Today, video surveillance, access control and other related security systems are deployed across organizations of all types and sizes. For some, the systems serve a conventional purpose to help defend against theft, vandalism and other unlawful acts while others may extend their use to complement business operations such as liability management, process management, human resource operations, inventory control and integration with POS (Point of Sale) terminals. Whatever the specific application, these systems have become an integral part of the client operation and as such must be maintained in peak operating condition.

System integrators are often the best choice for the end user when looking to select and deploy a comprehensive solution, but increasingly today the system integrator needs to remain involved after the installation to provide preventative maintenance and support. This ensures that the system continues to deliver ROI throughout its lifecycle. A qualified system integrator can evaluate existing and new system requirements to determine how to maximize the system’s capabilities, efficiency and help protect the organization’s investment.

Compared to a typical maintenance company that might simply respond to a system failure or routine service call, system integrators tend to approach the task with a more comprehensive response by taking into consideration the overview of the entire physical security system needs and long term operation. They understand integrated solutions and can help prevent and/or address challenges that arise in multi-vendor systems with a single path to resolution. And when hardware upgrades or replacements to the system are indicated, the system integrator can recommend designs or upgrades that best meet the financial and technical needs of the organization.

Another benefit of choosing a system integrator is that they can augment a company’s technical resources and free up in-house personnel to focus on primary business functions. For example, in an enterprise environment with remote branch locations, the services of a system integrator can be deployed to ensure consistency in the implementation of front lobby cameras or the upgrading of an access control system to incorporate video surveillance. The system integrator provides the skill sets required to deliver a secure and manageable implementation, allowing the user to allocate resources that best serve its needs. It’s effective support from a single source that offers specified levels of service and enables improved uptime and usage as well as eliminating potential strain on internal resources.

Finally, a system integrator can often help an organization respond to or stay ahead of changing business conditions or compliance/ regulatory issues created by state or federal regulatory agencies, OSHA, NFPA or other local authorities having jurisdiction. The pre-emptive actions suggested/performed by the system integrator can also have the potential for a positive effect on the company’s efforts and spending by shifting the system from conventional modes to a more strategic role that can re-model the department (i.e. security, facility, IT) and its function within the company. For instance, an expert system integrator can map out scenarios that use existing systems to fulfill the objectives of other departments within the organization, such as marketing or human resources, to establish workflow patterns or manage liability issues.

Successful service programs offered by system integrators can also track product life cycles across an installed base that can provide intelligence and lead to the savings of non-budgeted expenditures. For small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), managed services from a system integrator provide enterprise-class capabilities for a predictable monthly fee without requiring a large initial capital investment.

End users have much to gain when it comes to moving forward with formal contractual support and maintenance of their physical security system. They also have much to lose if the choice of system integrator does not meet their needs. Finding and selecting the right system integrator requires due diligence on the part of the organization – and that starts with asking the right questions.

You will want to know what standards and measurements are in place to ensure satisfaction of work, along with information about the system integrator’s previous experience. It helps if they can provide customer referrals or testimonials. In addition, ask what product lines the integrator represents, what the staff certification levels are and what additional support the manufacturer provides. Be sure to determine the level of responsiveness and availability for personnel, if product repair/replacement will be guaranteed and what geographic territory the contract will cover. Finally, ask how custom requests will be accommodated.

By working with an expert system integrator for managed service and support, you can be sure you will get optimal value from your video surveillance and security system.