The way we purchase services and products is changing. The traditional concept of buying and owning a product is giving way to the idea that it is possible to purchase the services it offers instead. This approach has come from the consumer realisation that it is the outcome that is important rather than the tools to achieve it. For example, this approach is evident with the rise of music streaming services as opposed to downloads or physical products.

 

With the physical security industry becoming ever more integrated – and truly open systems now a reality – there is every reason to assume this service-lead trend will come to dominate the way our industry interacts with its clients as well.

Interest in service-based security

There is a significant change of mindset that the security industry needs to embrace before a large-scale move to Security as a Service can take place. Like many technology sectors in the past, security providers have focussed on ‘shifting boxes’ as their definitive sales model.

This approach was especially prevalent when proprietary systems were the mainstay of the security industry. Essentially, if the customer wanted more services they simply bought a new product. This was a straightforward and economic sales approach for manufacturers and installers alike.
The security industry needs to embrace a change of mindset before a move to SaaS can take place

The flexibility of integrated and open technology has changed the way consumers view their purchase, so it shouldn’t be any surprise that there is increased interest in a service-based approach. Customer choice equates to a change of focus and interest, with physical products being eclipsed by the benefits of the overall solution.

We have already seen these changes in other technology areas, notably with smart devices and general IT systems. Cloud-based services put the onus on the result rather than which device the user chooses. This approach is even starting to manifest in areas that couldn’t have been predicted in the past, such as the car industry for example.

Consumers are focusing more on the overall costs and convenience of buying a car over the specific specification of the vehicle. Equally, urban dwellers don’t necessarily want the hassle and expense of owning and parking their own vehicle anymore.

If you don’t use it every day, it can make more sense to rent a vehicle only when you travel beyond public transport. For these consumers the car has become a service item for a specific journey.

Benefits for end users

At the heart of this approach is the simple equation that consumers have a need and suppliers need to provide the most cost-effective, and easiest, solution. At the same time, the security operator may not necessarily want to know (or care) what specification the system has, they just want it to perform the task as required.

 the security industry needs to not only develop the right systems for the market, but also to deliver them in the right way as well
By discussing with consumers, we can ensure we work even more closely with them to provide the expert support they need and deserve

Most security buyers will identify the specific business needs and their budget to achieve this. This is where a service approach really comes into its own. Customers need expert advice on a solution for their requirements which takes away the stress of finding the right products/systems.

In the past there was always a risk of purchasing an unsuitable solution, which could potentially be disastrous. The other issue was having to budget for a big capital expenditure for a large installation and then having to find further resources once an upgrade was due when systems went end of life.

Most businesses find it far easier to pay a sensible monthly or annual fee that is predictable and can easily be budgeted for. A service model makes this far easier to achieve.

Benefits of a service sales model

As well as the benefits for end users, there are considerable benefits for security providers too. Rather than simply ‘shifting boxes’ and enduring the inevitable sales peaks and toughs this creates; a service sales model allows manufacturers and installers to enjoy a more stable business model. You don’t have to win new business with every product, but rather sell ongoing services for a set period.

Its highly likely that the whole security industry will start to take this approach over the next few years. Manufacturers are already well aware of this shift in customer expectations and are changing their approach to meet demands.
There are major opportunities on offer in return for a change of perspective in the security industry

With the service and leasing approach already firmly entrenched in other industries, this is well proven in a consumer market. The airline industry is a great example. Manufacturers understand that airlines need flexibility to upscale and downscale operations and therefore whole aircraft and even individual key components (such as engines or seating) can be leased as required.

Using this approach, airlines can concentrate on what customers demand and not worry about the logistics of doing this. Manufacturers and leasing businesses provide assurances and guarantees of service time for aircraft and engines, taking care of the servicing and maintenance to ensure this delivery. This approach is just as well suited for the provision of security systems.

Servicing the future security market

Undoubtedly there are major opportunities on offer in return for a change of perspective in the security industry. However, this will involve substantial changes in some quarters to ensure the business model is aligned with the market.

Overall, the security industry needs to not only develop the right systems for the market, but also to deliver them in the right way as well. This will ensure we work even more closely with customers to provide the expert support they need and deserve.

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Author profile

John Davies Managing Director, TDSi

John joined TDSi in 2003 when it was owned by Norbain SD Limited and led the management buyout in February 2005. TDSi manufactures electronic access control and integrated security systems. Export sales have grown from 25% of the business to 40+%.

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