September preview: integrators speak out

   Our September issue is hot off the presses and this month, we’re not holding back. Each month we strive to bring you valuable content on all aspects of the security industry, from technology and product updates to industry news and more. This past year witnessed a number of changes for SD&I, with January as our kick-off month for our redesigned publication, but also changes for you, our audience. Sure, we’ve been getting compliments on the new look of our book but we know just as well as you that it takes more than a pretty cover or a catching cover line to get you to open up the pages. It’s what’s inside that counts and we’ve been listening to what you have to say.
    It seems like we’ve been hearing about the demise of POTS lines since the beginning of the year and if there is still any question to its long-term existence, this month’s column on page 58 by SD&I’s resident fire expert, Greg Kessinger, spells it out for you in a discussion on alternatives to the DACT communication method. Turn to page 28 to hear what integrators had to say about working with IT to provide turnkey solutions in access control. And if you haven’t yet made the jump to adopting IP, ONVIF and PSIA interoperability specifications and standards may just be the case for the compelling argument you have to hear in Dr. Bob Banerjee’s piece on page 36. If this hasn’t yet convinced you to look out for our September issue, Editor Deborah O’Mara’s market cover focus on enterprise and nationals may be just the kicker, page 22. It’s about making it all work together and the integrator that can make that happen will be the one that brings the value home for this vertical. Also make sure to check out this month’s editorial, page 10, and publisher’s viewpoint, page 8. We’re telling it like it is and hoping that you CAN handle the truth.
    Can’t wait? Here’s a bit of a teaser for you of what’s to come in our integrated systems piece, page 32, where integrators share their tips and tricks on effective project management:

Top of the List
    “As far as best practices, what I say is get involved in the projects very, very early on, in the inception and design phase. That’s where you’re typically going to have the most return for the clients.”— Richard Seferian, regional major project sales manager, Johnson Controls, Glendale, Wis.
    “Communication, communication, and communication. From the point of International Project Management, we have learned that international sourcing, shipping and logistics are always challenging to secure delivery. Plan and be prepared for ongoing maintenance services in advance.”—Grace Li, operations manager, ICD Security Solutions, Coppell, Texas.
    “Within the scope of work, if there is a consultant or engineer that has specified something, don’t be afraid to challenge it—don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo if you believe there needs to be more due diligence on the projects and requirements.”—Kevin Gainor, market development manager for Security, SimplexGrinnell, Westminster, Mass.
    “You and your customer want to arrive at the same destination with no surprises and that’s the big trick.”—Bill Robertson, manager of Project Controls, Emerson Process Management, Austin, Texas.
    “As far as the design process, the key for success is to ensure that the client knows upfront that something is important—that it needs to go into the specification. If maintaining an ongoing, low operational cost is important, than the reasoning and basis for that needs to be put into the design package and specifications upfront.”—Benjamin Butchko, president and chief executive officer, Butchko Security Solutions, Cypress, Texas.
    “When you get into the actual projects and the delivery piece of it, it’s really about having a clear, defined scope of work—about having the account blueprint—so the customer understands what you’re delivering on. Once a project is completed, you’re walking that customer through that commissioning piece to ensure that they are getting what they agreed to or contracted with you.”—Damon Kanzler, vice president of National Account Operations, Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, Naperville, Ill.
    “1). Fully establish and invest the needs requirements of the customer to create a well-defined scope of work that the customer approves; 2) Have a well defined project management program with trained and certified project managers overseeing the installation and commissioning of the system; 3) Putting together the overall system design and working with your customer so that once it’s commissioned, they fully understand what type of service program they should have for a long-term arrangement so they get the full benefit of the investment they just made.”—Tom Giannini, director of Security and Emergency Communications Marketing, SimplexGrinnell, Westminster, Mass.
    “1). Focus on the solution not the products or the technologies but make sure you understand the customers business needs—that’s really going to drive the design of the solution and the deployment of the solution; 2) Keep sales and operations linked together throughout the entire process. It makes the proposal better and allows the project to be executed in the least amount of time and makes the transition from proposing a solution to executing a solution a lot quicker; 3). Make sure you have a structured way of maintaining communication throughout the project. How do you feed information back to the customer? Who needs to know what? How do you get information from that customer? Sometimes I find that operation teams like to deliver almost in a vacuum—they want to just get in and get out but you have to make sure all points are agreed to by both sides. It makes the project much smoother in execution.”—Sam Docknevich, national business development manager for Security Solutions, Siemens Industry, Inc., Buffalo Grove, Ill.
    “It starts with choosing the right project. Pick the right job, set the expectations right and execute to meet or exceed those expectations.”—Jim Henry, president and chief executive officer, Henry Brothers, Inc., Fair Lawn, N.J.
    “1) Clearly define the scope of work, the schedule and the deliverables that your customer expects you to provide. Deliverables can be: design specifications that you are going to write; it could be a schedule which is going to define to some level of detail the tasks that need to occur and in what sequence to achieve the project on a timely basis; you also need to have clearly defined metrics that you’re going to manage or measure projects with; or regularly scheduled meetings. No matter how much you rely on a business tool or spreadsheet, there’s no substitution for having a face-to-face discussion about where you are and what the expectations of the customer are.”—David Holmes, public relations manager, Emerson Process Management, Austin, Texas.

Natalia Kosk
Security Dealer & Integrator