Providing Solutions

SCN: What value can integrators can provide versus an established, major security provider?

Tim Ross: It's always going to be difficult for a systems integrator or contractor to try to compete with the big nationals when it comes to basic things like serviceability, truck rolls, and basic installation of equipmen-if you have broad regional or national scope, you can be the one throat to choke if there's a problem. Smaller contractors and integrators can play much more of a role in designing integrated solutions for their customers; that type of consultative selling approach and delivery model is not something that a lot of the nationals are very good at.

In security systems today, things like 3VR are available that allow you to design a surveillance system not for the generic, more commoditized purpose of just capturing video, but to be an entire surveillance solution that's oriented around stopping very costly problems like check fraud or organized retail crime. You need to set up cameras in way to best leverage things like analytics and biometrics. Plus, integrating those systems with other data systems, like point-of-sales or access control, and transactions, provides a valuable solution to end-users.

How can this impact an integrator's bottom line?

It's always hard to make good margins when what you're selling is a commodity. Where you have an opportunity to gain greater margins is when you can actually tap into a real pain-point, an area of loss, for a business.

Take banking for instance: Trying to sell the commodity service of installing cameras for recording video is very hard to do, but being an integral part of a design solution, to tackle check fraud, allows you to tap into a pool of value that's far greater than what was traditionally associated with simple video surveillance. If you can go in and sell someone on a program that's going to comprehensively address a big source of loss-that has a lot of value for a customer. They'll be willing to think about return on investment and the investment itself in a very different way. In delivering that value, you have the opportunity to take part in the value in how you charge for your services.

Mary Bakija is a writer and editor with more than 15 years of storytelling experience. Bakija is currently pursuing a Master's degree in Library and Information Science to help others find and tell important stories that might otherwise be lost, and to ensure those stories are preserved for future generations to see.