Many companies continue to achieve strong revenue growth with IP-based video surveillance systems and solutions. With great sales performance comes greater responsibility, however. Take Norbain, the largest distributor in the U.K. and one of the largest in Europe, for example. The company has adopted a tailored, charged approach to technical support, since late 2011, to ensure continued high levels of support and customer satisfaction in response to increasing complexity of security products and system configurations, which has “made it increasingly difficult to continue providing this level of support at no additional cost.”
“The help line aims to give customers the benefit of rapid access to technical support aligned to their individual business requirements,” said Keith Purvis,Operations Director for Norbain, in a prepared statement. The new, pay-as-you-go service model is applicable to all products that Norbain distributes, including its own brands. The company further bolsters IT channel support with newly hired divisional director and sales manager.
VMS developer Milestone Systems also hired a global support director, Michael Flanagan, to “scale out the company's support capability for its worldwide channel to provide more self sufficiency, flexibility and predictability.” The company's increasing number of installing partners around the globe has created demand for “flexible support options that are better tailored to each partner's various needs.”
One size does not fit all, Flanagan said. “The key is to deliver tiered levels of support that match the needs of each partner. More self-service resources will empower our partners to better help themselves and our customers. Cost-effective technical support offerings will also include priority queuing, committed response times and 24/7 capability. Clear, consistent and visible guidelines for global support availability will allow partners to optimally manage requirements and expectations. Open-platform IP video surveillance software is still a young market with enormous potential in the future, so the needs for technical support will constantly evolve.”
PSIM software developer CNL Software has also added new blood for partner network expansion and collaboration efforts outside its home market, the U.K., to “train, facilitate and support the company's growing partner ecosystem, which now includes technology, channel, service and development partners.” In one of its largest markets, the U.S., the company is now focused on accelerating knowledge transfer to partner companies, as 2011 saw significant increases in demand for PSIM software from safe cities, mass transit and critical infrastructure projects.
This has led CNL to create a number of strategic alliances and partnerships. The company's Americas president said in a prepared statement: “We've developed advanced training programs as well as development tools that facilitate our partners to do more of the product delivery and driver production, which are helping them commercialize our offerings. The recent addition of our Washington D.C. office will ensure that we are ideally situated to make this process as efficient as possible.”
For On-Net Surveillance Systems (OnSSI), training and education programs are offered throughout the U.S. year-round. Its channel partners are provided with the knowledge and skills to be able to install and support the company's software offerings, including full hands-on installation and configuration. Discounts are offered to “returning alumni” and specific vertical segments such as education.
Evolving Needs, Continuous Training
Run by a team of dedicated staff, Vivotek offers a training program, nicknamed Vivotek Warrior Academy, only to its official distributors to help turn their project FAEs into industry experts. “As the market of surveillance technology becomes increasingly competitive, we need to continuously sharpen our skills, refresh our knowledge and strengthen our networks in order to stay at the top of the industry,” the company said in a press release. The academy offers program participants the opportunity to meet other warriors, to share their project experiences throughout the world, and to transform these experiences into useful architecture and engineering guidelines.
In video storage, 3VR provides a platform for partners to differentiate their product and services, drive revenue and increase margins. Data integration modules and resources are made available for the company's partners to build differentiated service offerings — including enterprise servers, health checks and reporting — that result in recurring monthly revenue. The alliance program provides “the support and enablement partners need in bringing those services to market, driving true service differentiation and enhanced margins.” The partners portal's unique tools and resources also allow sales teams to focus on priority deals, expanding reach and capacity.
Surveillance solutions provider CBC is also making a significant investment in its international customer support operation throughout EMEA. The company's customer service manager said in a prepared statement: “We recognize the need to help customers in a practical way with telephone technical and operational support, site visits when required, and a high standard of workshop repair and equipment processing.” The expansion of CBC's customer support operation comes as the company introduces a variety of cost-effective systems. “We're improving our average workshop turnaround time from receipt of equipment, and ensuring that installers, system integrators, end users, consultants and other buyers receive the best possible help with all of their requirements, ranging from system quotations to order inquiries and technical questions.”