What has to go right to exceed projections and, conversely, what could hamper them?
VanDover: There are a few fundamental things. Certainly the market dynamics are always a challenge. When you get into commercial security, it’s much more focused. There is a focus on vertical markets, such as retail for instance, or how the overall market is doing. So if market conditions continue on, we’ll have a pretty good year. If they slow down because of the budget issues the federal government is dealing with, that could have an impact for us. Yet, we’re well positioned to deal with any impact we see in the top-line position.
The real focus for us is shifting our portfolio to much more of a longer-term relationship portfolio. When you’re moving in that direction, ups and downs of the market are going to be less impactful to your business. Having said that, the biggest benefit to driving that is making sure you’ve got the best talent and best solutions out there. So our focus is making sure we’re capturing the right type of opportunities, but also recruiting the right talent, investing in the right talent, and trying to focus our business in those areas.
When you talk about long-term customer relationships, how do you get your salespeople to embrace that mentality?
VanDover: It’s about striking a balance. Our goal is to make sure we have solutions that lend themselves to the customer’s needs over a long period of time. In the past, most people were either looking for point solutions and/or monitoring after the fact. Now with our customer base, you see a lot more want us to handle all their systems or want us to handle them in a cloud-based solution or video monitoring. There’s a bunch of different types of approaches that lend itself to a longer-term relationship.
We also see a big push from our customers. They want somebody that understands the industry, the trends and future trends that can help them see and chart their path over the next three to five years, especially when you get into some of the larger customers in commercial security. They have to plan for budget cycles. They have to plan for two-, three-year migrations in some of their platforms.
We have a great team in place helping us accomplish this. We have [Vice President, Product Management and Industry Relations] Jay Hauhn running our products portfolio, looking out and making sure we’re keeping up with what’s new and what’s best, and he is very influential in the market space. He’s at the forefront of understanding trends and technology changes. Likewise, [Vice President, Marketing] Hank Monaco drives the marketing side of our business and is very in touch with the demands and needs of the customer base. Our secret is moving forward, focusing on the future, making sure we have a good solution set for our customers, and that it’s a longer-term relationship.
What are some key business challenges you face right now and what are your strategies to contend with them?
VanDover: We are focused on making sure we have the best of the best in technology platforms, as well as the best resource pool to support those platforms. That brings a whole host of challenges with it. Rapid technology changes require finding the right skillsets out there to manage new technology trends. We’re seeing more and more need for technicians who have Microsoft or Cisco certifications. That’s certainly a challenge.
As a company providing cutting-edge technology, the support for new technologies is an ongoing challenge for us as we go forward. We’re pretty good at it, but we’re looking to get better and better, and get more focused on it. But certainly those are areas where there’s a lot of competition out there, looking for the best people and the best technology.
Blog: In VanDover’s View In-House Talent Is a Top Priority
How are TycoIS personnel working smarter and more efficiently today to achieve those goals and meet projections?
VanDover: Our focus is to enable them with tools and skillsets that allow them to work smarter and as a result become more productive in their day-to-day path. For example, we’re rolling out mobility devices to all of our technicians out there, and making sure they have the right backbone infrastructure supporting them so it streamlines processes and improves communication on the service side. Our focus is not necessarily to drive them harder; it’s to give them better tools, better systems, so when they work on or install a system it’s much easier to deal with — hence, making them more productive.
What advantages does having Tyco as a parent company bring in terms of shared resources and leveraging synergies or capabilities?
VanDover: One of the strengths TycoIS has as well as Tyco overall, if you look at just TycoIS, we’re a 10,000 strong organ-ization. We canvas more than 200 locations in North America. We’re virtually everywhere. You see our little blue trucks running around everywhere, which is a benefit for customers, especially those that may be more remote or in urban areas. We have a presence in most markets. We also have the ability to leverage other Tyco entities, whether it’s SimplexGrinnell or other units within Tyco. Many customers are global and need a provider that can have the solution for not only their local areas but also have a conduit to handle their needs abroad. We have very great depth in that area.
There’s a lot of strength with our size and ability to reinvest. We can withstand the ups and downs of markets. If you look back over the past 10 years through some of the market trials and tribulations, a lot of small suppliers went out of business, struggled, had trouble making payroll, lost people or whatever. We’ve been stable and if anything we’ve been growing through the process. Our bandwidth and capabilities speak volumes out there.
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