Yes, the sector continues on its high growth trajectory, projects are advancing and quality suppliers are running off their feet… but some initiatives have a long gestation period, fail to grow as would best serve organizations, and sometimes hit “a wall”. 8 primary reasons appear to account for this.
1. Inadequate benefits planning & analytics fail to demonstrate (or predict) the return on Investment or return on objectives. Without a reason, projects cannot “earn” required budgeting – given that funding must typically be found and re-directed from other seemingly equally worthy initiatives.
2. Return in Time. Money is but one valued corporate resource. Too often the complexity of answering necessary questions, dealing with multiple suppliers and sorting out the most cost effective approach exceed the time or capabilities available on the part of the end user.
3. Other priorities (lower hung fruit). Faster return on investment and time offered by other initiatives can be more attractive. The economies of scale of digital signage reduce per unit input costs, but capturing this value often requires the immediate term demonstration of value and a longer investment cycle.
4. Fear of content. The costs and administration needed to “feed the monster” as it has been called, can be daunting. Technology suppliers and integrators, who are most often deeply involved in the front end sales effort, curiously are reluctant to offer informed counsel on content. More informed and suficticated suppliers (which also happen to be some of the most successful!), understand this content is a primary element of benefit, and so offer insights to enable the project to most benefit by not allowing the lack of content strategy to hinder project success and growth.
5. Inertia. The status quo hates project champions and career considerations are always considered (at least privately) when end user representatives engage in looking to digital signage to deliver enterprise or brand value. The best champions for digital signage like to be seen as innovators with business interest at heart, but not everyone is inclined to build awareness and popularity for a game-changing approach that shifts “business as usual” to higher value.
6. Expense surprises (content, deployment). Caveat emptor is Latin for "Let the buyer beware" has daunted some initiatives. The sin of omission by suppliers means that end users do not get the full picture. When additional expenses become a surprise, with wariness or re-evaluation being required, end user can find it easily to shy away from the embarrassment of an inadequately planned and budgeted initiative.
7. Supplier silo-ing. Integration is essential to successful digital signage since no suppliers offers everything that is needed in order for the business value to be achieved. As Information technology departments are increasingly leading, sourcing or directly involved in initiatives, they can bring such needed skills, solution providers including AV/IT Integrators, “solution” providers and distributors such as Synnex and others can assist with this integration… but it is an effort – and one that must be done well to alleviate the finger-pointing that so frustrates end users. The answer to confusion is always “no”, so minimizing the operating and supply silos of supliers closest to the end user reduces project delays and failure to launch.
8. “Not yet-ness.” When the decision on the part of the end user is to not proceed, it is usually a “not yet” decision, and always because the above factors, typically in combination.
When project do move forward (and hundreds if not thousands do every month), it is because the planning including costs and payback are well-defined. In such cases, the go-forward decision is compelling and easily made.
Lyle Bunn is a highly regarded advisor and educator in North America’s dynamic signage and enterprise media industry who has assisted hundreds of end users and suppliers. He has published more that 250 articles, whitepapers and most recently “how to” guides for dynamic signage use in Food Services, Education and Health Services. Others are in development.