Exec Interview: How Bold Group Plans to Amplify Its Value Proposition
From alarm monitoring to financial management to security intelligence solutions, the Bold Group is the industry’s new power player.
Where it comes to technology and business, software has become the final frontier. Creatively arranged 1s and 0s are enabling security devices and systems to reach new heights of capability, scalability, integrability, serviceability and upgradability. Yes, that is a lot of abilities!
Similarly, software offering those types of benefits is reshaping the business operations side of the equation ― bringing greater efficiencies, cost-effectiveness and profitability than ever before.
There are plenty of general business software programs and suites on the market suitable for many companies’ needs, but industries such as security and its wide variety of provider types and specialties are typically best served by purpose-built software.
However, that demands the vendor possesses an intimate understanding of the unique structure, models, practices and requirements of security dealer, integrator and monitoring enterprises, which then dictates the development, delivery and support of tailored, optimized solutions.
Fortunately, a few suppliers meeting those high standards emerged the past couple of decades to help thousands of those companies achieve greater success. The really big news is that those security software vendors have recently been consolidated into a single entity now known as the Bold Group.
The business is laser-focused on maintaining the established excellence and legacies of its foundational companies while leveraging the combined competencies to bring more unified and innovative products to the marketplace.
In 2018, Bold Technologies, a prominent supplier of central station monitoring solutions (Manitou), merged with leading security business management platform provider Perennial Software (SedonaOffice, AlarmBiller) — both being acquired by EverCommerce.
Last year, those businesses, along with two other significant acquisitions (Security Information & Management Systems, Secure Global Solutions), were placed under the new Bold Group umbrella. SIMS has provided software solutions to the security industry for more than 35 years and SGS software (stages) serves some of the United States’ largest central stations.
Those are brands and products well known to security professionals as being among best-in-class solutions. And these transactions have positioned the business as the industry’s dominant provider of alarm monitoring, financial management and security intelligence software.
“Each of these alarm software businesses had built significant expertise in serving distinct segments of the alarm monitoring market,” says Bold Group President Matthew Narowski. “EverCommerce saw the opportunity to bring together companies that were complementary in their customer focus and enabled a portfolio of offerings for everyone in the market from small to large. The combination of these four companies — backed by EverCommerce ― has strengthened everything we’ve done in the past. We are market experts driven to innovate solutions needed by the industry.”
To find out to what extent the new whole of the Bold Group can exceed the sum of its revered parts, Security Sales & Integration conferred with Narowski, Greg Polley, vice president of implementation and project management, and Travis Papay, vice president of development. To hear more from this conversation, make sure to check out the latest Security Speaking podcast.
Describe the vision that led to the consolidation of these companies as the Bold Group.
Matthew Narowski: Overall, we are continuously aligning on our vision to be the trusted provider of mission-critical security industry software that enables our customers to deliver superior experiences for the customers — from precise alarm response to friendly and easy billing interactions. Bold Group now has the ability to scale by building stronger teams, developing existing team members and continuing to attract premium talent.
There is also a significant amount of thoughtfulness in planning the evolution of the technology ― from strengthening the way we introduce products, planning our product roadmap, as well as how we see customers. We have strong alignment around and a concentrated emphasis on our customers and ensuring their success, and a holistic approach to changing how we deliver and market products to our customers, and how we interact with them.
The combination of the four companies also brings an element of operational discipline — each company had its own, strong management system, and with the added operational efficiency through EverCommerce we are able to bring even more value to our customers.
What steps have been taken to smoothly transition customers and personnel from all the businesses?
Narowski: Our philosophy during this transition is “Do no harm.” We are actively working to ensure that our customers don’t see any disruption whatsoever. As we make changes, the customers will see consistent, measured improvements as a result of the integration, which has been all about alignment and communication from Day 1.
There have been some aspects that we’ve had to focus on related to internal process, geography, technology and culture. First of all, when it comes to internal processes, when the four companies come together, it’s not possible to just turn on a switch and everything’s a powerhouse the next day kind of thing. We have four legacy products and work streams to get into alignment. The companies are also geographically dispersed, which initially required a lot of travel in order to connect and to see people face-to-face.
COVID-19 has changed this and created a common ground where we are all now working from home, and using video conferencing platforms to stay in touch. This has actually improved our communication. Using collaboration tools has allowed us to work together on the same documents while being in a video call and bring in the team members we need with just a click of a few software buttons.
From a technology standpoint, we’ve worked to move development from old platforms and work together to use newer technology. We’ve already seen a huge increase in efficiencies and quality improvements in the software and in our operations as a result.
Finally, each office brought its own different culture. To address this we’ve worked to standardize our method of goal-setting. We’re using objective and key results as well as following a standard management practice known as EOS, which has allowed us to bring insight as well as move toward a single format of doing business.
Each area still has its own identity, but by standardizing our practices, we have allowed everyone to work toward the same goal. It’s very much like a rowboat where everyone’s doing their own job and we’re all paddling in the same direction.
Greg Polley: The pandemic has really driven some operational changes for us where we’ve been communicating better. There have been better processes because you have to in this environment, and that’s gone down to our customers as well. Assisting them in working through this work-from-home situation, in some cases setting them up through the Cloud, has really helped our business grow even during this time. It’s been a really positive moment for us as a company. Adapting to some of the changes and adopting new best practices internally has taken the company in a new direction.
What steps are being taken to ensure customers continue to feel their connection and relationship to the different parts within the Bold Group?
Narowski: We are aiming to maintain the same relationships. We are focusing on business continuity and thoughtfully offering opportunities for customers as needed. We’re making strategic changes to staff and operations, finding what’s best and applying it across the organization. We continuously measured to know where things stand and we make changes to improve based upon those measurements. We’re measuring by the numbers or we’re managing by the numbers is really the term.
For example, we’ve added two enterprise account reps who are taking a different view of the customer than in the past, rather than just focusing on customer tickets, customer on case work, as it can come in. These reps are taking a more holistic approach and are looking at improving the customer’s operations overall. They’re taking up a much wider view of what’s going on in a customer’s operations on a daily basis. Then we are proactively working to develop relationships for our customers where they see us as partners versus vendors.
Service and relationships lead the industry, we know that. We are doubling down on our customer focus.
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