Champions of Change: Net-AV

Looking to Net Profit from Remote Management Systems

Innovation has always been a top priority for Net-AV. Launched as a woman-owned contracting company three decades ago, this commercial integration firm, serving a range of clients from government agencies to Fortune 1000 corporations, has continued to stay ahead of the curve with the latest networking trends.

nav-avIn December 2013, the Maryland business sparked ambitions of amending its business model, planning to grow beyond the traditional practice of constantly deploying technicians for maintenance and repair to a more network-based post-convergence A/V / IT recurring revenue model—proactively monitoring and managing remotely.

“To truly thrive and grow, integrators better do more than merely change,” says the company’s director of marketing, Dawn Meade. “They have to evolve to a model more closely aligned with the services-based IT model. That’s our goal.”

Before bringing this business model shift fully to staff, the company took some steps to go lean.

“Non-performers were culled until we had a core group of seriously committed and essential staff,” says Meade.

She says those who remained—who were passionate about the success of the company—completely understood what they were trying to do.

Meade was sold on the Summit’s Recurring Revenue Success Stories (sponsored by Windy City Wire) session. “I wanted to hear from people who are already there, already doing this,” she says. Meade found excellent insights during the session, noting that it was valuable for three reasons.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.00.29 PM“First, it provided me with some real world validation that our crazy idea to shift our business focus wasn’t a pipe dream, but a realistic and common-sense approach to the market changes we’re facing.”

“Next, it gave me a sense of what RMR (recurring monthly revenue) offerings others were pursuing and how it was working out,” she explains. “It helped me cherry-pick the ideas we were brainstorming that were most likely to be successful… and finally, it introduced me to Rob.”

Rob Simopolous, president of Advance Technology in Maine, helped provide Meade with details about how his firm made their shift.

“Rob helped me with how he structured their compensation plans and what software CRM/ ticketing package they used.”

Through Simopolous’s recommendation, Meade met with ConnectWise at the event, walking through their business automation platform that could replace Net-AV’s existing CRM, ticketing and quoting systems with a tool better suited to her new business model. She also met with companies such as Pakedge and ihiji.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.47.47 PMMeade is currently evaluating vendors for connected, intelligent equipment that will form the backbone of all future designed, installed and managed Net-AV systems for customers.

Net-AV’s standard offer for remote monitoring and management is just one of their RMR sources and is a flat monthly fee based on the number of rooms and systems covered and their complexity. Additional premiums may be added for certain solutions (such as VTC system coverage where mandatory service packages must be purchased from the manufacturer).

The remote monitoring and management offering includes remote service and maintenance. However, traditional “white truck” service and maintenance contracts are a separate offering that clients can add on (on a yearly or multi-year basis) if they choose. These traditional break/fix and SLA contracts usually include repairs and parts.

Screen Shot 2015-04-23 at 12.49.53 PMThe most unique offering Net-AV is providing is A/V-as-a-Service, which basically outsources the A/V concerns of the client company. It includes all of their a-la-carte services, as needed: remote monitoring and management, asset management, life-cycle management and planning, standard support offerings, needs analysis and assessment, A/V consulting and design, construction management, professional services and even staffing augmentation. Basically, for a monthly or quarterly fee, clients can outsource all of their A/V technology nuisances and, large or small, they’ll handle it.

“The idea is to give something other integrators don’t offer and solve our customers’ headaches,” Meade says.

Meade says it would be great to get 15 percent or more of recurring revenue during 2015 but finds it hard to predict since they are slowly phasing these offers in.

The CE Pro and Commercial Integrator Summits boast to be the place “where connections are made.” The realization of these business partnerships holds to be true, not only for integrators and the event sponsors, but also at the peer level. At the Summit, Meade also met with integrators from USIS AudioVisual Systems and Level 3 Audio Visual. And they’ve already begun partnering on projects.