Mike Taylor has been involved in security industry sales for more than 20 years, on the front line of industry changes and watching how they impact customers. Among the changes is a shift in the nature of the sales function itself. As Director of Sales, Americas, for Milestone Systems, Mike Taylor currently oversees a team that brings to market the full suite of Milestone open platform solutions. We sat down at Milestone Community Days (MIPS) earlier this year to discuss the technologies and trends shaping the market, from artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning to cybersecurity and return on investment (ROI) Q: How much of the technology we hear about today – such as AI and deep learning – is theoretical? Maybe it will come in the future, but your customers live in the real world. How far behind are they, technically speaking? Taylor: When you say “behind,” the beautiful part is that we [at Milestone] are not behind at all. Through our integrations and the open community, we are well ahead of competitors. Competitors who do end-to-end solutions are always chasing, always trying to match the latest analytic that came out. We have the ability to say, “this is the latest and greatest product, they have our API [application programming interface] and they’re integrated, so let’s go.” That’s the beauty of being the platform on which everyone rides. If you just sell cameras, you are always trying to catch the next camera company. Instead, let’s just open it to everyone; be the open platform. Pull all those partners in, and as there are new advancements, we do integrations to them. We do Camera Pack releases every six to eight weeks, so we generally have camera drivers done to our software and released to the market before cameras are commercially available. We are well positioned as new features, such as AI and deep learning, come online. Q: How do you bring customers along? Taylor: As the field sales team, we go out and do multiple trainings to an integrator. The first training is “here’s what’s coming in the current version, and here’s the next version.” The next round of training is talking about future integrations, and new things coming to the market. We also do a professional business review (PBR) with our partners. We sit down with them, go through all the business; it’s a review of how they have done and where they’re going. We also sit down and understand their business plan. We talk through with them what our business plan is and how we’ll partner with them. We also want to open their eyes to new technologies that will open new revenue and sales opportunities, or even new industries. A partnership we have could open new doors for them. Milestone talks to customers about future integrations, and new things coming to the market, before doing a PBR Q: Is there an appetite among security integrators to expand into new markets outside security? Taylor: When you say security integrators, maybe not. What we’re starting to see is infringement of IT and IoT contractors, different groups coming into the space that understand it and see the opportunity there. I have seen a shift of companies wanting to look into other markets and create a better opportunity. Q: Do you sense any lingering scepticism in the market about the next wave of video analytics, or about whether the new category of deep learning products will live up to their promise? Taylor: For years, we [as an industry] would go into the marketplace and say, “if you install a video system, we will reduce your guards; we’re going to help your ROI by reducing the number of people you need.” The problem is, we have done a very poor job of that. In fact, it isn’t true. The fact is, we have brought in more data that has required them to hire more and more people. When I put so many cameras in that you require three people to watch them instead of one, you have not reduced [labour]. I believe that, moving forward, AI will truly give us an opportunity to deliver on the ROI promise that we have been selling for the last 10 years. I have a lot of faith that we will be able to comb through all that data, put it through a funnel, and just drop individual pieces of data that are important, and allow customers to reduce their overall staff, and give them a true ROI. Q: There’s more data than ever, so everything is more complex. Taylor: A cynical person would say that more data has made systems more complex, but an optimist will say that it creates new opportunities. Now that we have that data, what other things can we do with it? This will open an amazing amount of opportunities. The amount of data can be overwhelming, but it absolutely creates opportunity – for us as a manufacturer, and also for our partners, and for integrators who want to evolve and do more than just deliver electronics or put in cameras. The amount of data around on the market can be overwhelming, but it absolutely creates opportunity Q: Cybersecurity is a lingering problem for the market. What is Milestone’s role? How can you help fill the gaps? Taylor: We want to be a market leader, like we are in the VMS space. We want to drive innovation and do it from both sides. We are doing it internally with our hardening guide and more layers of security. We also want to push our partners to be more secure. We are an open platform, but if you want to connect to us, there is a level of security required. We have a duty to educate our systems integrators and help them get stronger. We offer software support upgrades, including three new releases a year, with each one having more stringent cybersecurity built in. For companies that don’t charge for software support, but then don’t do an upgrade for two years, think about how many threats come out every month. We need to be the industry leader and the ones to step up. We want to work with like companies that want to drive that message. We have to use our pulpit as the leading VMS to drive focus on cybersecurity. Q: What will be the industry’s biggest challenge in the next year? Taylor: I don’t see a lot of challenges in the marketplace, but the economy could be problematic. At Milestone, we are very confident where the product team has brought the product, and in the business plan we have laid out. We just need to work to the plan we have built and continue to invest. The only problematic thing that I see is the economy, because it is completely out of our control. But even if that turned today, it would be a problem in early 2019, not this year. Q: You have been in the industry a while: What is the biggest change you have seen as it relates to the sales function? Taylor: It used to be that if you didn’t have a degree, didn’t have a profession, then you would go into sales. We are in a whole new world today, where sales is highly specialised and there is a specific skillset that you need. We don’t use the term sales inside Milestone, we use the term “GTM” or “go to market,” because this is the team that goes to market. Milestone wants to focus on how sales roles have evolved from being numbers people to building strong relationships and delivering service and consultancy We don’t have regional sales people, we have channel business managers who manage the VARs, the partners, the inside team. The biggest change has been away from “we’re worried about selling, selling, selling because we have a number to make.” Now we have really changed. We have a much higher level of person who is more consultative and who builds relationships for the long term. If you look at Milestone, we have always just done software. That is our niche. It has been important to improve the customer service we give, to improve the quality of salespeople we have. That’s the biggest difference for me: The quality of the sales individual and how that role has evolved from being a numbers person to more of a service delivery and consultative person. Q: What message do you have for customers? Taylor: We at Milestone have been very stable and steady and steadfast in the idea that we are a platform. We are building a platform for others to build on. We want to be the iOS, and we want the Milestone community to be the App Store. We want to be the backbone on which people ride, and we have been steadfast about that for years. Most of the people at our yearly Milestone Community Days (MIPS) events are key systems integrators to us. A lot of our partners come to MIPS to see what is next, what is the future, what are the new technologies that are coming. I love seeing the number of new faces and vendors at these events. We bring these opportunities to market. I really wish there was an opportunity for all our partners to come to MIPS, although it would be a huge undertaking! We get amazing feedback from attendees. It’s more than just “that was an amazing speaker.” It is the networking that goes on, the opportunity to see our partners all in one place. For me, I would like to see double the attendance at MIPS. It builds that community. And if you are a platform, you are only as strong as the community you support. We’re out in the marketplace saying, “tell me what your needs are.” And let us bring our community along to solve them.
Kevin specialises in high-end systems integration and design with a passion for solving security challenges Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), announces Kevin Tart as the new Channel Business Manager for the Southeast Region of the U.S., taking over from Jana Sherer who is now Distribution Channel Manager along with John Borman. Kevin Tart is based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and reports directly to Tracy Little, Milestone’s National Sales Manager for the Eastern U.S. region. Jana Sherer and John Borman report to Milestone Americas Distribution Manager Shane Loy. Kevin specialises in high-end systems integration and design, with a passion for building strong customer-to-vendor relationships and solving unique security challenges. Before joining Milestone, he was Southeast & Mid Atlantic Regional Sales Manager - Surveillance with Pivot3. Pivot3 is a Milestone Solutions Partner whose storage solutions are designed specifically for the high network demands of IP video surveillance. Prior to that, Tart was Senior Enterprise Sales Executive at Siemens Industry, developing and managing enterprise-level accounts. In 2012, he earned his Certification in Counter Terrorism Vulnerability with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “Kevin’s ability to develop solid, lasting relations with clients aligns perfectly with our reputation of consistently raising the bar to meet our customers’ needs,” says Mike Taylor, Director of Sales, North America, Milestone Systems. “His experience leading top performers in the surveillance industry and his track record of exceeding sales expectations with high margins will be great assets as we work toward achieving our growth goals for 2015 and beyond.” Support for distribution partners Milestone is also ramping up engagement and support for its Distribution Partners. Jana Sherer has moved from her role as the Southeast Channel Business Manager to Distribution Channel Manager, and John Borman leverages his industry expertise from previous employment at CBC America Corporation where he sold analogue and IP imaging solutions to distributors, resellers and end users. Prior to that he was at Honeywell Security as well as Vector Security. John and Jana are responsible for developing and executing such distributor business activities as branch level training, vendor days, “lunch and learns” and the roll out of defined branch-specific marketing programs. Shane Loy, Americas Distribution Manager at Milestone Systems says: “Jana and John bring a great wealth of knowledge and many years of experience to our Distribution Channel Managers team. We are excited to have them both leading our newest effort in Milestone’s long history of superior partner programs, to be more fully involved in the day-to-day activities of the branch and local distribution offices - resulting in quicker responses, higher satisfaction and ultimately more business. This new level of support reinforces Milestone’s commitment to our distribution partners and will help to ensure our long-term mutual success.”
Tracy Little comes to Milestone Systems with more than 18 years of management experience in the physical security industry Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), has announced Tracy Little as the U.S. National Sales Manager, East Region. He resides in the Twin Cities metro area near St. Paul, Minnesota. As a member of the Milestone Americas Sales Team, he reports directly to Mike Taylor, Director of Sales, Americas. Tracy Little comes to Milestone Systems with more than 18 years of management experience in the physical security industry. He has held leadership positions as Vice President Enterprise Accounts Americas at IR Security & Safety, Director National Accounts North America at AMAG Technology, as well as the Regional Security & Fire Sales Manager for the Northwest Region at Johnson Controls. His experience in both manufacturer and integration firms has been helping Fortune 500 companies achieve their security and safety goals from unique perspectives. Tracy Little is a member of the ASIS International organisation, and has achieved certificates in Entrepreneurial General Management, Project Management Mastery, Lean Six Sigma, and Organisational Strategic Change at Duke Corporate Executive Education. He also holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. “Tracy has a proven knack for attracting, negotiating, developing and growing new and existing accounts,” says Tim Palmquist, VP Americas at Milestone Systems. “His deep background makes him exactly the type of leader we need for managing multiple sales activities in the very dynamic Eastern region. His knowledge of the industry will prove valuable as we broaden our network and deepen our channel sales support to achieve and exceed our mutual goals in the coming year.”
Mr. O’Connell will work closely with Gavin Archery, A&E Program Manager at Milestone Systems Milestone Systems, the open platform company in IP video management software (VMS), has brought on board Thomas O’Connell as the new Manager of A&E Business Development for North America. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, he will report directly to Mike Taylor, Director of Sales for North America, with a focus on working with A&E consultants who specify large security projects. O’Connell will work closely with Gavin Archery, A&E Program Manager at Milestone Systems, based out of the UK. “The Milestone Architects and Engineers Partner Program (AEPP) is intended to support the design of high quality video surveillance solutions and introduce the system integration possibilities offered by Milestone Solution Partners (MSPs) and Camera Partners (CaPs). This allows consultants to create tailored security solutions that use standard software and hardware products to precisely meet their clients’ operational requirements,” says Archery. Thomas O’Connell has a rich background in sales, spending the past 12 years specialising in the security arena. He was previously Security & Fire Sales Manager at Johnson Controls, Inc., where he successfully implemented a strategic sales business plan while leading and coaching the sales and support teams, building alliances in customer relations. He has a Senior Engineering Technician Certification through the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET). “Thomas O’Connell’s leadership skills have helped his previous companies secure their position at the forefront of their respective areas, and we’re confident he will continue such success at Milestone,” says Mike Taylor. “He brings proven experience in addressing high complexity implementations with consistent support and management through the entire sales life cycle.”
Ava Parissay joined Milestone at its Danish headquarters in June as Senior Products Manager in the Professional Business Unit Milestone Systems aims to continue its position as the market leader for open platform IP video management software (VMS), the company has recently hired more strong players for managing sales in North America, Austria, Germany and Switzerland and the UK. A new Finance Manager has also come on board in the US and the fast-growing Bulgarian office has a new HR Manager. The Danish headquarters has hired a Product Manager and Marketing Manager, too. Mike Taylor is now the Director of Sales, North America, for Milestone Systems. Since July, he has been responsible for driving new business, tasked with expanding the local, regional and national integrator base and building out the consulting and Architects & Engineers (A&E) Program. He is also enlarging the field sales team who support our partner relationships. Taylor has been in the security industry for over 18 years in key roles that include Brivo Systems Senior Director of Sales and AMAG Technology Vice President of Sales, having started his career with ADT Security Systems. Gavin Archery is the new A&E Program Manager at Milestone Systems, based out of a London office. His background as a security industry specialist brings many years of experience from Philips Security Systems, Bewator (acquired by Siemens), and independent design and implementation of security systems. Through different roles, Archery has worked the entire security value chain from manufacturer to System Integrator to security consultant. As a member of the Security Institute and the Association of Security Consultants, he is well connected to the specifier (A&E) community, which will help to further develop Milestone’s A&E Program. Peter Grubauer is Milestone Country Manager DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) since May. He has extensive experience in selling and managing sales teams, from previous positions with Novell, Polycom, Tandberg, Cisco Systems, and Vidyo. He works with a motivational management style from a proven history of building, guiding and retaining high-performance teams to develop and implement strategies for accelerated growth. Chris Whitting is Milestone Country Manager UK & Ireland since June, and says: “I have been active in the security industry for over 15 years, bringing IP to market with CNL, Bosch and Sony. Milestone has the market-leading VMS product suite serviced through a well-defined channel, and with initiatives such as the Milestone Husky NVR launch and the encoder license program, I look forward to working with the UK team and Milestone partner community to continue our growth in the UK.” "Milestone has the market-leading VMS product suite serviced through a well-defined channel, and with initiatives such as the Milestone Husky NVR launch and the encoder license program" Ava Parissay joined Milestone Systems at the Danish headquarters in June as Senior Products Manager in the Professional Business Unit. With a B.A.Sc. Computer Engineering and M.B.A. from Simon Fraser University, she has worked more than ten years in the high-tech industry, most recently as Product Manager at Avigilon in Canada where she was responsible for the device portfolio and integration program. Prior to this, she was a Product Manager and Head of User Interface Design at Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates. “Ava will support our team in a number of activities across R&D, Sales and Marketing. She will take ownership of the strategic three-year roadmap for the Professional Business Unit,” says Janne Jacobsen, VP Professional Products, Milestone Systems. As of July, Anja Erntgaard has filled the new position of Milestone Marketing Project Manager in the Danish corporate office. Applying her background with Copenhagen Capacity (the Danish capital’s official organisation for investment, promotion and business development), as well as Canon Denmark, she speaks Danish, English, German and Spanish, with broad experience in project management, design and layout, content management and email marketing, as well as video editing, and print production. Mark Pauley is the new Finance Manager, Americas, for Milestone Systems, Inc. in Beaverton, Oregon. He comes to Milestone from six years at Colgate-Palmolive where he was Senior Auditor, Financial Controller and Finance Manager. He has also worked for Navigant Consulting, Deloitte & Touche and Ernst & Young. Pauley served in the US Army including deployments to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Saudi Arabia. He has a B.S. in Business Administration from Oregon State University, a minor in Pre Law and a CPA license. “Our Sofia office is a burgeoning location for product development of mobile and web solutions, test automation for our open platform VMS, device support for our camera partners,....." Yana Valchanova fills a new position as HR Manager, Bulgaria, one of the fastest growing Milestone offices with an employee count now over 50 after just three years. Valchanova holds a Masters in Social Psychology from South West University and a degree in Human Resource Management from the University of National and World Economy. She began as a Psychologist in Human Resources at Overgas Holding, handling recruitment and psychological testing, training and staff development, before moving on to Human Resource Manager at Bravo Ltd. and Senior HR Advisor at Skrill Holdings, where she developed company-wide HR strategies, policies and procedures. “Yana is an important new member in our global HR team. Her experience makes her a valuable business partner for Bulgaria’s organic and leadership growth, as well as for our objective of being a high-performing organisation,” says Claudia Lillebjerg, VP HR at Milestone Systems. “Our Sofia office is a burgeoning location for product development of mobile and web solutions, test automation for our open platform VMS, device support for our camera partners, technical support staff and channel partner management. This is all part of Milestone’s strategic global expansions.”
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