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How to Decide if Your IT Department Needs an AV Expert

Here's how to know when it makes sense to bring an AV expert on board and how to make the right hire.

Global information technology (IT) spending is expected to reach approximately $4.43 trillion in 2022, which shows just how critical it is to the success of companies throughout the world.

Regardless of how your IT department is structured, it's important to employ a team with varying skills and knowledge. And that's why you may find yourself considering the addition of an AV (audio and video) expert.

As an office decision-maker at a crossroads, here are four questions to answer:

  • Do you currently or have you previously required AV expertise?
  • How do you envision your company utilizing the skills of an AV expert?
  • How is AV's approach to office technology different from IT?
  • Is it best to hire an AV expert as an employee or consult with an outside partner?

Don't answer these questions based on what you think is right. Answer them based on the current situation of your company and its future needs.

Here are three situations in which it makes sense to bring an AV expert on board.

1. AV-Related Challenges When Rolling Out Tech Upgrades

The first thing you'll consider is your in-house talent. Is anyone on your IT team capable of rolling out the tech upgrades? This is a tricky question as the answer is probably yes. But that doesn't mean you should rely on this person to complete the task.

An IT professional may get the job done, but they may not hit all the bulls-eye targets for value, longevity, and support. Working with an AV expert will help you see beyond your expectations and limitations. They'll make decisions that benefit your company today while using their forward-thinking expertise to plan for the future.

Here are some of the top challenges companies face when rolling out tech upgrades:

  • Poor budgeting: AV experts understand the cost of an upgrade and how to plan accordingly. This helps prevent unforeseen and unplanned expenses.
  • Misaligned objectives with end users: This can kill a project before it gets off the ground by provisioning unneeded technology.
  • Post-implementation support model: The upgrade process itself is important, but post-implementation support is mission-critical to harnessing the long-term benefits from your upgrades.

A focused AV expert will address these challenges upfront to prevent them from lingering and causing future harm.

2. IT Has Limits to Bandwidth, Skill, and AV Knowledge

It's a mistake to assume that IT and AV professionals are perfectly interchangeable. There is certainly some skill crossover, but an AV project often requires an experienced and dedicated AV professional.

Modern AV is heavily reliant on an interdependent relationship with IT, even with the objectives and deliveries for traditional AV and IT functions being so different. And because of this connectedness, IT is often given responsibility for tasks AV could handle best.

Fight the urge to rely solely on IT by coming to grips with the benefits of leaning on an AV expert. This gives you access to a professional with focused technical expertise and the ability to work across departments to ensure results.

3. You Want and Need to Keep Up with Competitors

There's no shortage of ways to fall behind competitors, and a lack of AV technology definitely has a place on this list. Keeping up means hiring and empowering the right people for the right tasks.

In today's world, many companies are shifting to the new remote work paradigm. This means that the technology you provide to employees now needs to be video-enabled and have advanced audio capabilities, and your workspace needs to have easy connectivity options in all meeting areas and collaboration spaces.

Making moves in these areas allows you to keep up with competitors. Conversely, if you ignore the benefits of consulting an AV professional, it could push you further behind in the technology arms race.

Do You Know What You're Looking For?

Now that you know when it makes sense to bring an AV expert into your company, there's one last question to address: What are you hoping to achieve long-term with this arrangement?

Common goals include:

  • Drive value
  • Reinforce effective collaboration
  • Spark creativity
  • Boost efficiency
  • Grow culture & relationships

Setting these goals early on helps you make the right hire or form a partnership with the perfect AV provider.

The bottom line: Deciding if your IT department needs an AV expert is a big decision that can impact your company's overall performance, market standing, and more. If you decide in favor of this addition, outline your goals and let them guide you toward the right hiring decision.

Bill Thrasher is Executive Vice President of AV-Tech Media Solutions.

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