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In the absence of direct feedback and ongoing communications most managers like to believe they are giving their business’ customers exactly what they need and want. However, that is a dangerous trap that typically creates a disconnect. And if left unchecked, it can become a fatal mistake for that company.

As evidenced by a recent panel presentation featuring high level end users, this concept is not lost on ADT. As part of its recent Media Summit in Dallas, the industry’s largest provider of security systems and services assembled half-a-dozen representatives from some of its commercial customer accounts to share their perspectives and challenges.

Participating were Robert Picasio, senior manager global security affairs, GTECH; Kenneth LeCesne, global director, security, Perot Systems; Jay Montgomery, corporate director of security, Kinder Morgan; Ty Morrow, retired police chief, Bryan, Texas; Peter Scheets, deputy police chief, Bryan; and Steve Foster, police chief, McGregor, Texas. Hank Monaco, vice president, commercial marketing, served as the moderator. The cities of Bryan and McGregor are both outfitted with video surveillance systems.

In exclusive coverage of the session, these seasoned professionals reveal the commonalities and differences among corporate, industrial and municipal clients. A unifying thread is having to sell the value of security to those holding the purse strings.

 

 

Jay Montgomery: It all revolves around making sure that we identify what’s going on and seeing that we’ve got processes in place to mitigate things that may occur. That’s our primary goal. And then second, we want to make sure we’re staying compliant with government regulations and doing what’s expected of us. Third, we make sure we are fitting in on the path of our business model and making sure that we’re going after the same goals.

What are the security goals for your company that you abide by?

Kenneth LeCesne: We look to identify the risk and then get the biggest bang for our buck when we start managing that risk. But we have a secondary goal at Perot Systems from a physical security standpoint. We try to build relationships with a business unit with the people who make money, the people who bring in business. So what we do is we make ourselves available to the business unit leaders and become an agent to help them do their jobs better. All of our people, our security people, are ex-military. We dress a certain way and provide knock-his-socks-off customer service because we market the company. The first person that visitors meet when arriving at Perot is that person at that gate. The next person they meet is that person in the lobby who issues the access control card. That’s very important to us.

Perot’s executives come to us now for our help to show what we do and how we protect people’s information because we’re an information business. That’s our second goal. The third goal we have is to keep up with the certifications in the industry to make sure our people are certified and licensed, and that we can provide the best possible service.

 

 

Robert Picasio: At GTECH we have the same philosophies that Ken just mentioned. We want to be a strategic partner for internal customers. We also want to be seen as an extension of our customers’ security division as well. It becomes a juggling act, but it’s all about making sure that our external customers, as well as our internal customers, are feeling safe and secure.

Steve Foster: When we got our new city manager about five months ago, one of the interesting things I had to initiate was a MBO – management by objective. He wanted to know my objectives, my plans, my goals and I said, ‘I don’t have but one plan and one goal and that’s to make the city of McGregor the safest city in the great state of Texas [this statement set off a friendly and amusing series of playful jabs between Foster and the Bryan, Texas, constituents on the panel]. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to use our new camera system to do that.’ He looked at me like, ‘Is that it?’ That’s what we do in our department. So that’s our plan. 

 

Ty Morrow: You identify who the key stakeholders are, who your key powerbrokers are, who holds the financial purse within the city and then you spend a little bit of time just picking their brains and picking up what their issues and ideas are all about. Then you take that back and incorporate it into your continuing plan so it becomes very, very personal for those individuals. That’s why I think, at least in Bryan, we have been so successful not only internally, but externally for getting our security system up and running.

Several of you mentioned in different contexts how important it is to sell the value of security into your environment. How do you go about that?

 

Picasio: When I first started, there wasn’t a training program to bring me from a municipality into a corporate environment and it was very difficult. For the first two or three months, I was thinking, my God, I’ve got to look for another job. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I couldn’t understand what it was that they were talking about. It was all foreign to me. So most of my training has been on-the-job training.

Some of you have a background where you didn’t really have to worry about return on investment (ROI) and business concerns, C-level executives and making an enterprise risk case for your business plan. How difficult has that transition been for all the law enforcement folks to really deal with security in a business environment?

Building the relationships with our internal customers is the key. I expect it from my business partners. I want them to be a partner. I want them to be invested in my organization and I don’t want them to just sell me a product and then walk away. And that’s sort of what I try and do with our internal customers. Keep your HR people close, your IT people close and then build those relationships.

That’s how we learned how to maneuver through the system and how to make the business case for our division. It’s basically because a lot of corporate people don’t see security as a value-add. So it’s very difficult for us to overcome that without building relationships.

 

 

LeCesne: I was used to dealing not only with the local police departments, but also with the federal government. So I was under the impression that there was not going to be a bureaucracy in private industry [panel laughs]. That’s a fallacy. So again you have to identify where you need to go to get what you want. And you have to make the business case. When the general counsel or the CEO of the company wants an answer, they want it two minutes ago.  

You have to make a business case for yourself. And that’s what we try to do. I look at it as we’re all fighting for that same dollar. I’m fighting fo
r the same dollar that other busin

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