On the Rise: Olivia Peralta Preaches Access Control’s Future

*Originally published on SecuritySales.com

On the RISE is a column by SIA in partnership with SSI that profiles the next generation of security industry leaders. This month spotlights Allegion’s Olivia Peralta.

On the RISE is a bi-monthly column by the Security Industry Association (SIA) in partnership with Security Sales & Integration profiling the next generation of security industry leaders. This column is part of SIA’s RISE initiative, a community that fosters the careers of young professionals in the security through networking and career growth events, education and professional development offerings and scholarship opportunities.

For this installment of On the RISE, SIA spoke with Olivia Peralta, account executive, Northeast and Great Lakes at Allegion and a 2021 recipient of the SIA RISE Scholarship.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

With roots in Arizona, Oregon and Colorado, I grew up outdoors enjoying the mountains and rivers of the West. I love a good cappuccino or craft brew, reading, downhill sports and camping with our German shorthaired pointer, Routt.

What first got you interested in security and safety as a career choice?

My mother’s dedication and love for her industry, environmental health and safety, over her 30 plus-year career has cultivated curiosity and inspiration into security and safety. I’ve also learned about myself, which currently drives me — I really enjoy collaborating with multiple teams across an organization to better/release new security products and software.

What has your career path been?

After college I didn’t know exactly what direction to head, and although I was thankful for opportunity, I was eager to start my career. In 2017, hard work and luck struck, and I found a fast-paced startup in Boulder, Colo., that wanted to grow, succeed and see its employees do the same. ISONAS was my first taste of access control and software as a service [SaaS], and I was hooked. I quickly moved from customer service to account executive, and I have hopes of product management as my understanding of the market and what customers want has grown, along with my empathy and desire to solve problems.

Who has influenced you or mentored you — either within the security field or outside?

I was fortunate to have amazing mentors at ISONAS. A very talented and tight-knit team in Boulder was there to teach and guide me, celebrate my wins and help me learn from mistakes. They are still my biggest cheerleaders, and I’m grateful for their support and friendship.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

Living in Steamboat Springs, Colo., has been a special chapter of my life. Recreation is a big industry in Colorado for good reason — mountains and open space dominate the landscape. My love for biking has grown tremendously here, and I’m hoping to participate in my first enduro mountain bike race this spring!

What advice do you have for young professionals just starting out in the industry?

Technology moves quickly, and new products are released every day. Follow industry news and know what’s offered in our marketplace. Joining communities like SIA also helps me keep informed!

What do you enjoy most about being at your company — and in the security industry?

I proudly stand with Allegion’s core values, and I love working for a company that puts employees first. I’ve met so many talented people within our organization — it seems every day I’m making a new connection with gifted individuals. The security industry in general is thrilling for me, as it’s constantly evolving, and new products enter the marketplace often. Also, there are many facets of security, and I know that if I ever wanted to learn more about cyber/IT, physical, etc., I don’t have to go far to do so.

How do you define success?

Professional success is about intentionally setting goals and reaching them. I always want to work toward bettering myself, my team and my product. I want to be recognized as someone who always tries her hardest to achieve her goals.

How do you think the SIA RISE community can help foster the careers of young people in the industry? What does the program offer that is most important to you/your company?

I’m thankful for SIA’s platform. Community within a field is very important for networking, growth and meeting others who share common interests. SIA RISE wants to see young professionals excel; they’re greatly helping already with the events they hold, the scholarship opportunities they offer and the people they bring together.

What are some key components of your role at Allegion, and how do you and your team work to understand and improve the user experience?

I really enjoy the consultative selling approach — uncovering customer needs and aligning them with the product that best fits those requirements. I love working with all entities involved in an access control projects and oftentimes get to work with end users, the integrators installing the product and facilitating the purchase through our distribution partners. Working with end users also gives me the ability to learn what we can do better from the user interface, allowing me to share feedback with our product and development teams.

What are some notable accomplishments or efforts from your time at ISONAS Access Control, and how have you leveraged that experience in your current role at Allegion?

My security career began in 2017 at a smaller access control startup in Boulder, Colo., with an acquisition goal in mind. We grew year over year, continually moving toward the Internet of Things/SaaS and a recurring-revenue environment. In 2018, ISONAS was acquired by a publicly traded, multibillion-dollar international company, Allegion. I didn’t know what my career would look like post-acquisition, but I learned that my knowledge and ability to collaborate across teams and be a champion of change had shown through.

I was an integral part of the pre- and post-acquisition environment due to my knowledge and understanding of our software and patented hardware technologies. I facilitated trainings and product overviews with international teams, including in Europe, the Middle East, India, Africa and Canada, and many regional sales offices across our central and eastern territories. My end goals were, and still are, for Allegion to understand the benefits of ISONAS and for the two to grow together.

Later in 2019, I was recognized within Allegion for my collaborative leadership skills and dedication to training many of our new company’s larger internal teams, who still rely heavily on me to answer more “tribal knowledge” questions about our product. Allegion was traditionally hardware-centric — software, and the sales of it, was mostly a new chapter! I proud of and take responsibility for not only the sales needed to get us to the point of being sought after for acquisition, but also my post-acquisition success within the greater organization, as they genuinely seemed grateful to have me during the onboarding/integrating phase.

We are now planning to release a full integration with Allegion’s wireless/WiFi lock portfolio, and I’ve excitedly been working with multiple teams to deliver the new product successfully.

How have the shifts to SaaS and recurring revenue models impacted your work, and what do these changes mean for the industry?

Access control on a customer’s network has literally opened doors for many small and medium-sized businesses especially. I started off my career selling SaaS/subscription-based software and saw the benefits immediately. Customers no longer need to monitor and maintain servers and keep their software up-to-date and can access their software remotely to unlock/lock doors, etc. We have also seen more managed service providers [MSPs] grow their portfolios by adding access control to their offerings. MSPs build networks and are now deploying access control more regularly, as network-oriented products reside on available infrastructure they designed.

Where do you think access control and the physical security industry are headed the next 5-10 years?

In terms of physical security, where a panel-based analog solution has run the marketplace for decades, we are seeing drastic changes and a shift to hosted SaaS opportunities. For many end users, we’re trending away from on-premises software that ages, on a machine that ages, unless you pay for software upgrade plans, manually downloading new releases, updating operating systems, and heading toward a hosted marketplace. Recurring revenue is gold, and subscription-based software is the future.

Also, with the COVID-19 curveball of 2020, I believe end user needs have drastically changed. I think we will also see software integrations grow. Access control software will fully integrate with things like building automation, contact tracing for COVID, memberships and travel software. Open web API options that give end users and integrators the tools to write their own integrations will continue to rise due to these requests as well, so having a team that can develop a sandbox environment and web API to allow for these kinds of integrations gives the product a step-up against competitors. My access control software, along with my business, is a living and growing script where new features can be pushed out remotely overnight.