Security value creation saves time and delivers business and commercial benefits
Creating Value: a Change in the Functions of Security and Integration
Commercial organisations have owners, shareholders and managers. The job of a manager is to create value for the shareholders. How do they do this?
Usually managers create value by maximising the organisation’s ability to make sustainable profits. Improving profit is a simple equation; increase sales and lower costs and you get higher profits. Most shareholders are happier with a slightly smaller but more reliable profit and that’s when security systems are usually implemented – to manage risks to profitability, such as destruction of property (which increases costs), or damage to brand (which lowers sales).
The security function has traditionally been a preventative function, introduced to prevent negative influences on both costs and sales. As security costs money and sometimes compromises customer experience, it is often viewed as a grudge purchase. The willingness to invest in security is further complicated because risk is a nebulous concept, which is therefore not always taken seriously by management. The prevailing attitude can be “that’ll never happen.” And then one day it does, and the budget suddenly has to be found to address the risk that was always there but was not recognised or fully appreciated.
So exactly how do ATEC create value? We do it in both the product (our completed solution, if you will), and also through close engagement with customers to understand how our work and integration can support the broader operational, business and commercial objectives of the organisation.
Creating Value through Closer Customer Engagement
Most of our customers are busy people with lots of responsibilities. They don’t have time to stay up to date with all of the latest technology, and they often don’t have the expertise or the time to document their requirements fully. What they can find time to do is to tell us about the problem, and allow us to use our knowledge of their business and the available solutions to write a user requirement that we can both sign off on. We help customers to make a business case for a proposed solution that has a demonstrable return on investment.
The ATEC solutions development process saves our customers a significant amount of time and “head space”, which allows them to get on with core aspects of their role, without spending money on consultancy. Our development service delivers appreciable value when projects appear unviable or circumstances change. ATEC absorbs the cost of consultancy in the interests of a long-term relationship. Customers who like working in this way – and let’s face it, who doesn’t – come back to us with new requirements again and again.
“ATEC has the ability and excel at taking a broad outline for what we need and turning it into a solution, without lots of work at our end.” – Chris Wilson, Birmingham Airport
ATEC is not a pioneer of this consultative, solutions development approach – some of our preferred suppliers do this too – but I think we’ve taken it much further.
Managing your supply chain, and ensuring that service delivery is up to scratch can be very time consuming. And why should you do it? You’re paying for a service and you should be getting it. At ATEC we invest heavily in systems to monitor our solutions and measure our own performance. If something goes wrong, we like to know about it first, and we can be fixing the problem while we are telling you about it and forecasting positive outcomes.
We arrange regular review meetings, report on our own performance against our service level agreement and present root cause analyses. We also prepare and distribute minutes so that that there is a clear record of events that builds stakeholder understanding and confidence. Monitoring, measurement and regular reporting are routine aspects of ATEC’s service delivery. They provide a good illustration of our ethos which is designed to ensure that we take responsibility, are open and transparent, and do all we can to save our customers time.
Through saving our customers time and resource we allow their team to create value within their organisation, and this leads to enduring relationships with our customers. Many ATEC customers, such as City of London Police, Westminster Council and Birmingham Council have been with us for more than 10 years. Development scope varies from small projects to engagements at a strategic level.
Creating Value through our Solutions
When designing our solutions we are always mindful of how they will create value in the customer’s business. How will our customer get a return on their investment and in what timescale? How do we lower the total cost of ownership to maximise returns?
It might be a technology system that enables the redeployment of existing staff, or an integrated solution that avoids the need to introduce an extra control room operator into each shift. People are expensive and good technology, properly deployed can assist people in their roles and help them to make more of their time and abilities.
The rapid pace of technology development often means that a refresh can liberate significant space in comms rooms, or reduce an organisation’s carbon footprint. What large organisation doesn’t have strong environmental objectives these days? But it’s not just about saving the planet; environmental initiatives are great PR, plus savings from power and air conditioning can be substantial.
Today, ATEC looks beyond the preventative, such as security breach, risk management, and health and safety issues. While we have won awards for security integration, we also look further to achieve multiple benefits for our customer’s business. Many of our solutions are designed to drive revenue as well as to protect; for example, queue measurement in airports.
While on one hand the airport wants to monitor and manage people’s lawful behaviour, on the other, the people passing through are customers to be welcomed and nurtured. People queueing at security or check-in could be spending money in the lounge, shops and restaurants instead, and one way or another airports get a share of that revenue.
Effective visitor or passenger flow management forms a part of a venue’s customer retention strategy. A bad experience at airport security or check-in, or congested footfall, reduces the likelihood of repeat business.
For many, if not most suppliers, making a business case is a hurdle for you to get over so that they can get their order and not something that they naturally think of helping you with. At ATEC, developing the business case for our solution and how it meets your requirements is all in a day’s work.
Security as a Business Enabler
The accelerating convergence of systems and technology allows the customers of a progressive security company like ATEC to enjoy multiple benefits, which extend beyond the traditional scope of prevention.
Security and life critical systems (for example, fire) can be integrated with business process management systems and centrally controlled. The days of standalone functionality are passing. While our main point of contact is generally a Control Room or Security Director, increasingly Operations, Commercial, Finance, HR and even Marketing Directors are taking an interest in the security solutions ATEC design, the data generated and the potential for new revenue generation.