4 Questions to Quell Some of Security Industry’s Future’s Uncertainty
Clinging to past successes and practices may impede your near- and long-term future.
In the February issue we talked about looking forward 10 years as a systems integrator. Let’s dial that in and get a bit more tactical and practical with our crystal ball.
The competitive landscape in the security industry is changing hourly without a clear indication of what it means to be the forward-thinking systems integrator. There are lots of surveys and analyses provided by media and pay-to-play private organizations that gaze into the future of our industry.
Try to Apply More Focus to Crystal Ball
As the captain of your ship, what do you expect the next three, five or even 10 years will mean to your company? It could mean the livelihood of your employees or even your business exit strategy. We work with large and mid-market companies to help sort out fact, fiction and precise execution of strategies that assist in managing their approach to a rapidly changing market and future. How they started, maintain and grow their business is often dependent on how they peer into that crystal ball and how often. What are key elements that provide a clearer vision of the future in a converged and crowded supplier market?
There are four chief areas we address with our stakeholders in manufacturing, distribution, and systems integration and with end users to implement thought processes in preparation for the uncertainty of the future.
1) Are your sacred cows holding you back from being a blue-plate special?
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, by Marshall Gold-smith and Mark Reiter, speaks to that dilemma. Goldsmith is a renowned executive coach to business CEOs and he supports Matterhorn’s Sherpa coaching training. The security industry is slow to adopt change, but has a remarkable ability to deliver a sustainable business model. How much are you willing to stray from your comfort zone? The ability to look past projects to forecast profitability as a yardstick of success is crucial to sustainable growth. Developing a vision for blended revenue streams with different margin expectations begins to help business owners balance risk vs. reward for continued success.
2) Cement your market brand with innovation through homework. What do you really know about your customer’s business operations?
How much time does your team invest in this vital knowledge base that separates you and your solutions from the competitive winds that are blowing today? If your business is funded through a stream of recurring monthly revenue (RMR), are your products differentiated from the competition? Speaking of competition, selling maintenance and service contracts as a revenue stream has traditionally been a small piece of most systems integration strategy. New market competitors in the IT, AV and re-tail DIY markets approach this advantageous business revenue stream differently.
3) Should traditional video, access control and outsourced security solutions be viewed differently by taking a long view of “leased ownership”?
This thought is often viewed in the short-term of business profitability rather than long-term, sustainable revenue streams. Financial strength on the monthly lulls often keeps systems integration companies from thinking outside the box. Equipment and labor costs, as well as back-office support, confine many companies to the here and now vs. vision toward the future. I am not suggesting you take unnecessary fiscal risks, but simply look at new ways to enhance your business’ future.
4) Think of selling security as a “value-added” business operational service. Perhaps it should be billed as a monthly operational expense, not an amortized capital cost?
As a consultant, I often see end-user clients not using security technology to fully enhance their business operations; and worse, they do not convey how their security solutions improve the bottom line. Consider the following:
The purchase decision of a system is often viewed as a quick fix or knee-jerk reaction to an incident. The customer spends the money, gets a system, receives training, and then goes into the mentality of “problem solved.” The reality? Their problem isn’t necessarily solved by technology, but their conscience may be. Within a short period of time, they aren’t effectively using the system, or the people using the system have moved on. The consequences? An investment that hasn’t delivered results becomes suboptimal in performance and is thought of as a poor investment that didn’t solve the problem. Upgrades three years later? Good luck with that budget battle! Improve your company’s competitive advantage by selling the “business of security.”
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