Getting Serious About Security as a Service
Offering security as a service (SaaS) – such as managed access control – is an appealing and viable way for installing/monitoring providers to grow RMR. Yet many have yet to get onboard while others wrestle with how to effectively market, sell and manage it.
Systems Operated by Experts
In a managed access control solution, systems integrators can handle functions such as changing work schedules in the system, adjusting access privileges and badging on behalf of the customer. The approach frees up an end user’s security personnel to address other duties rather than keeping the access control system up-to-date. In addition, service providers can maximize the functionality of an access control system, since they are more familiar with how a system operates including various technical details, advanced scheduling capabilities, the variety of operational options, leveraging anti-passback functionality and more. Having experts operating a system rather than less trained operators or even office personnel (which some companies rely on) ensures optimum operation.
Systems are becoming more complicated and now offer much more functionality, but operating newer systems is unlikely to be a core competency inside many end-user companies. Organizations may not have people in-house who understand newer sophisticated systems. Better to leave access control to the experts — the integrator, that is. It’s an approach that improves system functionality and keeps costs manageable and predictable for customers.
The approach also provides ongoing and continuous visibility into how a system is operating, which can ensure early detection and resolution of any problems. It’s a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to ensuring smooth and trouble-free operation. Working with the system every day also enables integrators to recognize any challenges with the system, and guides them to suggest needed upgrades or other ways to improve the system’s operation.
Keys to Selling Managed Access
Customers typically view installing an access control system as a capital expense that involves a large, upfront investment. High-level technology innovation isn’t cheap, and end users who want the latest functionality and access control benefits may suffer “sticker shock” when shopping for a new system. In contrast, a managed access control system does not involve a large capital investment by the customer. Instead, operation of the access system becomes a fixed monthly expense that covers the system as well as its operation. As budgeting is simplified, many organizations would rather allocate funds for a monthly expense than make a large capital expenditure.
One key to selling managed access control is knowing a customer’s organization and its specific pain points. How do they want their security managed? As an integrator, what benefits can you provide to the customer? How can you get more involved in providing a solution? How can you manage overall access control in a way that adds value, whether providing more reports, implementing regular updates to a system or providing more information about system health?
In the end, the integrator should look for additional ways to become a better overall resource to improve a customer’s security. Thinking through various strategies, and discussing them with existing customers, can point the way to the best approach to expand into managed access control.
Having conversations with customers — and potential customers
— is also key to marketing managed access control. When bidding on any job, for example, the integrator often has an opportunity to open dialogue about different approaches. That’s a good time to discuss new potential avenues to solve the same problem — it’s another way to stand out from the crowd. An innovative approach that replaces upfront expenses with a predictable monthly fee might be attractive to a potential customer — and something they hadn’t even thought of. Additional managed services are a new way a security installer can add value, which is always welcomed by new and potential customers.
Training is yet another key component of implementing managed access control. The sales force has to be trained to seek out opportunities, and the technical staff will need to learn the details of implementation. Because it’s a changing technology, staying up-to-date is critical as offerings expand. A close partnership with suppliers can provide integrators additional resources as they find their way.
As with most commercial sales today, emphasizing the return on investment (ROI) is critical. In this case, customers can benefit from a lower upfront expense and a predictable monthly expenditure over time. Other ROI elements to consider are the benefits of having a “security system expert” involved in operating the system. It’s someone who can ensure the system is operating at full capability. Another benefit is a long-term partnership with an integrator dedicated to protecting the end user’s people, facilities and assets, and ensuring a high level of security along the way.
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