5 Steps to Seizing Business Outcome Opportunities

Installing security contractors can now deliver systems and services that meet business goals, thereby flipping security from an undesirable capital expense to a value-enhancing investment.

SECURITY LEADERS at Fortune 500 companies have recognized that security is a valuable strategic partner and most effective when it aligns with organizational goals. To achieve this alignment, it is essential to identify and meet the unique needs of each organization.

Because every organization is unique, the specifics of attaining this goal must also be unique. However, there are best practices that apply to all organizations that will determine both the efficiency of the process and its ultimate degree of success. In today’s business climate, organizations are not eager to spend more money and management is continually reviewing metrics to identify potential cost savings. With this in mind, security, like all departments, faces higher-level expectations while being asked to become more efficient and do more with less.

What has traditionally been viewed as a mainly reactive cost center must evolve into a proactive, ambitious partner that can deliver value and a strong return on investment (ROI). The main goal of security is and will continue to be identifying, addressing and minimizing potential risk and threats, but security must also find ways to align with the overall corporate strategy. With the ability to deliver greater efficiencies and actionable security and business intelligence through data analysis, technology that enables seamless integration between systems plays a key role in the transition process.

Because technology is a main driver and enabler of this shift, security integrators have an opportunity to play a key role in the process by serving as trusted experts who not only deliver leading- edge solutions but also can provide valuable advice on efforts that will speed security’s evolution. In order to reach trusted expert status, integrators must first understand the best practices that will help guide the transformation of security from cost center to value center. Put the pieces together following the five steps detailed here.

1) Understand Organizational Goals
The first step in security’s transformation is to understand the organizational strategies with which security must align. This requires figuring out the departments whose input will be valuable to this understanding, combined with a top-down approach to identify key result areas, internal and external stakeholders, and challenges; and to write a goal statement for each area and stakeholder. These assessments are performed using surveys or face-to-face interviews and research across the organization, approaching the process on a departmental level as well as taking a top-down approach.

2) Set Measurable Improvements
The goal statements that result from investigating and breaking down organizational objectives should include what needs to be accomplished for each stakeholder, and goals must be concrete and measurable.

As an example, let’s look at visitor management, which poses challenges for many organizations that continue to rely on manual and paper-based methods for this important function. Because of the inherent inefficiencies and potential for inaccuracies associated with these methods, visitors face long wait times to check in with a guard or other staff member in the lobby.

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Through conversations with various departments, it would likely become clear that these delays not only impact meeting start times, but that this then snowballs, negatively impacting the remainder of the day. A realistic goal statement to address this problem could be to simplify the check-in process and reduce wait times to 20 seconds or less. Why 20 seconds? Because it is a measurable, attainable goal that enables the organization to serve visitors’ and employees’ needs while meeting its security mission.

Once goal statements have been created, this is where integrators have an opportunity to really shine by introducing technologies that can meet the needs, solve the challenges and achieve the goals uncovered during the initial discovery processes.

3) Leverage Self-Service
In the previous example, the 20-second goal for visitor wait times can be accomplished by implementing a self-service portal that allows for employees to preregister visitors. The preregistration process would include an email to visitors and give them the opportunity to complete any other prerequisite to visiting the facility, such as signing an NDA electronically or verifying information.

Upon a visitor’s arrival, they would be able to quickly check in via the kiosk with the simple scan of their preregistration email before proceeding to the front desk to retrieve their visitor badge in order to further expedite their process. The key is to choose a portal that will work best for a customer and application. A good portal is easy to use, end user-focused with automation that notifies the appropriate people when a request is sent, allows approvers to easily review tasks and notifies alternate individuals if an approver doesn’t respond within a specified time.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, a portal must allow for easy reporting and provide detailed audit trails. By implementing a robust self-service portal, organizations can get rid of paper requests, making information easy to track and report, and providing a detailed audit trail for security, operations and compliance. Not only do portals make the process easier for visitors (i.e., customers), they also make it easier for security to do their job as well. Portals are optimized for both occasional approval and regular or mass approval.

The automated process sends an email request to the appropriate individual, who can easily approve or deny it by clicking a link within that message. This automatic provisioning capability saves time and effort – and the cost associated with both. When choosing a portal, the primary factor is ease of use. What does the customer need to accomplish, and how simply can they do that? Do they require customization? If so, to what level? Are there specific actions, processes or other items that should be highlighted to make them easy to find? These are just some of the questions to consider in order to select a portal that works best for a particular customer and application.

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