Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) is a not-for-profit, global trade association for system integration companies.
System integration companies are generally independent organizations that use technical and project management expertise to seamlessly integrate hardware and software from multiple suppliers into control, automation, and information management solutions for end-user clients.
In particular, system integrators design and implement sophisticated control systems for manufacturing, process, and other industrial facilities, and they do so in a wide variety of industries, ranging from food and beverage to coal and gas.
The Importance of System Integration
There are many reasons why system integrators can be fundamental to a successful automation project. System integrators have specialized knowledge of available tools, as well as current industry standards and practices. They provide human resources efficiencies and are accountable for time and expenses. And, importantly, their cross-industry experience allows them to bring innovative solutions to resolve challenges.
In short, system integrators provide manufacturers and processors with access to low-risk, safe, and successful applications of automation technology, helping them reduce cost, increase production, use less energy, and lower their impact on the environment.
The Beginning of CSIA
During the 1960s, computers were first put to use on factory floors and inside industrial control houses, heralding a new industrial revolution. The people who developed the expertise to program and connect the different technologies came from a broad spectrum of academic and professional disciplines. The word integrator in the CSIA name refers to the bringing together of these varied fields of work into smoothly functioning systems.
CSIA founder Charlie Bergman recognized the emergence of control system integration as an independent profession, and began publishing a newsletter in 1989 to support integrators with information about running a successful business.
Charlie encouraged independent CSIs to track sales, salaries, expenses, and other statistics to measure their performance. Once compiled, these key indicator statistics established the first benchmarks for CSI business performance, which Charlie felt strengthened both participating companies and the industry as a whole.
“If you’re not keeping score,” he often wrote, “you’re only practicing.”
In 1993, early integrators assembled for a meeting, which served as the first of what became CSIA’s annual Executive Conference. At the 1994 conference, attendees voted to form an association, and CSIA was born.
CSIA Best Practices and Certificate Program
Building on Charlie’s original vision, CSIA continues to advance the business practices of the system integration industry through best practices and benchmarking.
The CSIA Best Practices Manual represents the backbone of the organization. This comprehensive guide helps system integrators build and run strong companies. It is centered around management topics, with less emphasis on technology, which allows it to remain relevant over time. The manual is peer-reviewed on a regular basis, with version 5.0 to be released in 2016.
CSIA membership, in itself, represents the mark of a well-managed integrator company, but CSIA Certification takes this mark of excellence a giant leap further. CSIA Certification demonstrates a commitment to meeting the highest standards for business and management.
Successful system integration businesses—the ones that clients can be confident will meet their current and future needs—combine technical proficiency with sound business practices. CSIA Certification proves that a company has met or exceeded CSIA Best Practices in key business management areas.
To maintain certification, companies must successfully pass an audit every three years. And while CSIA Certification differentiates a firm from its competitors, the real value, according to CSIA’s Certified members, is in preparing for the certification audit. Audit preparation focuses the entire team on improving practices and achieving the highest potential.
Today, CSIA has more than 600 member firms in 27 countries worldwide. As in all technology-based industries, the role of automation system integrators, as well as the environment in which they operate, is changing rapidly as a result of the confluence of important technology and social trends.
“There are real underlying drivers behind heavily promoted terms like Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), Smart Manufacturing, and Industrie 4.0,” said CSIA CEO Jose Rivera.
“System integrators will continue to deliver the critical role of integrating disparate systems into real solutions, as required by end users, and in the process will ensure broad adoption of technology across the board.”
CSIA also manages the Industrial Automation Exchange, an online guide for finding the right system integrator to handle any industrial automation project. Check it out at csiaexchange.com.
What is a Control System Integrator?
Control system integrators design and implement sophisticated control systems for manufacturing, process and other industrial facilities. Using their knowledge of engineering, information technology, and business, system integrators integrate plant equipment to automate manufacturing and processes from the plant floor to the enterprise level. Automation helps manufacturers and processors reduce cost, increase production, use less energy and lower environmental impact.
For control system integrators to become members of CSIA they must meet the following criteria:
• The applicant is engaged in control system integration primarily for design, programming and commissioning.
• Applicant must provide integration services primarily with its own personnel.
• Applicant may be asked to provide financial data to the CSIA Executive Director and be interviewed by phone by CSIA members to verify that the applicant meets membership eligibility requirements.
• Applicant agrees to comply with CSIA bylaws, rules and regulations.
• Integrator members have association voting rights and are strongly encouraged to achieve CSIA Certified status within three years of membership.
What is the Control System Integrators Association?
The Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) seeks to enable industries everywhere to have access to low-risk, safe and successful applications of automation technology by advancing the business practices of the system integration industry. CSIA helps its members improve their business skills, provides a forum to share industry expertise, and promotes best practices for business management.
Founded in 1994, CSIA is a not-for-profit, global trade association for system integration companies. CSIA has more than 400 member firms in 27 countries.
The mission of the Control System Integrators Association is to advance the industry of control system integration.
Industries everywhere have access to low-risk, safe and successful applications of automation technology
• Cultural respect
Control System Integrators Association
22 N. Carroll St.
Madison, WI 53703
Phone – 800-661-4914
Website – www.controlsys.org