Long-term business relationships can be a win-win proposition for security integrators and executives alike. Compared to simply transactional relationships that are typically short-term projects, long-term partnerships generally provide better working relationships, increased satisfaction, reduced costs, added value and numerous other intangibles that benefit all involved parties. It’s a smart way to do business that typically delivers long-term benefits.
Better Working Relationships
One doesn’t need an MBA to know that people who get along well also perform better as a collective group. It’s important that integrators not only know their clients’ business needs, but that they also know their clients. When integrator and client personalities “integrate,” project throughput generally improves, and what may have been termed a “problem” becomes a “challenge.” This generally indicates there’s a good mix of personnel working together whose goals and objectives are in alignment.
Establishing long-term relationships (preferably through execution of a long-term contract) enables integrators to better understand their clients’ complete needs, which allows integrators to ultimately provide better solutions. In-depth knowledge of a client’s specific needs and objectives can also help integrators identify troubleshooting policies that ensure consistent system operation for each client’s mission critical operations. This not only bolsters confidence in the integrator’s commitment and capabilities, it may also lead to faster diagnoses and resolution of problems. Most important, it allows integrators to provide security executives with a high level of service based on proactive behavior – which clearly results in a higher level of customer satisfaction.
Maximized Cost Efficiencies
Long-term contracts can reduce costs associated with transitioning multiple project based integrators. Long-term contracts also allow integrators to provide optimum pricing based on a body of work rather than a specific project. In addition to providing a recurring revenue stream for integrators, this helps end users to best allocate available budgets and plan for future system enhancements.
Another advantage is that end users can better manage system upgrades and maintenance to help avert system downtime by employing on-going managed services from an established system integrator. Unlike traditional maintenance or service agreements, managed services for physical security systems can be more flexible to address clients’ changing needs and specifically tailored to their requirements. Continual support and additional or new services on demand are available at fractional in-house costs. Managed services from system integrators allow end users to best manage budgets and expenses, reduce risks and liabilities, and best maintain overall control.
Beyond the design and implementation of a system, integrators can offer expert guidance on decisions about repair or replacement, assist security and IT staff with budgeting, provide predictable costs for support and maintenance through a single contract, and work toward the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) and best return on investment (ROI).
Technologies also continue to evolve quickly and a good integrator will stay on top of new developments so long-term clients don’t have to. The experienced system integrator can better determine the benefits of newer technologies and can recommend solutions that best meet the financial and technical needs of the organization. Integrators can help direct the end user’s efforts to implement new technologies over time because of their experience and knowledge.
Efficient systems are also built on the technical expertise, experience, reliability and efficiency of the system integrator. Long-term relationships can enable integrators to afford greater levels of investment in resources and personnel with expertise above and beyond existing capabilities. This expertise can then be directed to augment an end user’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 across the entire network. This level of service and support from a single integrator ensures that predefined levels of performance and expense are maintained to keep their clients’ systems running and on budget. Security executives who are open to new ideas and technologies and who trust their integrator partners can also help generate better overall value for their investment.
Both systems integrators and security executives have much to gain when it comes to establishing long-term relationships. Most important, long-term relationships can make a significant contribution in ensuring the safety and security of the organization’s people and assets.