IT Executives: Flies in the Security Sales Ointment

Everyone has a point of view about who’s going to win in the end. One of the big issues facing today’s security industry is the future impact the corporate information technology (IT) function will have on the physical security function. A few years ago the big challenge for security professionals was to add electronics expertise to their law enforcement and investigative training. As each new method of enterprise security was learned, new skills were integrated into a wider spectrum of protection and each new step presented the security executive with a bit more to manage.

The latest addition to the expertise of security executives is the world of Internet-based networks. It would be one thing to learn it and manage it for your employer, but there’s someone else in the organization who knows more about this world. And now there appears to be a little competition for possession of the security function. So who’s really in charge here? 

IT Affects Sales Performance

Sales forces representing the big video manufacturers have to be sensitive to these IT developments.

They give an account on these developments in their regular   management reports so that sales presentations can be properly oriented and “pitched” to both the security and IT executives. The subject is naturally physical security but with a major share of the story devoted to IP video, remote monitoring, access integration, a new management platform, and maybe analytics — all with an IT executive in the room critiquing everything.

We asked manufacturers for some playback on how this new selling environment is affecting sales performance. Their view is slightly indirect in that their sales forces deal mainly with integrators who pass along their own reactions from these group meetings at the user’s facility. You could say that the security/IT picture is a combined view of integrators and manufacturer sales forces.

The overall manufacturer view is that the presence of the IT executive tends to retard sales accomplishments. And in one out of every five cases (20 percent), the process is actually reported to be difficult. Only 39 percent of manufacturers report the process to be easy. Is this becoming a sales impediment that can slow down the trend toward IP video and convergent systems?

It is clearly a major management issue since it goes to the question of production commitments to company factories. Turn the production switch on all the way and you risk being left with a year-end inventory hangover that depresses earnings. Turn it on only halfway and customers may then go to another supplier for their cameras and NVRs.

Add to this production challenge the viewpoint that 2008 will bring an economic recession and you produce a higher probability that security directors will have their budgets cut in anticipation of lower enterprise revenues.

This scenario ratchets all the way through the sales chain to affect the revenues of integrators, distributors, consultants and electrical contractor installers. And it adds one more year to the operation of the aging analog system.

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