Accepting a Real-World Access Control Challenge

Here’s a look at how taking on an electronic access control solution with a daunting prospect of change can benefit installing security contractors and their customers.

I write about change quite a bit because I am fascinated with all of the various elements that make change both interesting and dreaded by most people. To write about a subject, many writers research the subject matter they are tackling. I do this too, but I prefer good ‘ol hands-on experience. Blame the Marine Corps. It’s called “ground truth” in Marine lingo and it basically encapsulates the difference between a sterile planning exercise and being in the moment of engagement. Reality changes in a hurry in our business world. What can this principle teach us in the world of convergence security technology?

Plenty, if it means you have the responsibility of delivering sustainable security solutions your customers count on everyday. So let’s use a real-life example to more closely examine the tactical side of security. The challenge was to design, sell, install and commission a replacement of a 30-year-old+ mag stripe electronic access control system with a new IP-based system. Now, for plenty of you this challenge is a walk in the park, part of your everyday security business life. For others, it is not – including yours truly. Yes, I have security system integrator experience with a large company and founded an IP video integration company, but it’s been a few years since I strapped on a 33-inch tool belt. Wisdom and waist size have both grown a bit over the years, but that didn’t stop me. I was up to the challenge and charged forward.

Changing the Mindset on Decades-Old Ways

What I know about security technology from an application and elemental building blocks perspective is much different than putting the IP system puzzle pieces together onsite at 5:30 a.m. because the customer opens for business at 11 a.m. Ladders are unsightly, liability increases and the business operations are impacted – not to mention dropping fiberglass from the ceiling tiles into someone’s glass of beer.

The pressure of doing an IP installation properly in the correct sequence, and coordinating other contractors and supplier support while wrestling with old technology, is as close to “ground truth” as you can expect in the civilian world. Schedules and timing are important when you cut over an access control system. The old system has to continue operating while a new system is readied to take over the workload on a very specific date (no pressure here to get it right!). Now add to this the expectation of your customer for a significant operational improvement and you are involved with a bare-knuckle fight with change. Did I mention that I love a good challenge with change?

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About the Author


Paul C. Boucherle, Certified Protection Professional (CPP) and Certified Sherpa Coach (CSC), is Security Sales & Integration’s “Business Fitness” columnist. A principal of Matterhorn Consulting, he has more than 30 years of diverse security and safety industry experience including UL central station operations, risk-vulnerability assessments, strategic security program design and management of industry convergence challenges. Boucherle has successfully guided top-tier companies in achieving enhanced ROI resulting from improved sales and operational management techniques. He is a charismatic speaker and educator on a wide range of critical topics relating to the security industry of today and an accomplished corporate strategist and marketer whose vision and expertise in business performance have driven notable enterprise growth in the security industry sector.

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