Given the rising need for security solutions helped by governmental regulations and investments, systems integrators (SI) can look forward to good business in the region. However, they also need to ensure certain best practices are adopted to boost their bottom lines.Given the rising need for security solutions helped by governmental regulations and investments, systems integrators (SI) can look forward to good business in the region. This is true, theoretically speaking. In reality, they need to ensure certain best practices are adopted to boost their bottom lines.
1. Education and training
According to Ettiene Van Der Watt, Regional Director for Business Development at Axis Communications, education is a single major factor that SIs should consider. Keeping themselves updated with the industry trends and acquiring top industry certifications is critical. Speaking of his company’s initiatives in this regard, Van Der Watt pointed out that Axis Academy offers a full range of training services and professional certification.
Jamil Al Asfar, Senior Sales Manager for Middle East and Africa at IDIS, agreed to this, adding that the overall process of optimizing a business for market requirements could take time and effort.
“It’s also a good time for SIs streamline their technology offerings,” Al Asfar added. “Training engineers and sales staff, developing multi-stakeholder relationships, and identifying business opportunities takes time and effort. SIs should be looking to partner for long-term success with manufacturers that have a transparent and mutually beneficial go-to-market and sales strategy that is designed to add value across the security buying chain.”
2. Focusing on market requirements
Focusing on the strengths after a clear understanding of market requirements is also important. For instance, retail is a vertical with tremendous potential in the Middle East. However, according to Van Der Watt, not many SIs are focusing on retail. With the latest innovations in analytics, there is much that can be done in the retail segment that can boost the customers’ business. From people counting solutions to heat maps, advanced solutions provide retailers with actionable insights that would enable them to offer better services to their customers.
3. Rethinking revenue models
Al Asfar came up with a different point that SIs should pay attention to. In his opinion, increased competition has commoditized many security services including surveillance implementations. Over the last few years, many installers have felt the effects through the erosion of profit margins.
“Working with zero-configuration and true plug-and-play surveillance solutions can quickly boost profit margins as they are simple to install and maintain and less likely to result in expensive project overruns or repeated call-outs,” Al Asfar said. “Focusing on certain market sectors with regulations that require robust systems maintenance programs will offer SIs an attractive recurring revenue stream and the opportunity to offer value-add services such as predictive and preventative maintenance together with remote monitoring. In addition, SIs should be looking to partner with manufacturers that can add value through product reliability, high-performance, analytics and a low total cost of ownership.”
The key, according to Al Asfar, is to understand that selling a surveillance solution needs to be more than simply specifying and advising on the position of cameras and recommending recording platforms. SIs need to be offering thorough risk assessments and have a crucial understanding of how to build a business case. End users want more than just the upfront cost details. They want to understand the resources needed to operate and maintain the system over its entire lifecycle. They also want to understand how a proposed system can scale and adapt to their ever-changing and future requirements.
4. After-sales service
According to Pradeep Nair, VP for Sales in the Middle East, India and Africa at Pelco by Schneider Electric, one of the major challenges, as heard from the end users, is the post-sales service from SIs. With the rapid technology development that is happening in the video surveillance industry, customers are expecting a full-fledged service to maintain their systems to support the latest technology, which often is not achieved, due to lack of effective post-sales support.
“The other challenge for SIs is the lack of well-trained engineers who can independently commission and handover the systems to customers, configuring the systems to manufacturer instructions,” Nair added.