Offering Security as a Service
SaaS may be opening new revenue streams for security contractors to offer managed services across a wide swath of market niches, but still there are difficulties to negotiate. Find out from a group of integrators how they are overcoming challenges common to this business model.
With the dawn of alarm systems that allowed for the reporting of opening and closing, the concept of managed services existed even before such a term ever did.
For many years installing security contractors have performed billable recurring services for customers such as adding or deleting a user combination from the alarm panel. This early experience would later lay the foundation for some security contractors to venture into “security as a service” or SaaS — a variation on the IT realm’s software as a service in which providers host and operate software for customer use.
Nowadays, SaaS is the hot new business model for installing security contractors, with managed access control (MAC) leading the charge. In a world of shrinking margins, security contractors are finding the recurring revenue generated by these managed services to be forever embraceable. But what are the main challenges unique to SaaS that confront traditional security providers? You may be surprised to learn that even your most polished salesperson will likely need training specific to this model. Customer objections and the presence of the IT department can provide unique tests as well. Where to find help in dealing with these issues? SSIspeaks with several providers to discuss what they are doing to overcome these and other barriers.
GETTING SALES FORCE UP TO SPEED
Before a security contractor can help simplify a customer’s operations by providing remote-managed services, first comes the actual sale. The process of which, according to sources interviewed for this story, is no small notion.
In fact, even some of the most successful security integrators are discovering the transition from traditional-minded sales to managed services — video archiving, visitor management, time and attendance, among others — is no easy victory.
“First and foremost you have to be prepared to really train your sales force, and more than just a few times,” says Tom Szell, senior vice president of Nashville, Tenn.-based ADS Security. “Our sales team is used to selling proprietary access control. Managed access control is completely different.”
After intensive internal preparations, ADS began offering its SecureDoor™ MAC system about 10 months ago to commercial market niches such as doctor and dentist offices. The company offers services ranging from single to multi-door access points that are remotely managed from its central station.
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