How to Improve the Integrator-End User Relationship

A cloud-based business software solution ensures accuracy and accessibility

Maureen Carlson headshot
Maureen Carlson is the co-founder and vice president of growth for System Surveyor.

In the world of physical security integration, simply installing equipment and providing passable customer service along the way is not enough. As integrated systems grow more complex and intelligent devices require more consistent lifecycle maintenance to perform at their best, it will be up to integrators and end users alike to adopt business software solutions that are designed to enable more efficient collaboration and streamline operations.

While business software has become indispensable to many companies’ core operations across verticals and industries, certain questions remain. What kind of business resource software application makes the most sense for the physical security industry? What should system integrators and end users look for? And, also, what should they avoid?

The Growth of Business Software

As early as 1961, the first large-scale computerized systems revolutionized the way business was conducted. In the decades prior, most processes, from record-keeping to finance and accounting, were performed by hand. With the introduction of enterprise-wide systems capable of automating these processes, however, even small business owners who had little experience with things like accounting were able to lean on tools designed to perform basic business functions accurately and efficiently.

By the turn of the 21st century, software had been developed to address nearly every business operation, from project management and payroll to front-facing functions, such as customer relationship management and e-commerce. In the physical security industry, however, many integrators still do their work unassisted by software solutions. This can mean taking notes on physical blueprints and drafting proposals by hand or sending PDFs, photos and spreadsheets via email. Doing this work without relying on business software that is designed to simplify, standardize and secure collaboration between parties invariably slows things down and opens the door to unnecessary complications.

In order for integration firms to grow and end users to get the biggest return on their investment in physical security solutions, it is vital that both parties embrace intelligent and purpose-built business software. For integrators, field service software applications can be a driving force behind optimizing sales and operations, improving internal processes and customer interactions, and enhancing competitiveness and profitability. For end users, leveraging a dynamic, digital platform ensures that operations teams have a single, secure place to document and manage a system in real time.

The Benefits of Business Software

When it comes to facilitating a healthy and sustainable relationship between integrators and end users, business software truly excels. At every stage of a physical security system’s lifecycle, a dynamic system design, management and operations platform enables integrators and end users to access everything they need from a mobile tablet or laptop computer, using applications designed to keep these resources organized in one central location.

The immediate benefit to this kind of security system design platform is accessibility. While a technician may need to access a building’s blueprint in the field, a project manager seeking the same information might spend more than 80 percent of their time working in an office. The moment a slight alteration is made by a technician in the field, whatever documentation a project manager has in their hands in the office is rendered obsolete. A cloud-based software solution, however, would allow this same team to work together seamlessly, from the field to the office to anywhere in the world.

More broadly, efficient collaboration is the key to maintaining a positive working relationship. Most operations teams will say that one of their biggest pain points is the handoff from sales to operations. In other words, everything goes smoothly until the time comes for different teams to collaborate. As most integrators now provide ongoing services to their customers, the interactions between integrators, sales representatives and end users can be frequent. Not to mention that operations teams often tap several key people when overseeing systems, from procurement, vendors and project managers to technicians, subcontractors and the customers themselves. Ultimately, the goal is to get this operations delivery team on the “same sheet of music,” as they say. Failure to do so can lead to miscommunication and unmet expectations.

To make sure all of these stakeholders are working with identical information, business operations software facilitates collaboration between stakeholders across multiple disciplines.

Selecting the Right Software

When choosing business application software, the most important thing is to identify the problems that the team is looking to address. An integrator whose sales team has trouble putting a system design and proposal together quickly and consistently can prioritize a software-based solution that is designed to automate bills and streamline collaborative design. On the other hand, an end user whose biggest pain point involves outdated tools and processes for system documentation, device maintenance and communication between stakeholders might look for a business software solution that produces digital as-builts that make it easy to drag-and-drop elements, take installation photos and capture baseline information that all partners and stakeholders can access.

By simplifying and visualizing every aspect of a system design, end users can improve lifecycle management and guarantee that key resources are easily accessible and digitally secure.

Key Takeaways

For many businesses, investing in the future means addressing yesterday’s problems today. Now is a good time to look at security system design, management and operations software that offers teams a better way to document all aspects of a physical security system in one place.

When evaluating the benefits of integrating software into a business’s workflow, it is necessary to have a clear understanding of what the team needs before seeking out software designed specifically to meet those needs. Sometimes, getting the right answers depends on asking the right questions. In the end, integrating business software that is purpose-built for a given industry will save a lot of time and will generate immediate value.