How to Develop Data Mining Into a Richer Security Resource

Stanley Security’s Rich Mellott discusses market forces driving business intelligence (BI) in Security Sales & Integration‘s latest IT Intelligence column.

We live in an age of technology that has changed society in many ways, especially when it comes to keeping people more informed and educated. People have grown to expect a certain level of engaging, instant, mobile interaction in both their personal and professional lives. Looking at our market through this lens, the security industry cannot hide from the ongoing evolution of data traffic at customer sites, and from customers’ continued interest in gaining more intelligence through usable data.

Security integrators have been viewed as premier providers of technology and comprehensive solutions. That has typically consisted of the integration of physical security technology, including video, access, intrusion and fire, in some form to provide customers with an easier way to manage their solutions and a more effective way to receive event information. The last major shift in security took place a little over 15 years ago when integrators explored how IT devices relate to the overall security solution. The conversion from analog to digital for the security market has surely passed by now, and security integrators are, for the most part, finding themselves on the back end of that curve.

RELATED: Mining Security Data for Operational Efficiencies

Integrated Solution Gleans Greater Intelligence

Now, we’re witnessing a new shift in the market centered on data, data mining and what is loosely referred to – either rightly or wrongly – as business intelligence (BI). Security integrators are now continually engaged in conversations on mobility and the topic of BI. For some, this is still very foreign territory, but a select few are really taking the bull by the horns and using this as an evolutionary step to change the perception from a physical security “grudge purchase” mentality to a value-added technology solutions partnership.

As integrators, we work regularly with customers’ IT departments, which deal with data in many forms, and depending on the market or customer base, many of them have some form of business intelligence platform. The questions integrators need to ask themselves are: Where is the security data in that BI, and where does it fit into the overall solution?

To answer, we first must determine the problems we are trying to solve for our customers, and then create solutions around their needs and pain points. In doing this, the discussion typically reaches far beyond the security department and lands the integrator in front of the customer’s finance, operations and marketing teams. The next step is to conduct “voice of customer” interviews about the business to evaluate not only the risks of loss associated with theft, protection of employees, customers and assets, but where the customer is experiencing a loss of profits through other means within the business operation. Security technology is the missing link in a business’ data story to help provide a clearer and, in many areas, complete picture.

Enable End Users to Take Action Effectively

Data mining is a great practice in exhibiting trends within the business upon which assumptions and recommendations can be made to affect change. What it does not do is allow businesses to achieve complete clarity about what is happening internally with customers, employees and assets. Now, reimagine the picture with the additional integration of physical security products and solutions with the business’ data mining practices. What we achieve at this stage is called “actionable intelligence,” able to show the business what happened through tying data and video together to turn events into exceptions.

For example, while looking into a shrinkage case at a grocer’s location, where an integrated data mining solution had been deployed, a loss prevention (LP) agent noticed that the inventory of prime rib did not match the sales. As the agent mined the transactions to identify the offset in select cuts of meat, he noticed a higher volume of hamburger sales but the inventory levels of hamburger were higher than they should have been. When reviewing the transactions of equally weighted meat sales, he also noticed that each time these transactions occurred the same cashier and butcher were on shift. After a closer look at the video that was tied to the transactions, it was also determined that the same customer was buying the meats. In the end, because of the astute LP agent and merging of both security and business data, the grocer was able to sift through data and associated video and tie all three people to the theft.

It’s these types of instances and solutions that can effectively show customers the path data mining paves to reduced cost and increase profitability. Integrators should be an ally, a trusted source and the reason for the customer’s growth and success. Data is king, but it’s vital to take time to understand customers’ businesses and vulnerabilities, and be creative enough to integrate and transform business data into actionable intelligence.

Rich Mellott is director of technology & channel strategy for Stanley Security.


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