How 4 Integrators Keep Up With Constantly-Changing Security Space

Need a few pointers on how to stay above water in the changing security landscape? These four security integrators are here to help you navigate through your challenges.

AS those who have been engaged in roller coasters, extreme sports or fast cars can attest, there is often a thin line between thrills and chills. The stimulation emanates from speed and sudden, often unexpected changes – dynamics also at play right now in the security integration business.

The rapid, accelerating pace of new technologies, devices, systems, services, sales models and competitors is a double-edged sword serving up both thrilling opportunities and chilling challenges. Those who can’t keep up may find themselves shouting out their best George Jetson impression: “Get me off this crazy thing!”

That space-age treadmill is an appropriate metaphor for how some security integrators are feeling today about trying to stay on top of new technology and associated shifts while still juggling all the usual challenges and demands in operating a profitable business. “Once you’re on that treadmill, you’re paying people a lot of money and going down that technology road and constantly on the leading, and perhaps sometimes bleeding, edge of technology,” says Joe Lynch, CEO of Minuteman Security Technologies in Andover, Mass. “It’s nerve-racking because there’s no getting off that treadmill once you start.”

Lynch’s comments came during this year’s security integration executive leadership roundtable, conducted by SSI each year during the PSA-TEC event just outside Denver. His dilemma invoked commiseration among his gathered colleagues – Tim Ferrian, vice president, Pro-Tec Design, Minneapolis; Bob Kristensen, vice president of sales & operations, Tutela, Fernandina Beach, Fla.; and Jim Patterson, president, Robblee’s Total Security, Tacoma, Wash. – even as they universally expressed the drive and passion to grow their businesses while sharing the means to accomplish their goals.

Discover what makes these four leaders tick, and how they are contending with assorted operational issues, personnel challenges, building manufacturer relationships, partnering with clients and recurring revenue generation.

What is really motivating you right now to get up in the morning and dig into your workday?

JOE LYNCH: Every day I get up excited about continuing to build our business. It’s an exciting time in the systems integration world. We’re all challenged every day on what’s going to make us unique and separate ourselves, but keep up with technology at the same time and provide a good service for our clients. We’re always innovating, which keeps everyone excited. Being creative makes it exciting for us as a company. We’ve been growing at a fast clip, and it seems like we’re reaching new heights every day, every month, every year.

BOB KRISTENSEN: What excites me is that technology is going so fast and furious, it’s allowing a lot of room to differentiate yourself from the competition. Hiring smart people and developing things within your company that differentiate you; that’s the exciting part. We’re not just putting in product, we sell service and ourselves.

It’s an exciting time in the systems integration world. We’re all challenged every day on what’s going to make us unique and separate ourselves, but keep up with technology at the same time and provide a good service for our clients. – Joe Lynch

JIM PATTERSON: Our company is coming up on its 100-year anniversary. Technology was really slow for the first 75 years of our business. What excites me now are the changes; seems every year there’s something new.

The challenge is staying ahead of the technology curve so we can offer those products and services and not get left behind. I remember 25 years ago we were selling multiplexers and VCRs, and they [manufacturers] came out and said, “We’d like you to sell this DVR.” I didn’t think in my wildest dreams at that point that I would ever sell a DVR. Now we’re getting into robotics as the next phase of security. We need to be open-minded about those new technologies.

TIM FERRIAN: What excites me lately is the pace. I entered the market about 10 years ago, right about the time the economy was the toughest. It was difficult to sell. It was difficult to do a lot of things. Things are flowing much better now. The money is flowing better. Customers are spending, so the pace is exciting.

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About the Author


Scott Goldfine is Editor-in-Chief and Associate Publisher of Security Sales & Integration. Well-versed in the technical and business aspects of electronic security (video surveillance, access control, systems integration, intrusion detection, fire/life safety), Goldfine is nationally recognized as an industry expert and speaker. Goldfine is involved in several security events and organizations, including the Electronic Security Association (ESA), Security Industry Association (SIA), Security Industry Alarm Coalition (SIAC), False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), ASIS Int'l and more. Goldfine also serves on several boards, including the SIA Marketing Committee, CSAA Marketing and Communications Committee, PSA Cybersecurity Advisory Council and Robolliance. He is a certified alarm technician, former cable-TV tech, audio company entrepreneur, and lifelong electronics and computers enthusiast. Goldfine joined Security Sales & Integration in 1998.

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