Digital Signage: A Strategy for Profitable Growth & Workforce Transformation

6 min read
Joel Flesher, Strategic Accounts
March 07, 2018
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Growth Through Innovation

AV and digital signage integrators are facing an era of unprecedented growth. In the next four years, the AV/digital signage industry will expand 5% and generate $230 billion in revenue worldwide.

With this growth comes an intense pressure to differentiate across the service value chain. Leading integrators/service providers are looking for technological levers, driven by IoT and machine learning, to create a more valuable customer experience. The objective is to remove all friction from the buyer to the seller. The number of digital devices continues to expand making the speed to adoption all the more critical. Expanding access to a more digitally connected world means that digital signage and AV integrators must keep pace. Cloud adoption is key to increasing the efficiency and accessibility of an integrator’s experts to its clients.

What “The Cloud” Means for Digital Signage

Cloud technology has traditionally managed an organization’s “customer demand-side”: (the management, escalation, and acceleration of customer service delivery). However, cloud adoption of the “labor supply-side” has been neglected. For Digital Signage and AV providers, this lack of investment in the supply-side has resulted in a painful talent acquisition and resourcing process. It has also made it more difficult to create an “Uber/Amazon” service delivery model expected by modern enterprises: of on-time, on-demand, whenever, and wherever.

Service delivery executives are chartered by the CFO/CEO to bend down costs, improve utilization of their full-time workforce, and eliminate needless back office costs in order to improve margins and efficiency. How will they hit these metrics under a fixed, confined workforce – or using traditional talent acquisition approaches? These are incredibly difficult priorities given the rapid advances in technology. The skills required for project deliveries are constantly changing. As integrators win bigger SOWs and fulfill more complex scopes, they're finding that clients need skills they have never needed to procure.

digital signage contractors

The Truth About “Necessary Evil”

Matching advancing technology to traditional skill sets creates what many industry professional consider a “necessary evil.” While your sales rep might have won that big, sexy project award and the team is ringing the bell in celebration, your PMs on the delivery side of the house are scratching their heads in bewilderment: Now they have to find, source, and maintain a bench of highly sought after techs/engineers with difficult to-find-skills. Not only is this talent procurement process costly to pursue, it is costly to maintain as the skills needed 24 months later will likely change completely.

This “necessary evil” initiates an arduous recruiting process that can last many weeks and put unnecessary pressure on project timelines. When a particular skill is not needed until 24 months later, it becomes a very low ROI for the company—a costly hiring process that keeps an underutilized individual on the bench. For example, one of WorkMarket’s digital signage clients conducted a business case analysis and found that for one job requisition, the recruitment department executed over 15 different cycles to fill the role. The total number of labor hours required for recruiters and hiring managers to process individuals was more than 25 hours, or $2,500 per head. Compound this by the number of techs needed for the implementation, and the cost balloons to over $30,000.

Another underappreciated cost of not adopting cloud in the labor supply chain is in Travel & Expense (T&E). Take, for instance, a sales rep for a WorkMarket client who won the project bid and then had the Project Delivery Lead scope the requirements. They discovered that their bench wasn’t geographically near the project. The T&E costs of flying each W-2 engineer to the project site every week for three months grew to over $75,000. Suddenly fulfilling the corporate mandate to bend down costs went from an easy benchmark to an impossible request.

How Cloud-Based, Self-Governing Talent Pools Protect Revenue

Visionary AV and Digital Signage leaders appreciate the impact cloud will have on both the demand-side and labor supply-side of the equation. They are taking aggressive actions to modernize their Talent Models by leveraging the digitization/virtualization of fluid and agile labor pools. Now they can both extend their geographic reach (eliminating the need for W-2s to travel across the country) and optimize for the skills of the future (eliminating manual redundant recruiting costs by creating a fluid, on-demand network to tap into).

Adopting Cloud for a digital, liquid workforce is not defined by just having more reach and organization. To create reliable resource pools, algorithms must manage the compliance process of that pool on a constant and consistent basis. Project Managers have better things to do than to triple check whether the person staffed for the project meets every requirement—a background check, a drug screening, a test to confirm they’ve performed similar configurations in the past. That PM should be able to tap into that same resource again in the future, in a fluid workflow, and not have to go through a tedious recruitment and onboarding process.

Extending Cloud technology for a new digital workforce is an imperative if you want to succeed not just in Digital Signage and AV, but any service delivery business of the future. Over time technology will automate the non-core aspects of the service and the virtualization of skills will be managed for evolving customer needs in order to provision in an agile, automated way.

The business benefits of building virtualized, self-governing talent pools:

Talent Optimization: Having Clouds parameterized and managed by a technology-enabled governance ensures you don’t send the low-order bids (an install) of the Integration Project to the most expensive engineer, and instead optimize for the skills needed (a robust configuration) for that given task at that given time (increasing workforce productivity).

Growing Project Volumes While Bending Down Costs (and Increasing GP): Having Clouds of Flexible Technicians (1099) around the country allows you to staff a bigger SOW to a lower cost, agile workforce while protecting your service quality metrics and ensuring your brand is protected at all times.

Geographic Labor Coverage and Skill-Specific Visibility: Having organized clouds enables service operators to shrink their time to fill, their time to dispatch.

Predictive Staffing and Fluid Onboarding: Curating virtual pools for skills not just of the current fiscal quarter, but the long-term (18 months out) enables Service Executives to have an endless bench of skills they can procure on-demand, while expending half the recruitment costs and cycles. Ultimately, they can cut out expensive staffing firms/recruiters charging hefty markups, and who just serve as middle-man to an already lengthy costly process.

For more information on how AV and digital signage integrators are leveraging changes in technology and labor management, check out this exclusive whitepaper, "Signs of the Times: AV & Digital Signage Trends To Watch In 2018."

Joel Flesher is an Enterprise Executive and Business Architect at WorkMarket, an ADP company. Joel works with senior executives at top F1000 enterprises to implement cloud SaaS technology into their workforce models as part of their digital transformation journey. You can reach him at [email protected].