Security systems represent a significant investment, yet many security teams still only use a small percentage of their physical security systems’ capabilities. When customers aren’t tapping into the full power of the solution they bought, they aren’t realizing their full return on investment. This creates a consumption gap. 

Understandably, systems integrators are primarily focused installation — delivering reliable solutions that meet customers’ security goals to ensure their long-term success. However, engagement can go beyond deployment. 

Closing the consumption gap can be a strategic way to differentiate yourself from competitors. The deeper you understand your customer’s business, the better advice you’re able to offer — and the stronger partnership you form.

How a Consumption Gap Forms

For customers, finding the time to learn multiple capabilities of a security system can be time consuming. Often, taking advantage of new tools and solutions takes a backseat to the urgency of daily tasks. 

There are many reasons why customers may not be taking full advantage of the features available to them in their security platform. They may experience a learning curve after deployment and not dive into the additional system features. Sometimes, there are few options for training or a lack of awareness of the full capabilities. Often, it can simply be they are underestimating the benefits gained from new features or too busy with day-to-day tasks to learn other features.  

Manufacturer communication may also be part of the problem. Listing product features is a start, but a product description should go beyond that. Work with your manufacturer to understand use cases that may help your customers see how the new solution or feature solves a problem they are experiencing.  

Strong Partnerships to Bridge the Consumption Gap 

Strong partnerships between manufacturers and integrators are key to helping customers bridge the consumption gap. With the right software partners, systems integrators can focus on solving customer problems, not reactively troubleshooting issues.  

Look for manufacturers who offer good support systems for integrators. This includes not only quality technical support but also configuration and training services you can build on. Look for partners that offer tools and consultation services you can use to complement your value-added services, either to spend less time on the basics or for specialized expertise on complex projects. 

Likewise, some manufacturers also provide learning management tools that system integrators can pass on to their customers. Customers can learn at their own pace and gradually expand their understanding of their system.  

Streamlining the Adoption of New Features 

While many systems are rich in features, the goal isn’t to get everyone to use all the features of every product. Instead, you can guide your customers toward the features and functionality that best meet their needs.  

Having conversations with your customers about their pain points and goals can help you better understand their needs and deepens your relationship. Continuous engagement allows you to recommend relevant products or services that they may find helpful.   

When they are ready to adopt a new solution, customers are often not able to implement all features at once. You can help by proposing a plan to gradually evolve systems and processes over time. This could include a customized training plan to get the most value from their investment.  

Simplifying Deployment  

Look for manufacturers who offer good support systems for integrators. This includes not only quality technical support but also configuration and training services you can build on. Look for partners that offer tools and consultation services that complement your value-added services. This may allow you to spend less time on the basics or offer specialized expertise on complex projects. 

Also, consider the configuration interface and tools that you as an integrator will primarily use. Does the manufacturer invest in their back-end tools as well as their primary user interface? Is there a noticeable difference between these two interfaces in terms of look and feel? Does one feel more dated?  

If the end user interface is easy to use but the back end is difficult, the resulting friction can contribute to the widening consumption gap. It can become too time-consuming or difficult to upgrade or make changes to the system. The harder it is to implement upgrades, the more reticent customers and integrators are to make the changes. 

Configuration should be as painless as possible. If the system has a solid graphical user interface, you’ll be able to interact with the software in a fluid and intuitive way. When the system is intuitive for both you and your customers, you spend less time on setup and training. You can invest more attention in value-added activities.  

Benefits for Systems Integrators 

A consumption gap is usually a sign that technological innovation is outpacing people's ability to implement them in their day-to-day lives. You can work with your customers to simplify the adoption of the innovations so they can more easily implement them and realize the full value of their investment. 

By reviewing opportunities to bridge the consumption gap for your customers, you increase the likelihood of growing and renewing your system and service contracts. You also build relationships as a trusted partner. Customers will turn to you when looking to expand their security system and proactively solve new and incipient problems.