Security organizations may be late adopters of technology to manage their workforces, but once implemented, the early benefits of technological solutions become quite clear to them. They’re waking up to understand that simply placing a security officer at a post is no longer a viable option.
That’s the general consensus I’ve gathered from my work around the globe.
Security workforces today are using technology to be more responsive and efficient, collect accurate and timely data and deliver greater business value to their clients. As a result, here are some of the top benefits they’re reporting:
Increased timeliness. In the pen and paper-based world that traditionally characterized the security industry, there was no choice but to manage after the fact. Now, security professionals carry mobile devices that are in constant communication with back office systems and command centers, enabling organizations to ‘see’ events as they unfold and respond accordingly. Responses can be carried out at record speed as well as behind the scenes, such as notifying building maintenance of a sudden water leak or alerting clients about dangerous temperature thresholds in their computer server rooms.
According to Jason Carroll, Vice President of Champion National Security, a key benefit of today’s technologically-advanced security workforce management software is that they allow for customizing and automating workflows in real-time, enabling professionals to “get in front of issues in the field before they happen.”
Streamlined scheduling, compliance. One of the biggest issues facing security organizations today is compliance with and volume of employment rules and legislation, including lone worker safety and varying regulations according to jurisdictions. If a company is not properly managing its workforce and taking steps to ensure new rules pertaining to hours and scheduled breaks are being applied, it will be penalized. Businesses that transition from spreadsheets to security workforce management software gain the benefit of having the technology to do the thinking for them. For example, if a scheduler needs to cover a last-minute called-in-sick guard and attempts to assign the shift to someone who is required to be off for the following 16 hours to avoid overtime, the software will issue a pre-emptive alert. Simply managing overtime can make the difference between a profitable and non-profitable month.
Rich reporting. Security workforce management software is not only changing the way reports are created but is also making it easier to analyze the wealth of information contained in those reports. When mobile security professionals are equipped with dynamic reporting capabilities, any video footage or photos captured in the field are automatically embedded into their reports. At the same time, report templates are site or client specific and provide prompts to ensure that the ‘who, what, where, why and when’ of an incident is completely recorded. Reports are easily searchable in a database and can be analyzed to spot trends or make cost-saving adjustments to the security service being provided.
“Daily reports, incident reports and personnel training are electronically recorded and stored for easy accessibility,” said Christopher K. Ero, Site Supervisor, BMW-Minooka RDC, whose organization uses workforce management technology. “Without the real-time, dynamic system we’re using, the personnel report writing and record keeping responsibilities I have as a site supervisor would be more difficult to manage.”
Centralized control. Traditionally, the only way to perform quality assurance was to dispatch field supervisors by car to check up on all security staff on patrol. Now, mobile technology makes it possible to confirm who’s active and who’s not from a central point of command, providing an unprecedented level of visibility and efficiency so that organizations only need to follow up with those employees who aren’t registering activity. At Champion National Security, for example, one supervisor can remotely manage as many as 40 field employees in this manner. An added advantage is instant two-way communication for employees in the field who may have questions, require immediate assistance or have important feedback to deliver.
Advanced analytics. As soon as a company’s security workforce management activities are online, the power of electronic data is at its fingertips. In the past, companies gathered good information, but had no easy way to run analytics on paper reports or standalone electronic documents. Now, security organizations hold a competitive edge by applying big data and business intelligence tools to glean valuable insights for each client from an integrated suite of software that is easily searchable. They can make better decisions about where resources are needed most and put them into effect immediately and also provide historical reports to demonstrate how security is adding value – a powerful bargaining tool when budget cuts are on the line.
The more security organizations take advantage of technology to increase their efficiency, the more accountable they are for their actions. Instead of waiting for client feedback, they can sit down with them and say, ‘Here’s what we did for you last month, here’s what’s working well and here’s where we need to improve’. By implementing technology, industry professionals are able to speak the language of business, and for the first time, demonstrate how security adds value to the corporate bottom line. Clearly, it’s never too late for that.