SDM Systems Integrator of the Year 2010: Sustainable Value
One-hundred sixty-three years ago, Siemens was founded in Berlin by Werner von Siemens, an inventor and businessman, around the design and sales of the pointer telegraph. Today, Siemens AG operates in 190 countries and employs more than 400,000 people. Its offerings are diverse, covering solutions for energy, automation, healthcare, transportation and industry needs, among many others. Fortune ranked Siemens 40th among global corporations in 2010.
Considering this firm’s longevity, security is a relatively new industry to Siemens, having come into existence in 2001. But there is a strong thread of continuity in Siemens’ business history that has prevailed throughout centuries and is still present today. For example, in the 19th Century Siemens was known around the world for its “successful handling of technically complex, extremely high-risk projects, such as laying major trans-Atlantic cables,” according to Siemens’ historical account. Fast-forward to the 21st Century and that capability for successful handling technically complex projects is apparent today in security too, whether it’s seen in implementing a smart card system for single sign-on of physical and logical access throughout a healthcare system or in the deployment of thousands of IP cameras at hundreds of locations on a major citywide network infrastructure.
It is no accident that the concept of creating “sustainable value” for customers is a core precept at Siemens Industry Inc., Building Technologies’ Security Solutions business unit. It drives the business unit’s efforts to innovate and it serves as a backdrop for leadership. This thread of sustainable value, manifested in Siemens’ many initiatives and accomplishments, is what impelled SDM to name Siemens as its 2010 Systems Integrator of the Year, an award bestowed annually since 2004 to a single company that attains high standards in excellence and value.
“In order to create ‘sustainable value’ it means that we have to constantly change and be willing to re-engineer the way we go to market, the way we solve problems and the way we ultimately service customers. For us, sustainability means reliability, and reliability means thought-leadership and constant change,” describes Carey Boethel, vice president and business unit head – Security Solutions, at Siemens.
RESPONSIBLE, EXCELLENT, INNOVATIVE
Many systems integrators pride themselves on being a reliable business partner to their customers based on the fact that they provide prompt, dependable service. At Siemens, reliable partnership is based on a more complex formula. It is the result of a corporate culture built upon three core values: responsible, excellent and innovative.
The first value, responsible, translates to Siemens’ commitment to ethical and responsible actions, to conduct all business according to the highest professional and ethical standards and practices. There is no tolerance for non-compliant behavior, the company stresses. The principles related to “responsible” serve as the compass by which Siemens navigates its way through its business decisions, Boethel explains.
“Siemens has helped set the bar in establishment of some of the most well-respected ethical business practices, corporate governance and transparency,” Boethel says. “Because we operate in over 160 countries around the world and each one of those countries has its own unique customs and laws, it’s important that we achieve a high level of consistency and transparency with respect to those ethical business practices. So the idea of compliance is an absolute top priority.”
Justin Smith, senior marketing manager at Siemens, says that in order to provide consistency in this area, every employee is required to complete extensive coursework in compliance and ethical business practices.
Siemens AG was ranked the best company in its class, in the Dow Jones and SAM sustainability ranking, capturing the No. 1 spot in the Diversified Industrials sector of the Sustainability World Index (DJSI). “We consistently rank at the top of that list because of the compliance programs that we now have in place,” Boethel says.
The second value, excellence, translates to achieving high performance and excellent results.
“We are committed to living a high-performance culture,” Boethel describes. “High performance…for us means continued and perpetual change; it means not only keeping up with, but establishing the pace of technology evolution.” Examples of this are found not only in a new suite of managed security services but also with new products such as Siemens’ situational awareness platforms, Siveillance Command and Siveillance Vantage.
As a leading integrator, the Security Solutions business unit’s portfolio is comprised of both Siemens’ and third-party products, “allowing us to design the most effective solution for our customers’ demanding environments. We focus our product selection and partner strategies on best-in-breed solutions that are interoperable and, whenever possible, comply with emerging industry standards,” says Perry Levine, senior director, business development, Security Products.
The value of excellence encompasses many facets, including not only technology, but also profitability and accountability to shareholders, quality of services and products, and the satisfaction of customers, all within a fast-changing industry.
“Excellence demands we define a path of continuous improvement, constantly challenging existing processes. It also requires us to embrace change so we are in the right place when new opportunities open up. Excellence also means attracting the best talent in the marketplace and giving them the skills and opportunities they need to become high-achievers,” Boethel shares.
He describes the work environment as one in which “ideas are free to fly, diversity programs capture the strengths of thought rather than ethnicity, and mentoring and training programs take careers to new heights. As one example, Siemens’ Sales Development Program is designed to build a pipeline of talent to fulfill organizational needs through campus recruitment. The structured, 12-month program teaches recent graduates fundamental business skills through instructor-led classes, carefully selected mentors, and on-the-job activities.
Then at the managerial level, managers from all over the world convene every year in a different location, resulting in a motivational experience that ultimately benefits customers indirectly. “These managers within the company have various backgrounds, differing educations, and different and unique ethnic backgrounds,” Boethel says. “The reason we do that is so they can learn as a cohesive group not only from course instructors, trainers and coaches, but moreover from each other. What results is an employee population that appreciates cultural differences and is able to factor that appreciation into our strategy and the business decisions that we make every day.”
Siemens has been ranked in the top 50 in BusinessWeek’s “Best Places to Launch a Career” and recognized by Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology as the 2008 and 2009 “Best Diversity Company.”
The third value, innovative, translates to creating sustainable value.
“Our goal is to become a valued business partner for our customers,” Boethel says, again stressing that sustainability means reliability, and reliability means thought-leadership and constant change. “Constant change” doesn’t mean flip-flopping on strategic initiatives or customer commitments. But one thing is does mean is leading the market with technology that anticipates needs.
“Our goal is to be a trendsetter in all of our businesses. We measure the success of our innovations by our customers’ success. We constantly renew our portfolio to provide answers to societies’ most vital challenges, enabling us to create sustainable value,” Boethel says.
And that speaks to how Siemens goes to market: through a highly structured business model that focuses on results.
“Our high-performance culture and regimented business model are unique within the security industry,” Boethel describes. “Siemens is a very process-driven organization. Virtually everything that we do is measured. We take a very methodical approach towards innovation and value-creation. So whatever facet of our business that you’re talking about, chances are that there are standards, established work streams, established best practices, and the underlying goal is consistency and reliability.”
So while innovation is important in an industry whose very foundations are shifting, innovation is not carried out for its own sake at Siemens Security Solutions. There is a structured approach to innovation which is a necessary underpinning of serving a global customer base.
SIEMENS IN SECURITY
Siemens Security Solutions business unit’s mission states: We are the leading provider of systems, solutions and services for security, fire safety, building automation and energy management. We improve facilities by making them safer, secure, energy efficient and less costly to operate. To fulfill this mission, it has nationwide capabilities in consultation, design and engineering, installation, service and monitoring through its network of 100 branch locations and two UL-listed and Five Diamond certified central stations. The central stations are a key component of one of the company’s more recent initiatives.
For a business whose primary markets are federal government, municipal critical infrastructure, healthcare, higher education, chemical and pharmaceutical, food and beverage, data centers, aviation and maritime, it would seem that traditional central station services would be only slightly in demand. But not here, where the company has made managed services a “top priority” and has assumed a leadership role in deploying Software as a Service (SaaS) as the backbone of its managed services portfolio.
Managed services offer customers a comprehensive security solution on a limited budget or with limited in-house expertise, says Phil Atteberry, director – Managed Security Services. With Siemens’ Remote Security Management (RSM) service suite, “our expert team can administer, manage and monitor security protocols through access control, video and audio systems,” he says.
Atteberry explains that over the past year, Siemens has added significant infrastructure and expertise to enable and advance this delivery model. “To ensure a continual uptime connection to our customer, Siemens has invested in a robust fiber infrastructure which provides redundant connections between our two centers, as well as multiple connections to our customers. We have also made investments in both of our data centers to accommodate the new technology, as well as provide redundancy for our customers. Also, we increased our IT expertise…,” he says.
Another focus over the past year has been building core competencies in very large, complex project sales and execution, the company describes. It’s been one of Siemens’ strengths for centuries, but recently additional resources and capital were committed to this segment.
The result: Siemens launched its Integrated Security Systems (ISS) business segment, which is primarily focused on command-and-control, advanced analytics, enterprise identity management and deeply integrated solutions in mission-critical environments. Robert Hile, director – Integrated Security Solutions, explains that foundationally Siemens was prepared to deploy ISS on a consistent and reliable basis due to its large number of field offices in the United States and Canada, “all capable of providing turnkey security system offerings virtually anywhere,” Hile says.
Hile also points out that with this type of project sale there are multiple layers of decision-makers within the customer organization, and Siemens ISS addresses that unique characteristic of the sales process. “You’d better understand their business enough to position the security system as more than just a door controller or camera. The system needs to be positioned as a part of their day-to-day business practice and needs to add value over traditional security systems or the deal won’t happen,” Hile emphasizes. Therefore, an ISS subject matter expert within Siemens “leads the process from inception to completion to ensure that every person within the customer’s buying chain is addressed and the entire process both internal and external is managed in a cohesive manner.”
A 2010 INITIATIVE
A large part of selecting a Systems Integrator of the Year as best-in-industry is based on a significant accomplishment by that integrator in the current year. At Siemens Security Solutions business unit, that accomplishment is its “Operational Readiness” platform.
“As a company with both a national and global presence, our focus has always been upon the ‘customer experience’ and in achieving a high level of consistency in the delivery of our products and services,” Smith says.
Operational Readiness is a system of talent management that assigns, measures and monitors training and certifications for all of the field employees, Smith describes. The program is managed by Siemens’ Educational Services group and is intended to provide a measure of how well the company is training its people, he says. With Operational Readiness there is now a method in place to measure actual training recorded against a plan.
As Bob Albertson, national service operations manager, describes, “Until we had implemented the operational readiness scores, there was no metric to measure one location, let alone compare one to another or to roll up to the entire organization. In establishing the program, the overall drivers were customer satisfaction (qualified, trained people) and employee satisfaction (‘I have the training to do my job’).
This platform is enabled by an online, centralized data repository which includes all employees, their roles and their responsibilities, as well as the assigned training requirements associated with each role. As assigned training courses are completed and certifications are obtained, the system is updated and the branch operational readiness score is adjusted accordingly, Boethel explains. “Our Operational Readiness platform provides a means by which to manage and develop our vast talent pool and ultimately achieve a level of consistency unmatched in the industry today.”
Given the competitive environment that exists in the security industry today, the initiatives, accomplishments and overall strategic direction that makes up Siemens Security Solutions puts it clearly as a frontrunner in the security systems integration market. With its high-performance culture steered by core values that bring sustainable value to clients, it is marked to be a leader in security in whatever direction the industry takes in the future, perhaps for another 163 years to come.
Siemens Security Solutions Business Unit at a Glance
Siemens Industry USA Building Technologies is part of Siemens AG, a global electronics and information technology company.
Headquarters: Buffalo Grove, Ill.
Traded on the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol: SI
2009 revenue: $ 8.659 billion*
Employees: Approximately 8,000 worldwide in Siemens Industry Inc. Building Technologies division
Locations: 100, including central stations in Irving, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Siemens’ Security Solutions Business Unit operates in 26 countries.
Ranked on SDM’s Top Systems Integrators Report: No. 2, based on SDM’s estimate of $1.4 billion North American systems integration revenue.
On October 1, 1998, Siemens AG acquired the industrial holdings of Swiss-based Electrowatt AG, which included Landis & Staefa and Cerberus Pyrotronics, leaders in building automation and fire alarm and life safety respectively.
Combining these leaders with its own related businesses, Siemens AG created a new operating company: Siemens Building Technologies.
In June 2001, Siemens Industry USA Building Technologies established a presence in the rapidly growing electronic security market by acquiring the Security Technologies Group of Sunrise, Fla. Today, Siemens Industry USA Building Technologies offers from a single source the industry’s most comprehensive range of building performance solutions. – Source: www.buildingtechnologies.siemens.com
*Revenue for global Building Technologies division; Security Solutions Business Unit specific financial data not available due to company policy.
'Media Day' Clarifies Siemens' Initiatives in Security
Siemens hosted a “media day” last August at which members of the security trade press were invited to learn more about how the business is structured, as well as new initiatives by company’s Security Solutions business unit. The Security Solutions business unit is part of Siemens’ Building Technologies Division, one of five divisions that make up Siemens Industry Inc. Within the Security Solutions unit there are three areas:
• Managed Security Services
• Integrated Security Solutions
• Lifecycle Security Solutions
Managed Security Services turn hardware and software into a solution for customers. “We’re asking how we can be more of a business partner with managed services,” says Phil Atteberry, director of Managed Security Services. “By introducing the SaaS model into remote security management, [users] can get the experience they want at the speed they desire.”
Services include video monitoring and management, access control monitoring and management, and remote security management. Further, financing is offered to customers to be able to afford the solution “to shift the purchase from a capital expenditure to an operational expense,” Atteberry explains.
Integrated Security Solutions, led by Rob Hile, director, Integrated Security Solutions, is a large project team that excels at complex, sophisticated integration focused on command-and-control applications and customer-specific integration interfaces, according to Siemens.
Boethel sees this area, along with hosted/managed services, as one of the two key trends shaping security today. “The proliferation of PSIM and command-and-control [is driven by the benefit of] efficient information flow during emergency situations,” he says.
“If the economy downturn taught us anything,” Boethel believes, “it’s that one, the security industry is not exempt. And two, everyone has to prove its value, its return on investment.”
Siemens Management Team Security Solutions Business Unit
Years Worked in Industry
|Andreas Schierenbeck||President, Building Technologies Division||6|
|Carey Boethel||Vice President & Business Unit Head – Security Solutions||18|
|Director – Finance & Business Administration, Security Solutions||7|
|Perry Levine||Senior Director – Business Development, Security Products||32|
|Jim Hunter||Senior Director – National Accounts||26|
|Robert Hile||Director – Integrated Security Solutions||21|
|Chris Crane||Director – National Operations||31|
|Phil Atteberry||Director – Managed Security Services||11|
Siemens Comments on Emerging Technologies
Perry Levine is Siemens’ senior director, business development, security products at the Security Solutions Business Unit. SDM asked him, “What new or emerging technologies does Siemens believe will have a significant impact on the security market in the coming months/years?
Levine: Staying current on security technology trends is crucial in maintaining a robust product portfolio for a security systems integrator. Having been in the security industry for over 30 years, the past 20 with Siemens, I have seen many technology paradigm shifts.
When I started with access control, all of the systems were proprietary, including the CPU and memory boards. CCTV (closed circuit television) is no longer “closed.” The trend is clearly towards an open, IT-standardized environment. Standards such as ONVIF, which started with video standardization, are now expanding to address access control.
The IT environment is also now shifting towards centralized processing with the trend of cloud computing and SaaS. The cost of bandwidth and storage continues to decrease, allowing for solutions to enable remote services to become not only affordable, but provide overall cost savings and a quick ROI.
Identity management, new smart card technologies and convergence with information services is also impacting the sophistication of the solutions that a security systems integrator needs to be prepared to deliver. Solutions can now be designed to not only provide traditional security, but to enhance the business processes of an organization.
All of these trends are driving innovation to the security products of today, moving the intelligence towards the edge of the network, and providing more interoperability between the different systems. As the amount of data available from the many security devices on the network grows, information management becomes an issue, and physical security information management (PSIM) solutions are taking on the role to consolidate the many disparate systems, creating a unified solution. Command-and-control solutions to protect critical infrastructure are providing situational awareness, workflow, and mass notification capabilities to the standard security solutions offered today.
This is an exciting time to be involved as a security systems integrator, as over the next several months/years all of these paradigm shifts will come together to transform our future.