Why “value engineering” an av technology solution can be short sighted
Any of you that have worked with me or any of the konnectus team will know that we spend good amount of time early on the project really trying to get to know our customers and understand their needs. We try to understand their current pain points and clarify their aspirational outcomes. We then come up with some technology solutions and concepts that fit exactly what they’re looking for. A part of this process is putting together very detailed Cost Estimates of what that initial investment is going to be. And that is what I want to talk to you about today.
So, that initial investment, let’s take an example and say its two hundred thousand dollars with a particular customer or particular project. Quite often I get the response back “Well that’s a lot of money. That’s probably outside our budget or what we are thinking. Can we start to cut back on this by using value engineering?”. So that’s fine, I totally understand working to budgets is important, and you don’t want to be overspending or overcommitting yourself. However, I think it’s important to realise that there is more than the initial investment that needs to be considered. A lot of you watching will agree that is not nothing new but we’ll just go through some of the things that maybe specific to AV and Technology projects.
The first obvious one is if you have systems that are designed very simply and don’t have a lot of complexity (i.e. they’re not over engineered), then they’re reliable. If they’re reliable over a long period of their life, say 5 plus years, the cost to maintain them is low. And that should be considered in your picture of assessing cost.
Secondly, you want to look at how easy it is to use these systems? If they’re really easy to use and you can avoid those embarrassing situations of wasting time trying to get the technology up and running, that has a cost as well. It’s a bit of a hidden cost. Not just the cost of time but the cost of embarrassment of putting the people on the back foot. When a person is not feeling confident or not feeling good about themselves, this could be costing money. Especially when they are trying to do important presentations in a meeting, or an important show in an entertainment venue. It all sort of accumulates.
Another aspect that is not always considered is what I would call the “WOW” factor. This is not for all projects, maybe not in most projects, but if you’re trying to make some sort of an impression or create an experience for people that either using or enjoying these AV systems, I think it’s important to have something that’s a little bit extra, a little bit more exciting. The initial cost may look a bit expensive, but over the long term, you could pay it back with benefits like creating a brand, or creating that experience people are talking about. This may not bring costs down but is potentially bringing money back in to repay for that initial outlay.
The last point to make is uptake of use of the new technology. And that’s really important. I have not met a customer so far that has not been really focused on getting the uptake of their new technology to be as high as possible. That’s the whole purpose, isn’t it? To invest in the new technology so that people will use it and have better outcomes in whatever it is that they do. Whether it be in business, or in education, or in legal, or whatever field they’re in.
So, that’s really it.
I hope those four tips will help you on your next AV technology project when you’re assessing cost. Don’t just look at the initial upfront ticket price. Consider all other items that make up the bigger picture of cost, and remember, it’s an investment over the long term.