In this issue, SDM presents the annual Top Systems Integrators Report, which ranks security integrators by their North American systems integration revenue of the previous year (2019). This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Top Systems Integrators Report, which was first launched by SDM in 1996.

Over the years, the Top Systems Integrators have changed and evolved to weather recessions, profit dips, and a rapidly changing industry. Employees, headquarters, technologies and systems offerings may be different, but one thing that remains the same is an unwavering focus on service and providing security and peace of mind to the customer.

Collectively, this year’s top integrators shared $4.64 billion in total North American systems integration revenue in 2019, an increase of 23 percent over the previous year. RMR was also on the rise with an increase of 8.5 percent over the previous year. Overall, 2019 was a good year. 

Yet while many of this year’s Top Systems Integrators saw a good year in 2019, and in some cases, their best year of revenue in company history, they are bracing for the unknown that will happen as the COVID-19 pandemic begins to subside and life tries to resume a sense of normalcy. 

The majority of Top Systems Integrators noted COVID-19 as the biggest issue/trend they see for the coming year. While some pointed out that security integrators are well positioned to help organizations and clients move forward through technology, others were quick to note that the future just can’t be foreseen on this one. 

“Anyone predicting 2020 has no basis for knowing where this ends up, except down,” writes Scarsdale Security Systems Inc., No. 55.

“I think the COVID-19 impact and the upcoming election will create some uncertainty as to how customers fund projects,” writes CGL Electronic Security Inc., ranked No. 39. “We have already seen freezes and cancellation of some capital projects and anticipate this to continue until the summer. This, in concert with the election, may force customers to delay purchasing, specifically with respect to ‘nice to haves’ versus essential upgrades/projects.” 

Despite the apprehension of what’s to come, some of the Top Systems Integrators believe that they are well-positioned to adapt; after all, they’ve done it before.  

Custom Alarm, for example, ranked No. 62, saw many shifts in 2019, including an increase in school installations, commercial installations and a decrease in fire-focused installs. Internally, Custom Alarm saw several shifts as well. “We had several staffing changes that directly impacted both our operations and sales departments. … As a smaller company, shifts in staffing can have a dramatic impact on the whole company. … Seeing the sales team develop, encourage one another, focus on working together more and building camaraderie produced our highest sales year.

 This carried over into early 2020 as well, according to Custom Alarm. “Having that strong growth and development in 2019 has really helped better position us as we navigate through the challenging times that 2020 is bringing to us.”

Writes No. 1-ranked Convergint Technologies, “In 2019, the security systems integration market was strong.” As for 2020, “the COVID-19 global health crisis will be the most significant business disruption and opportunity not only for our industry, but every industry across the globe. This crisis has and will drive change and innovation, and it will create an opportunity to service customers in new ways in a post-COVID world.”

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