3 Ways to Go from Surviving to Thriving

7 Minute Read

Study with 300 Physical Security Pros provides the evidence.

We’re all storytellers at System Surveyor – we love to share our experiences from past lives.  Chris, our CEO and my co-founder often reminds our team that running a profitable system integration business is really difficult.  

He recounts the story of how hard it was as an integrator to capture customer requirements, how everyone on the team did it differently, how sales-to-operations handoffs were poor, and the most important of all – how frustrated customers were when a technician would show up unable to find a video surveillance camera in need of a fix.  He knew is was not sustainable.

While over the past 5 years, I’ve personally spoken to countless professionals in the same situation, we wanted to quantify the issue. Low and behold, 344 professionals took the in-depth survey that we commissioned with a third party.  

Here are a few of the findings and a pragmatic steps to make some positive changes.  

  • While 58% of System Integrators (SIs) say that maintaining or increasing sales is their top priority ⁠— they are  losing 2 out of every 3 proposed projects and wasting a week’s worth of time (an average of 15-20 hours) on each in the process.
  • Yet, 76% of System Integrators are bullish on business. False optimism?
  • While 44% of enterprise physical security technology leaders want to fast-track security projects; 71% say their budgets are not increasing.
  • 42% of enterprise physical security buyers lean on 3-10 integrators to serve them.

The survey uncovered that there’s a digital chasm in the way the industry works. Enterprise buyers of technology to be better understood by their solution providers in order to spend their budgets wisely. System integrators want to grow and become long-term, high value solutions providers to their customers. 

3 Ways to go from Surviving to Thriving: 

1. Visualize with your customer, make them part of the design process to build trust.

The majority of enterprise security technology buyers are exploring traditional video surveillance and access control as well as new technologies including social distancing detection (33%), touchless access control (33%) and visitor management systems & kiosks (32%). They must maintain operations while planning to retrofit and upgrade their security systems.

But, 44% enterprise physical security customers say they want their System Integrators to better understand their needs – the majority with the perception of the industry using old school processes to do so. The study shows that old habits die hard and that 82% of system integrators continue to use paper, pencil, and cell phones to do site surveys even though 48% say their top challenge is gathering accurate site information.

To go from from Surviving to Thriving – Don’t Let Your Competition Get there First: Those who engage with their customers to share a digital floor on tablets (or on a Zoom with a browser) to co-design, visualize and plan with their customers are improving their sales conversion rate by 20% with 35% less time spent on delivering timely proposals. Beware the unprofessional perception of the yellow pad. That is no way to build trust and confidence in your proposal.

2. Digitize operations, standardize, and collaborate.

When asked who does their system design for them, 40% of Enterprise physical security leaders say that they want to do it collaboratively with their System Integrators and Vendors and 30% plan to do it themselves. In other words, they want to be involved. This is where you can shine compared to others in the field. Companies that are digitizing and standardizing on operations are improving project margins by 10%.

To go from Surviving to Thriving: Let Me Paint a Picture for You. Today’s digital System Integrator takes a tablet into the field with a floor plan or meets on Zoom with the floor plan on a shared screen. Collaboration starts at the first possible point in the process “the site survey” and the customer gets to decide on the placement and area of coverage of a camera or the location of a sensor. There’s no question about what’s in their mind. Even new talent to the industry can gather the information and consistently work with your internal experts to put together an accurate solution.

But, that is only the beginning. During the digital design a domino-effect of streamlined, standardized workflow and collaboration gets rolling. A professional customer-driven design is created:

    • without hours back at the office
    • details are sent to Estimators and Engineers in some cases for a more detailed proposal
    • an automated Bill of Materials is created without hours of work
    • the customer gets an accurate proposal in a timely manner
    • the details are delivered with operations and technicians to finalize installation.
  • 3. Provide value beyond the initial sale – lifecycle management.

    Enterprise Security leaders are busy people. According to the study, they want long-term partners and they have strong brand affinity. Maybe they are not as price-driven as perceived.

    Their job is not only to procure solutions but to keep them operating effectively and efficiently and to plan and budget for what’s next.

    To go from Surviving to Thriving: Post-Sale, Digital Engagement can Help You Shine. What if you had more of a digital ongoing connection with customers? One of their pain points is the lack of an “as-built” for management, planning to meet risk compliance, and for general budgeting. In other words, they don’t always know what they have and a way to know when to expect end-of-life.

    Going digital means keeping a customer’s as-built in a living, digital format. When things change, the as-built changes – there is tremendous value in helping them keep that up to date and offering an SLA. 50% of enterprise security leaders will initiate 11-50+ new security projects per year. For those who remain in a service engagement, that can be business that is natural to come your way.

    Circle of Life: Beyond Prehistoric Methods

    This may feel like a lot to take in. But, we’re actually talking about simplifying and streamlining processes that are taking several steps with prehistoric methods. Read the full report to benchmark your organization and determine if it’s time to adopt and standardize on a digital collaboration and system design platform.  We’re ready when you are.  

    More than a System Design Tool, System Surveyor is a Customer Engagement Platform. This is not CRM in the back office, this is customer-facing collaboration from design through to maintenance. Knock their socks off from the very first interaction and for their lifecycle. Get a complimentary System Surveyor account to try it free.

    Survey Findings: 200 Pros Weigh-In

    Download the 2022 Physical Security Benchmark Study to find out industry challenges and suggestions of how to solve them.