As Kemin Industries was preparing to move into their new global headquarters, they were developing an extensive plan for their audiovisual and information technologies (AV/IT). Initially, the company told Mechdyne that the classic meeting room design may solve their current meeting room challenges. Once Kemin started working more closely with the Mechdyne team to discuss their goals, user workflows, and plans for the future, they realized the classic meeting room design may not meet their needs.

In partnership, we optimized the design to tailor the technology to Kemin users and their culture. Kemin, like many companies, reaches success when they fully explore technology options to
meet their individual needs and workforce.

This situation is not uncommon. In the 20 years, Mechdyne has been providing customized AV/IT solutions, we have supported multiple clients in the redesign process. In some cases, these clients have come to Mechdyne months or even weeks after their new technology came online and asked for help fixing the overall solution. Organizations voice similar frustrations with the

  • Control panels are too complicated
  • Microphones don’t pick up
  • Voices swell during conference calls
  • Laptops won’t connect to the displays seamlessly

The common denominator in these situations is always the same: the initial design did not first align the technology solution with the organization’s unique situation.

Whether organizations invest in a single conference room’s technology or an entire campus, they don’t have to find themselves challenged with their AV/IT solution’s initial design. Mechdyne helps our clients fix misaligned technology and avoid future issues through our rigorous upfront analysis and our consultative, partnership approach. Avoid the need for
technology realignment by working with your AV/IT technology partner to analyze and develop three key areas.

Know Your Users

Before you can even start considering what kind of technology you want, think about your users. Start by discussing their workflows and overall company vision with your technology partner. Here are some examples to get you started:

    • How do your users work and interact with technologies? Some organizations see local and remote users collaborating often, some organizations experience week-long “war room” projects, and some organizations only see collaboration during daily stand-up meetings. Your users’ requirements for technology—including your IT team’s roadmaps—heavily depend on how they collaborate together and work independently.
    • What’s most important to your users? Users who need to see fine detail on their display will need a very different solution than users who analyze multiple spreadsheets and graphs simultaneously. Clearly defining what your users need impacts a solution’s first design.
    • What are your overall company goals and vision? We’ve talked before about the importance of continuously asking “why”, with the outcome of uncovering an organization’s goals before investing in technology. Uncovering the true motivation before beginning the design reveals insights that support an overall technology vision.

Know Your Integrator

A simple apples-to-apples comparison between different technology, providers isn’t enough to determine who you should work with. Often times, this process requires rigorous interviewing and analysis to understand a vendor’s quality of work, experience and training, and commitment to your success. Be on the lookout for a technology partner who:

    • Asks about your users. As previously discussed, a truly ideal solution stems from understanding your users, workflows, and company goals. If a company isn’t
      asking about these key aspects, chances are the AV/IT solution will result in a poor user experience which can cost your company big dollars.
    • Recommends solutions based on your users, workflows, and company goals. The newest, coolest gadgets may look impressive, but it’s money wasted if your employees don’t use them. The best technology partners ignore preconceived notions of technology solutions and instead steer their clients toward the solution that
      best matches their situation.
    • Considers you a partner, not a customer. The design, integration, and support of an AV/IT solution requires a thorough understanding of employees, stakeholders,
      and a company as a whole. A technology partner won’t be able to recommend a solution that aligns with all these things without working with you as a consultative partner. If a company isn’t asking probing questions, providing references that rave about the partnership, or is offering a significantly lower cost than what you expect, consider looking for a new partner.

Know Your Long-Term Goals

Businesses plan their short-term goals to assist in achieving their long-term goals. The trick becomes planning your technology decisions to achieve those longer-term goals, not short-term goals. Discuss your long-term goals with your technology partner to be sure the technology solutions will be optimum three, five, and ten years in the future. Make sure your discussions focus at least on these three areas:

    • Start planning for your next technology refresh. Some organizations adopt new technology innovations quickly, while others prefer to leverage their systems as long as possible. On average, advanced technology components require a refresh every 3-5 years.
    • Determine how you will measure your users’ success. When users are frustrated with technology, they stop using it, resulting in companies investing in upgrades or replacements to encourage utilization. Mechdyne highly encourages our clients to develop user-focused key performance indicators, or KPIs, to ensure users are successful.
    • Understand how you want your technology to perform one, three, and five years into the future. Many vendors or integrators don’t consider long-term maintenance or upkeep plans, whereas technology partners help plan service, support, and training activities to minimize technology downtime. Don’t stop at five years either – start thinking about technology upkeep as far ahead in the future as you can.

The End Result

Today, Kemin Industries is now successfully using their newly aligned AV/IT solutions from Mechdyne. Through an extensive user analysis on our end, various technology recommendations and testing, and a clear plan for the future, the Mechdyne and Kemin partnership has provided a solid foundation for success.

“We are very pleased with the system thus far, and haven’t experienced user complaints while our other non-Mechdyne rooms may require support from our IT group,” said Dr. Chris Nelson, Kemin Industries President, and CEO.


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