“How much “hand-holding” do you have to have on your digital signage system, from “stock” software to fully automated integration to a third-party system? Where do you fit, and how much do you have to monitor?”
Unfortunately, a certain amount of “hand-holding” comes with almost all digital signage projects. The time required for hand-holding has been one of the reasons that many, if not most, AV integrators do not enthusiastically embrace digital signage. I believe it is very important to point out that while some hand-holding is always going to be a part of digital signage projects, especially the fully automated integration digital signage systems, much of the hand-holding is brought on by our industry’s lack of doing the right things up front.
For those who would like to spend less time administratively, here is my list for greatly reducing hand-holding:
1) Scope of Work: One should always write a scope of work that clearly defines the AV integrators exposure. The scope of work should clearly define all the training parameters and customization.
I know this is easier said than done, but any AV integration company that is going to be profitable and successful long-term has to develop written guidelines that tightly define
expectations. The AV integrator must use this scope of work to draw a line as to what was included in the price and what will be billed for. One must define how many people will be trained and how many hours will be designated to that training with a supporting written agenda. Anything less and you will find yourself bleeding financially and losing any hope of producing a reference.
2) Demo the CMS before the ink goes on the PO: Often, time spent hand-holding is unnecessary and brought on by NOT ensuring that the customer knows what to expect ahead of time.
In reality, a Content Management System (CMS) is a very different type of software, and requires detail-oriented people to manage it. Whoever is to be the point person for the CMS is not necessarily the creative person (in fact seldom is the person the creative person), but this person is the one responsible for day-to-day maintenance and upkeep to the digital signage system. If you don’t show the demo and ask the question, “Does this work for you or someone on your team?” then you will be hand-holding for a very long time.
3) Embrace the CMS Manufacturer: The better CMS companies have dedicated people who know their product better than anyone in your company. Sell their hand-holding customer services to your clients and get back to selling the next digital signage project.
AV projects often come with hand-holding. Digital signage projects absolutely come with hand-holding. The amount of hand-holding is largely dependent on how well the salesperson for the AV integrator did their job up front.