Has the reorganization impacted your hiring or staff sizes? Do you see expansion there moving forward?
VanDover: We’ve had some areas where we’ve been redeploying people during the past year or so. We have pockets where we may struggle from time to time, but we’ve got great resources focused, whether it’s internal or external recruiters. The biggest market dynamic that affects us is the shift in technologies. People are looking for the higher-tech skillset whether it’s for sales or actual support in the marketplace.
How does TycoIS keep its techs trained and up to speed on all these new technologies and services?
VanDover: That’s never easy and it’s time-intensive, but it’s one we believe strongly is a differentiator for us. We make sure people are getting training every year, that we’re taking time to invest in our people, and we’re looking for better ways to do that so we don’t have to fly employees everywhere. We are interested in online training and leverage our suppliers to do localized training for our technicians. With our size and scope, our suppliers are pretty responsive to our needs. We’ll continue to invest and make sure we get the best people and skillsets to go along with them.
What types of checks and balances are being put in place to ensure TycoIS delivers a high level of customer service?
VanDover: Certainly our systems and interaction with our systems are evolving as we go forward. You’re seeing much more automatic capabilities and linkage into customer applications through our systems. It’s about having the right skillset for the technicians, being able to vet calls through technical support, and being able to look at a system remotely to diagnose an issue so we can either dispatch people with the right tools or skillsets to resolve the issue on a first visit.
Also, being that we’re moving more into cloud and/or software-based solutions, many of these things are handled through remote-type interaction anyway. So making sure you’ve got a robust skillset behind the scenes is as important as the frontline technicians in front of the customer, from both technical and customer care perspectives. Sometimes you have to work as hard on customer care skillsets as technical ones.
Can you point to some other specific technologies or services you’re zeroing in on?
VanDover: Certainly cloud-based services are becoming more and more in demand. If not cloud-based, it’s still more and more the managed services. If you think about traditional security, the access world, more people want their suppliers or providers to help them manage their systems. They don’t want to have to carry the infrastructure to deal with it, whether equipment and/or people, but also they don’t want to have to worry about the training and skillset that goes along with the maintenance of that system. We’re seeing more in the managed side of the business.
On the cloud side, especially as you start talking about video storage and the need for that, you’re seeing more and more calling for some type of cloud-based solution. So we partner with a bunch of people to provide different solutions in that. Then the other big area is consultation and help with migration into different applications.
Blog: Analysts See TycoIS Well Positioned From Both Products and Services Perspectives
How do you differentiate your offerings from competitors? There’s a buzz out there about the cloud and managed services, for example; how do you differentiate yourself?
VanDover: We’re making sure we’re able to provide state-of-the-art solutions for our customers’ needs. When you talk solutions, we’re not just looking at point solutions. Again, we’re looking at the lifecycle of the customer, making sure the relationship is there. I’ve found if you go in and you’re just competing — I want this camera or that access system and that’s the whole discussion — it just ends up in a price battle and not a lot of value. Our focus is really to say, “Let’s make sure we understand what the customer’s needs are, let’s understand the direction and future, and be much more focused on the overall customer relationship and needs.” We’ve found that’s set us apart in the market, especially from the small, regional players out there just peddling small solutions or point solutions.
When you talk about long-term customer relationships, often that involves recurring revenue type services. How do you develop profitable models with that approach?
VanDover: For us, it’s making sure we’ve got great technology, we’re able to have a platform to grow with and we have the right customer relationship that goes along with that. If customers are looking for just buy-and-get-out-type suppliers, they’re probably not necessarily where we want to be. Certainly, we do play there but it’s not our drive for the future. We think over the longerterm relationship there’s benefit to our customers, because we can bring better solutions and keep them in state-of-the-art-type solutions. And it’s a profitable business for us along the way.
Let’s talk about specific vertical markets. Which ones do you see as presenting the most robust for growth right now?
VanDover: We are second to none in our retail platform. The banking and financial sector is right up there with retail, a significant part of our portfolio. We’ve got great expertise wrapped around both of those verticals. We also do a lot of work with the federal government through our Federal Systems Group. We deploy many different applications in many different environments. Everything from defense, or intelligence, and/or into local municipalities, we play in all the different parts of the government sector as we go forward. Those will continue to be our strong points, where we continue to focus. Certainly education is another one we’re very focused on, as we see continued interest and continued leverage in that area, looking for new technology and new solutions, and longer-term solutions.
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