“I had to rely on dead reckoning, which is a system of estimating where you’re going based on where you’ve just been. It’s primarily guesswork, especially if as the days go by you’re less and less certain where you’ve been. I studied and studied the chart, worked it all out over and over again, but kept arriving at different answers. By the seventh day I couldn’t think straight.”
Bob Shacochis, Easy in the Islands
The fast-changing technology world is impacting everything in our business and personal lives, and while security is a late bloomer it is not immune. As you study this year’s annual SDM Industry Forecast, you will note the ebb and flow of the market as new solutions and competitors push expansion, as mergers and acquisitions drive consolidation and as the game is changed for your customers from security to risk management. All while the basic blocking and tackling of security solutions to secure assets and provide intrusion monitoring solutions is still robust and appears unchanged.
The Industry Forecast predicts the market will be just above flat in 2013 after a slight decline in 2012. But within our $44 billion-plus industry there are significant trends to review and consider for your strategic plans. From door-to-door summer programs to VARs to the largest communications companies, there is no shortage of competitors, both big and small.
While many players are in the market, it should not be a surprise that the two areas that leverage infrastructure technology the most — video and monitoring — are believed to offer the greatest opportunities for sales and profit growth to security channel companies.
The annual Forecast offers unique insights into where channel companies have identified opportunities, where they see change and especially which other organizations are viewed as threats. It is worth reflection to note that the biggest IT companies — Cisco, IBM and HP — are coming at the residential and non-residential markets from the IT side. Schneider, Siemens, Johnson Controls and Honeywell, already with a strong security integration footprint, are coming over the top with their intelligent building automation strategies. And the pure-play security service companies are competing with and partnering with them.
As an entrepreneur, the game has not changed. The top three “challenges” for every channel company are consistent and interdependent: Increase sales. Control costs. Protect margins. Throw in the fiscal cliff and even the elephant in the room, ADT, must wonder what to expect in 2013.
Here is one opinion. Everything your customers buy has a single purpose: Getting the right information to the right person to make the right decision to prevent an event from occurring or to respond effectively to an event that has occurred, thereby preventing a disaster from becoming a catastrophe. And to achieve that goal there is not one thing changing; rather, many things changing. I call this the “-izing” of security.
Channel companies must deliver solutions that create security and business value through data aggregation, analysis and distribution. Here are our seven “-izings.”
1. Digitizing: Security products look a lot like IT products because they are IT products.
2. Mobilizing: There are 2 billion smart phones (and growing) in the world. Your customers will get their risk and security information where, when and how they want it.
3. Virtualizing: The cloud changes everything. The value is in the security application, not the infrastructure; and the cloud offers great resilience.
4. Facilitizing: Building automation or intelligent buildings integrate security with lighting, energy management and elevators.
5. Businessizing: The CSO is a significant player on the executive team and is aligned with his peers to achieve organizational goals.
6. Verticalizing: Channel companies must have subject-matter expertise. Understanding a customer’s sector-specific risks, business goals, and compliance regulations while demonstrating proven success in their sector through best practices and ROI measures is critical.
7. Socializing: Social media is pushing security and privacy responsibility to the individual who will play a role in their own well-being. “See something, say something” is an example.
Considering and implementing the “-izings” into your strategy is a challenge and an opportunity. Laura Stepanek has worked to ensure that the Annual Industry Forecast is clear and helpful for your understanding and use. It is the 2013 economy, however, that may have you arrive at different answers over and over again, forcing you to rely on dead reckoning.
This article was previously published as "Dead Reckoning" in the print issue.