What are the key considerations that integrators should review with their customers regarding total cost of ownership to ensure that there are no surprises?”
At the top of every experienced integrator’s list about how we should inform our customers, the total cost of ownership would be the investment associated with keeping content fresh and relevant. Long term, the investment associated with producing new content and managing new content will, without competition, be the largest and most important investment made in your digital signage system, assuming your organization is committed to having your digital signage system stay relative and productive.
However, this insight from “Captain Obvious” is just one of the continuing cost or investments associated with keeping your Dynamic Digital Signage (DDS) system alive and well and bringing value to your business. Here are a few more that an experienced integrator should advise you to plan for:
Electronic or Hardware Failure: There has never been and will never be a sizable installation of technology where something does not fail. One should recognize and plan up front that ongoing support is not going to be a choice. A digital signage system owner will either pro-actively put a contract in place with a service organization, or they will be reacting to every challenge as a one off. Very important note, I often hear owners of DDS systems reflect that they do not need to invest in a proactive service contract because their equipment has a two, three or up to five-year warranty. True, but it leaves out that most DDS systems deploy hardware in places that are not accessible from a standing position on the floor. So don’t be surprised if you call the manufacturer and they send their service person to the site and then call you and tell you that your warranty does not cover renting a lift or climbing on a 10-foot ladder or getting on a cruise ship while at sea. A word of caution and support, if your integrator is not discussing specifics on how your system can be maintained, you have the wrong integrator.
Team member change: Every organization has turnover, so you should strategically plan for training more than one person for critical path positions. Your integrator should also help you to recognize if the person they are training is not well-suited for the important task of monitoring and maintaining your system and updating your content.
Technology Refresh: Yes today’s hardware is much more durable than hardware of just 10 years ago but that does not negate the reality that hardware needs to be refreshed at least every 5 to 7 years to just remain supportive of the new innovative content that can make their DDS system more valuable to the organization.
Using Metrics: Every integrator worthy of engagement should be discussing and helping you implement metrics for your DDS system. There is an internal cost to the organization for the consistent review and adjustments from these metrics that carry an investment or cost to the organization.
Don’t forget to back things up: Just because this is DDS, it does not negate the importance of backing up your content. Very few organizations actually perform backups on their DDS systems, and they forget that even DDS hardware can have a failure and lose content. Yes, most systems today store content on both the server (Cloud or Premise) but that does not remove the responsibility to put in place a “REAL” backup and recovery plan. Failure to do this will cost your organization a lot of money.
These are just a few of the more critical and obvious investments associated with a long-term DDS system. For more insight, please consider coming to DSE 2017 in Vegas this year and attending my seminar on “Walking the Walk” to learn more.