Joe Grillo, Vanderbilt CEO, discusses security industry trends at IFSEC 2015

Joe Grillo, Vanderbilt CEO, discusses security industry trends at IFSEC 2015

Joe Grillo, industry veteran and CEO/Managing Director of Vanderbilt International, discusses the changes and trends in the security industry.

Having spent a lot of time in the security industry, Joe is of the view that there are still a lot of untapped opportunities. According to Joe, security spending isn’t recession proof it is recession resistant and companies will always find room in their budget to protect important assets.

He further talks about Vanderbilt’s global business and the challenges and opportunities faced because of different customers, channel partners and cultures.

Lastly, he talks about Vanderbilt’s future goals following the acquisition of Siemens Security Products and growth within its core market and beyond.

On what makes the security market attractive and desirable

Larry Anderson: You've been in the security market for a long time, although you did leave for a period of time, what brought you back?

Joe Grillo: Well, as you said, I have been in the industry for a long time and did leave, although I was in somewhat of a related industry. But as I got back and went to a couple of trade shows, and looked around, it struck me that there were a lot of changes in the industry, there were still a lot of opportunities. There was a lot of fragmentation and opportunities to find companies and products that one could get together, and consolidate, and grow, and really build a business around.

Larry Anderson: And what do you think makes the security market a desirable place to be?

Joe Grillo: Well, first of all, the security market grows and it often times doesn't follow the cyclicality of the overall economic environment, because though security spending isn't recession-proof, it's recession-resistant. Companies will also find the room to have in their budget a way to protect their most important assets.

Larry Anderson: And what do you personally like about the security market?

Joe Grillo: Well, again, it's a growing and a vital industry. Having been in it a long time, and being able to see the trends, and have colleagues, and watch companies grow, go away in some cases, consolidate, and then a lot of new companies come along, it's quite exciting. It's a very dynamic marketplace.

On opportunities and challenges in managing a global security business

Larry Anderson: Vanderbilt now has a global footprint. What opportunities do you see in managing a global business versus a business that is more, say narrowly-focused geographically?

Joe Grillo: Well, the one thing of course is diversity. While one part of the world might be in a slower economic growth period, other parts might be in a faster economic growth period. So as you diversify across different geographies, you have the opportunity to take advantage of those types of trends. And then the other thing is just, it's more interesting when you're dealing with learning about the players in each different market, the customers, what their desires are, the channel partners, the different brands in the competitive landscape.

Larry Anderson: What challenges do you see of managing a global footprint?

Joe Grillo: Well, the diversity of course brings about the challenges of multilingual requirements for your products, learning different cultures, other different ways that people do business, different mannerisms, different traditions or whatever. That's always a challenge as you're going out there, even if the technologies are fairly consistent, the different people you deal with in the marketplace are going to be quite different as you go from one country to another, or one region to another.

Larry Anderson: What can security companies in Europe learn from security companies in the United States and vice versa?

Joe Grillo: Well in my experience, I think the one really important thing, on both sides, is to make sure you hire or consult with locals and follow their recommendations. If companies are too German or too Swedish or too French and they come to the American marketplace, they're probably not going to be successful. By the same token, we as Americans cannot come to Europe and expect to do the same things and hire all expats and expect to have success. So local is very important, again, even when there's consistent technology or customer requirements.

On the immediate roadmap for Vanderbilt, post-acquisition of Siemens Security Products

Larry Anderson: What's next for Vanderbilt now that you have finished your acquisition?

Joe Grillo: Well, it's been two weeks now, so we have a little bit of time we'll need to spend finishing, not the integration of the business, but more the separation of the business from Siemens to Vanderbilt. And getting our arms around all the aspects of the business, making sure our product road maps are robust and re-energised for the future of the business. We want to grow, of course, and we want to grow both within our core markets of Europe and North America, but also outside of that, since we have multilingual products, we have the opportunities to grow. And as we've known each other a while, businesses I've run have been acquisitive, we'll certainly be looking for other companies, technologies, or opportunities to add businesses to Vanderbilt going forward to have a more, larger footprint globally and with technology in the marketplace.

Larry Anderson: Well, thank you for joining us.

Joe Grillo: My pleasure. Thanks Larry.