Publisher's Viewpoint: Training is a Challenge for Our Industry

Technology’s a moving target, so you’re never done learning about it. But there’s the cost of training, the staff down time, the learning curve each individual has, how invested employees are in your organization and thus the cost value question. And there’s the need for management, sales, products, technology, systems design and installation training. So how do you as a company or we as an industry address all these issues? This is an ever-present conversation in every company –every company!

I recently spent three days out of five at PSA-TEC®, PSA Security Network’s annual training event. I attended a session on building alliances that covered how to grow your business through partnerships, who to select as a partners and why, how to successfully structure the alliance with shared agendas and clear lines of responsibility, including the contractual terms and documents to formally enter into and get out of a partnership. In another room business owners spent five hours on legal issues…and in another room, they were measuring doors for locks, literally drilling the holes and learning how not to destroy that expensive door while installing a lock.

This is the most comprehensive training event for systems integrators I know of. The PSA members are primarily regional systems integrators, meeting annually to share friendships, stories and issues to meet today’s challenges. The networking component of this group is as important as the training classes and I’ll explain why.

If you listen to the discussions being had or even walk the trade show floor, you feel more like you’re at an IT event than a security event. If you look at the class schedule, Intelligent Network Video, Cisco Certified Entry Networking, Microsoft Windows 2003/2008, SQL 2005/2008 Administration, Accelerating the Vision of Convergence, Network Switches, Selling IT, Managing IP Network Addresses Usage & Performance, The Right Wiring Choices, Managed Access--well you see why they speak IT.

These guys talk the language, understand how network systems work or don’t--where and why--and when they are in front of a customer, they are in the driver’s seat on enterprise system. Although most are regional players, they partner together to broaden their offerings to customers with needs larger than their particular service area and this is why the networking component is so important.

Other key topics discussed were Value-Based Selling, Successful Project Management, Partnering with Customers and I know that I am talking your language here and so are they. And although PSA has been around for years, they are not big promoters of themselves, partly because of the kind of corporation that they are legally but also because they are not good boasters. They’re much more about doing the right thing than telling everyone about the right things that they do. But I applaud them...because they are tackling some of the most significant business issues in this industry, including training, training and more training.

As you read this I am about to go to the ESX Show, another event where training, partnerships and business development tools are the precedent. PSA focuses on integration. ESX focuses on the alarm industry and monitoring solutions, but every day the line between these two groups closes as integrators look to Web-based service offering and resellers or dealers integrate more products together.


Carol Enman