*Originally published on SecuritySales.com
While automation significantly increases efficiency and convenience for the end customer, the benefits for the systems integrator go far beyond this benchmark.
Automated systems are becoming increasingly popular as solution providers offer better interoperability. For years, we have seen automated fire alarms that instantly alert authorities and enable quick response. We now see higher interest in automated video-based alarm verification, identity verification in access control, anomaly detection and even device-health monitoring.
But the role of automation in improving internal operational workflow for systems integrators doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. While automation significantly increases efficiency and convenience for the end customer, the benefits for the systems integrator go far beyond this benchmark.
Lost Information Hurts Integrators
One of the most common challenges I faced when leading a security integration business was how inefficient we were when relaying important project information through our project pipeline. The narrative hasn’t changed much. Many of the integrators I speak with today have the same challenges that I experienced many years ago.
As a project moves from sales to installation and service, loss of information can result in inaccurate project scopes, incorrect part orders, costly internal change orders, budget overruns and more. Ultimately, this leads to a poor customer experience and low customer retention rates as customers plan future projects.
These issues are all connected to poor operational processes and workflow management, which ultimately affect both the top and bottom line. Not only are unhappy customers unwilling to do business with you; the operational inefficiencies created will result in increased employee dissatisfaction and burnout.
Fortunately, modern automated solutions offer several benefits that can streamline workflow management.
Wonders of Workflow Management
Integrators can benefit from the power of automation by leveraging technology to relay information, streamline fieldwork and reporting, and keep clear lines of communication open with customers.
Cloud-based technology solutions make it possible for integrators to collaborate with customers on system design and streamline the flow of project information throughout the project lifecycle so that every employee is on the same page.
Automation can also improve the ongoing maintenance of security systems by continuously monitoring device status and reporting any detected issues. Some of the latest video analytic solutions can even alert operators if something blocks a surveillance camera’s line of sight. These types of automated health check-ups help integrators know when and how to administer their services, reducing costs and time.
But the most valuable benefits of automation for integrators in the area of workflow management comes when using a field project management suite. Purpose-built software applications like SiteOwl allow sales, engineers, project and service teams and end users to collaborate on a single platform, enabling an automated flow of information to the right people at the right time. They offer integrators the ability to monitor progress in the field, assess installation quality, track productivity and progress, and much more.
Many of the integrators we work with have found that these solutions significantly reduce the risks of information degradation and lack of adequate data. On top of that, the improved workflow and streamlining result in an enhanced customer experience, leading to deeper strategic relationships with key clients and stakeholders.
Adding Customer Value
For the end customer, the three key advantages of automating security solutions are better security, reduced costs and lower operational requirements.
For instance, an automated license-plate recognition system integrated with access control can ensure only known vehicles can enter an area. Automated fire alarms can open and close relevant doors to make sure people inside a building follow the correct escape route if a fire breaks out.
A shooter detection solution that automatically triggers an alarm and alerts law enforcement agencies ensures faster response and safety. If these systems can function as plug-and-play solutions, without requiring extensive training for onsite staff members, so much the better.
As one of the most significant benefits of IP-based security systems, automated solutions improve response time, optimize resource allocation, and minimize the need for human intervention. This becomes even more relevant as data-driven systems make steady inroads into physical security.
More Automation, More Sales
As threats become more sophisticated and solutions advance to keep up, automation is quickly becoming a standard requirement for commercial security devices. End customers are quickly becoming so accustomed to the convenience and reduced costs that analog security options may no longer be counted as viable product solutions in the next few years.
By taking a proactive approach to automation both for themselves and their customers, integrators can benefit from better operations management and more efficient project implementation, which translates to better customer experience and leads to more sales.