System integrator showing clients security system design using System Surveyor on a tablet.

Doing More With Less in 2023: The Case for Investing in System Design Software

7 Minute Read

As you look at budgets and projections for 2023 and beyond, one question likely rises to the surface: Where should you invest in your business?

The physical security market is strong and growing, which means the median system integrator is doing the same. And while growth is good, it can also add new complications to your business.

Today we’re addressing the question of where the most strategic, growth-oriented investments lie in your business.

Two major areas of potential investment are the software and tools you use to do your work and the people you hire to do that work. Which should take precedence over the other this year? Do you manage growth by adding head count first? Or is it time to reevaluate business processes and the tools you’re using to do the work?

Cards on the table: as a physical security system design software company, we’re clearly biased in this discussion. But stick with us, and we think you’ll agree that improving the way you work and the tools you use to do that work is the right place to start.

The Case for Streamlining Processes & Business Software

System Surveyor employee demonstrating how the System Surveyor security design software works to potential customers.

As you consider where to place your investment dollars in 2023, evaluate these factors.

1. The Labor Market Is Especially Tight

In today’s extremely tight labor market, adding more FTEs (full-time employees) is often a greater challenge than it seems. That’s true in any industry, but especially so in the physical security industry, which faces even higher than average hiring pressure.

So even when the conclusion is “we should hire more people,” actually hiring those people may be hard to do, and it will almost certainly take longer than you want it to. This is one factor leading many firms to look for ways to do more with less (or with the same staffing levels) — something that a site survey tool  or the right software platforms help with especially when they help the people you have in place collaborate and perform processes more effectively.

2. The Cost of Adding to the Team is High

Beyond the difficulty in finding and hiring qualified candidates, system integrators must grapple with the costs of hiring. With a typical salary range of $75k to $125k (and that’s before considering benefits, payroll taxes, and other physical costs of hiring), every FTE in physical security is a significant investment.

Collaborative software or physical security system design software isn’t cheap, but compared to the costs of hiring, it starts to look like a bargain and an ROI that is leveraged across your entire team.

3. The Right Real-Time Collaboration Platform Lets You Do More with Less

Another consideration is whether you can empower your existing employees to accomplish more by outfitting them with better tools for designing and managing corporate physical security or campus security systems. With the right platform for collaborative integrated security systems design, you can.

Business software investments that can handle some of the key functions that you would often hire for (or that can make your current team more productive) are compelling. No one can take away the need for great talent: software is nothing without the people using it. But a force-multiplier software can have major returns to the business and improve customer service. It also can enable you to attract the right talent that wants to use new technology to both look more professional with customers and to improve customer experience.  Happier customers lead to happier employees – and vice versa.

4. It’s All About Balance

Technology isn’t going to replace great talent, but the right physical security tools can certainly make that talent capable of doing more, faster, and more accurately. Finding the right balance between headcount and technology that improves operations is a key to success in today’s highly competitive marketplace.

Benefits of Investing in the Right Business Software

The right security systems business software delivers real results, not just vague improvements. Consider each of these specific ways that System Surveyor can improve outcomes for system integrators.

  1. Faster startup time: When everyone has ample time and ability to collaborate on system design, accurate proposals go out faster, customers make decisions more quickly, installations go more efficiently.  Installs in particular are smooth because no one is surprised by what shows up (and the chances are much higher that all the right components will be there for installation).
  2. Better documentation processes: In a pen-and-paper workflow there are so many opportunities to skip a step, duplicate work, or otherwise struggle with processes or documentation (or both). The right platform pulls all documentation into a single location and helps organizations make their processes consistent.
  3. Fewer second visits to fix problems: With a better digital as-built — one that everyone can see and collaborate on — site installations are more accurate the first time, reducing truck rolls and time-consuming reorders. Getting it right the first time saves you time and money, and it makes your customers happier.
  4. More accurate billing: System Surveyor automates and estimates a bill of materials , giving you a procurement-ready document to hand over to Operations. . Fewer surprises at billing means happier customers and healthy margins which is one of the most important indicators of a successful system integrator.
  5. Increased sales conversions: Using a better tool while the competition is using a yellow pad and pencil is practically an unfair situation. System Surveyor customers see an average 20% increase in sales conversions. Why? Because they can visualize the solution with the customer earlier in the sales process which improves confidence, which wins business.
  6. Improved business processes: With clear visuals always accessible in the cloud, you can organize and improve business processes around a single defined process flow. No more mystery about who does what and when.
  7. Greater collaboration on system design: Bringing the client into the design process changes the relationship in ways that benefit everyone. Now it looks less like a sales job and more like a collaboration on the best ways to meet a client’s needs. Positioning your team as collaborative professionals rather than salespeople is an all-around positive move. Check out the Podcast from our CEO about Being the Guide for your customer, even over being a trusted advisor.
  8. Seamless access, anywhere: With a cloud-based solution, you can survey the site with tablet in hand, and anyone else (back at the office, third-party vendors, other client contacts) can access the same blueprint you’re working on.
  9. Many functions, one platform: the right software solution gives you numerous capabilities of a “system”. That could include video surveillance or CCTV cameras, cabling, access control, intrusion detection, fire alarms, building management and more as well as  building automation estimating software — among others.
  10. Security implementations are Dynamic, not Static: It is not enough to have a PDF of an as-built for the ongoing management of a physical security system; one needs a living, digital system-of-record that can be modified in real time.  If a camera is moved, that needs to be reflected on the  digital as-built.  PDFs are simply a point in time. Invest in software that helps the team manage more dynamically.

With such a wide range of clear benefits, collaborative system design software should rank highly on your budget priorities for 2023 and beyond. You may well need to add one or more team members. But before you do, add better collaborative tools to lessen the load on your current staff and make them more accurate and efficient at the same time.

How Collaborative System Design Software Increases Team Productivity and Delivers ROI

Infographic illustrating the percentage of time savings and increase in sales conversions for system integrators who use System Surveyor software.

System Surveyor’s community has reported that the software delivers 35% time savings, 20% increase in sales conversions, and related improvements to profit margins. Read the report.

Imagine the power that a digital collaboration platform delivers: You walk into a space with other vendors hanging onto yellow pads and pencils, and you have a dynamic digital as built already loaded onto your iPad. It’s hardly a fair fight — you’re going to look better every single time.

Let’s dig into those numbers a bit.

  • 35% time savings: With a centralized digital tool for completing site surveys and system design, system integrators spend less time transferring and copying notes and photos and trying to communicate survey results to customers. It all happens in a single place and in a visual format customers can see and immediately understand.
  • 20% increase in sales conversion: When you bring a laser to a knife fight, you win more often, simple as that. Our platform offers a more professional appearance, increases customer confidence, and adds transparency to the system design process. Integrators that deliver proposals faster, win deals faster.
  • 30% improvement in hand-offs: With a better, more complete digital as-built to hand off to engineering, project managers, subcontractors, and the like, you get better and more accurate results from everyone down the line. Everyone works off the same schematic and photos — one that can be updated once and automatically pushed out to everyone.

Best of all, with System Surveyor, these are real ROI scenarios. . The numbers are based on real customer data. Ready to see how much you could improve ROI with System Surveyor? Check out our free ROI calculator, and while you’re there, be sure to download our benchmark report on proven ROI for system integrators.

Try System Surveyor Free Today

Ultimately, your business must decide where resources get allocated for 2023 and beyond. But given the advantages that collaborative system design software delivers to your current team, it’s practically a no-brainer to start there.

Power up your existing team with a next-generation tool like System Surveyor. Then, as efficiency and sales conversions both rise, you’ll be in an even better position to add that new staff when the time is right.

Ready to get a sense of what System Surveyor can do for your business? Start your free trial today or schedule a live demo with our team.