Evaluating New Technologies: How Do You R.A.T.E.? (Part 2)
Business guru Paul Boucherle continues his discussion on how to R.A.T.E. your company’s technology decisions.
Last month we left off explaining what important, purposeful technology adoption speed can mean to your business health. Rapidly identifying relevant technologies that have staying power and broader integration potential vs. “narrower flashes in the solution pan.” The biggest mistake may be standing on the sidelines and making no decision at all. The market growth predictions are astounding, so bet the “over” on this shift in technology. Get in the game!
I also shared: Applying technology is a great starting point to guide strategic thinking, evaluate skill gaps and train/coach your team. Questions to ask yourself: If we choose this technology provider what other security applications are in their solution toolbox today? What about the future? Can they easily integrate with legacy systems based on our skills? How will that reduce my training and installation training in the future?
Think vertical integration solutions to better deliver both security and business outcomes for your customers. So, what comes next? The final pieces in the T. and E.
Technology by itself solves absolutely nothing unless it is applied correctly to solve a business problem first, then delivers measurable business outcomes. This is the fundamental first step in selling technology more strategically that builds your customer’s intradepartmental support for security/safety funding. Got to have a whole team to win these days! What is the tangible, intangible or measurable business outcomes?
The good news is this is a target rich outcome environment during a pandemic. Employee perceptions and customer confidence in returning safely to work or your place of business is a biggie. What about operational cost reductions by automating entrance lobbies or remote satellite offices? Will validation of identity and customizable layers of screening options be more adaptable to customer’s diverse facilities?
As a security consultant, I know how brilliant insights can be; they will not gain traction and deliver business/security outcomes unless departmental managers lend their combined shoulders to implement that technology solution. This does require some secret sauce; it’s called good communication skills. How do they win? Do you know? Are you sure?
Confirm with good communication skills to build the internal groundswell of momentum that senior management requires to fund solutions. An example might help clarify your thinking. Let’s look at E.
Effectively deploying sustainable technology is really the key to long-term success for system integrators. This may mean walking away from a project with challenging technology specs that are problematic, even when it has huge opportunities. It is better to submit an alternative solution bid when a new technology design offers improved operational capabilities at lower costs while still delivering sustainable performance.
Remember, security specifications may be based on products greater than three- to four years old. Has security technology changed in the last year? Can your new technology solution deliver better business outcomes? Bring it!
If you think you cannot meet a specification, ask if you can deliver on the intent of the specification unless it is a highly regulated compliance issue, like fire alarm. Consider delivering on 95% of the security performance specifications reliably at a better cost/ratio benefit to electrical contractor a GC or the end user. Will it reduce project costs by 15%-20%? You have a shot, so take it!
Newsflash, security consultants have egos and have earned their stripes the hard way. However, we, like you, find it difficult to keep up with the velocity of change in security technology. We will default to known suppliers and solutions that have worked in the past rather than new innovative technologies.
Why? Simply, time and velocity of technology change. I am in the same boat; simply don’t have that many hours in my day. Remember the Technology Adoption Lifecycle referenced last month? Security consultants typically live in the late adopter and laggard categories.
So, if you do have a new technology solution, be prepared to provide pilot testing if awarded a contract so a security consultant would feel comfortable accepting your solution. This takes a bit more planning, testing your commitment and delivery processes.
Go wider and avoid the narrower technology solutions (unless specified). If a technology solution can be easily deployed or redeployed more widely as needs change, is easily adaptive to changing customer needs and has a track record of software upgrades that demonstrate “continual improvement” toward improved security outcomes, then give it a go.
I strongly recommend pilot tests as the best approach to reduce risk and engage team and customer feedback to ensure a good fit. Then rapidly adopt, adapt and deploy. Kind of a Marine thing as going up tempo in your pace becomes a competitive advantage in a hurry.
Change is hard. New technology is hard to accept. Design a better process to evaluate new technologies. Involve your entire team and even better, engage your “early adopter” customers willing to try new solutions with a few guardrails in place. Have an evaluation form ready to share to effectively manage expectations. What may be your biggest challenge with fast moving security technology?
Perhaps standing still too long when the technology train leaves the station at midnight. In my experience, that can be a long and dangerous walk home!
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