed to shore up their core competencies, and pointed out that ISA has developed some of the most important standards in manufacturing, S88, S95, S99 and S100. He said that he believed that the Certified Automation Professional certification will be of great benefit, along with CSIA registration, for system integrators, and that he is dedicated to improving relationships with corporations "not just as exhibitors and customers, but as partners in the enterprise of providing knowledge and training to the profession." He noted that OMAC, which will be operated as an independent but wholly owned subsidiary of ISA, gives ISA even more validity for the discrete automation world. WBF Eats at MESA's Table Rodger Jeffrey, incoming Chair of WBF (which was formerly called World Batch Forum), said that as a result of his attendance in Palm Desert last year, WBF has decided to add CSIA to its affiliate organizations that it shares information with. He also announced a greatly expanded cooperative agreement with MESA. ISA, OMAC, WBF, MESA, CSIA. This sounds like the beginning of a plan to really forge a true association that can benefit the entire automation profession, both process and discrete, from the sensor to the enterprise. If somebody wants help doing this, I'm in. Can You Blog an Integration Project? Putman Media alumnus David Greenfield shared his vision of being able to "real time" blog an authentic integration project in his present magazine. I am interested and quite skeptical that he will be able to get permission from the customers to permit this to go forward. I hate it when my competitors are smart. Now off to the tabletop show. Comments? --Walt Boyes