It doesn’t matter what scale you operate on; what matters is that you can provide ‘sustainable value’ to those customers you serve.

Writing about this year’s Systems Integrator of the Year compelled me to look into a concept and program that I initially knew very little about — corporate sustainability. SDM is proud to present, in this issue beginning on page 50, Siemens Security Solutions business unit as its 2010 Systems Integrator of the Year. The security solutions group is part of the Building Technologies Division of Siemens Industry Inc., under Siemens AG.

Siemens AG was ranked the best company in its class this year in the Dow Jones and SAM sustainability ranking, capturing the No. 1 spot in the Diversified Industrials sector of the Sustainability World Index (DJSI). It has been ranked on the index for 11 consecutive years. “We consistently rank at the top of that list because of the compliance programs that we now have in place,” Carey Boethel, vice president and business unit head – Security Solutions, told SDM.

“Corporate Sustainability is a business approach that creates long-term shareholder value by embracing opportunities and managing risks deriving from economic, environmental and social developments,” according to the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes website. In each of three areas — economic, environmental and social — there are ranking criteria that encompass both industry-specific and non-industry specific factors, such as codes of conduct, corporate governance, risk and crisis management, environmental reporting, corporate citizenship, human capital development, talent attraction and retention, and more.

In part by embracing this business approach, Siemens is able to offer what it calls “sustainable value” to its customers. One form sustainable value takes is in reliable consistency — the quality of service provided by Siemens does not vary from branch to branch, from customer to customer.

As one example of this, an initiative the company undertook recently is called “Operational Readiness.” It is a system for managing talent by assigning, measuring and monitoring training and certifications for all of the company’s field employees. It uses an online, centralized data repository that includes all employees, their roles and responsibilities, and the assigned training requirements for each role. As training courses are completed and certifications are obtained, the system is updated and the branch Operational Readiness score is adjusted accordingly.

“Our Operational Readiness platform provides a means by which to manage and develop our vast talent pool and ultimately achieve a level of consistency unmatched in the industry today,” Boethel said.

With 8,000 employees worldwide in its Building Technologies Division, and a global customer base, it is obvious why an organization such as Siemens would benefit from this program. But could similar programs to those found at Siemens be adapted and adopted by smaller systems integrators?

Clearly Siemens is a leader in security systems integration, and as a publicly held company its initiatives are well-documented and often acknowledged. But it’s a fact that this industry is comprised of tens of thousands of small businesses, mostly privately owned. Many chose to operate with similar standards of excellence and they understand that it doesn’t matter what scale you operate on; what matters is that you can provide “sustainable value” to those customers you serve.

SDM’s Systems Integrator of the Year Award is open to the entire industry, to companies of all sizes. It begins in the spring with a nomination form, then progresses to a very detailed and lengthy application. All of the applications are judged by SDM’s editorial team in order to select the winner.

My wish is that a greater number of small integrators would apply for this award in the future. We know that there are many high-performance, extremely innovative systems integrators like Siemens operating in the industry today, but on a local or regional scale. We want to tell their stories, too.