Jim Coleman, president, Operational Security Services

As many systems integrators may have noticed, the number of large-scale government and enterprise implementations isn’t what it used to be, which can make it difficult to compete in a market that’s growing more competitive all the time.

Recognizing this fact, Operational Security Systems (OSS), Atlanta, has taken advantage of the wealth of technology available to ensure its continued success. With $8.5 million in revenues last year, OSS ranked 56th on SDM’s Top Systems Integrators Report, and its largest project of $1.7 million ranked 21st in terms of largest project size. The company’s revitalized business processes may have allowed OSS to provide its services and solutions on a smaller scale, but that doesn’t mean smaller projects have become a major focus for the company, according to its president, Jim Coleman.

“Our work process retooling is more leveraging technology to make us quicker and more accurate,” Coleman says. “Smaller projects are more of a byproduct of budget restraints than a market demand.”

The key to success in the last year for OSS has been working smarter, rather than harder by providing its 52 employees in two locations with a customized blend of the latest technologies to streamline their efforts. Smartphone apps, GPS, cloud computing, database engines, workflow engines, document management, strong authentication and both inward- and outward-facing Web portals are among the many tools and technologies OSS is using to create more efficient operations. The problem is, Coleman says, that it’s all do-it-yourself at this point — something other integrators should be aware of when trying to produce similar processes.

“Some assembly may be required,” Coleman says. “Unfortunately, no one is currently shrink-wrapping a plug-and-play package optimized for the various flavors of security integrators in today’s market.”

Based on the results of his company’s retooling and refocus, Coleman encourages others to follow OSS’s lead and use the many tools and technologies at hand to increase their own speed, flexibility, efficiency and accuracy. A lot of integrators are finding that the old “tried-and-true” methods, he says, are becoming more of a burden than a benefit to their businesses, he says.

“Many security integrators have work processes that were spawned in a bygone era of higher margins and less formidable completion,” Coleman says. “Today, profit margins for major projects have slipped below the general and administrative costs of many systems integrators.”

Coleman says OSS will keep abreast of new and emerging technologies it feels will help the company to continue to grow in a challenging market. Rather than shrink from change, he says he embraces it as an opportunity to further streamline operations and win projects — and boost OSS’s bottom line. Based on what is out there now, he’s excited at what may be coming in the not-so-distant future.

“We indeed find ourselves living in interesting times; long-term sustainability will require some changes to be made,” Coleman says.