Security Sales & Integration

October 2013

SSI serves security installing contractors providing systems and services; surveillance, access control, biometrics, fire alarm and home control/automation. Coverage in commercial and residential product applications, designs, techniques, operations.

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RESOLVE TO REMAIN RELEVANT Advisory Board Forum by John Jennings John Jennings is CEO of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Safeguard. jrjennings@safeguard.us W hen I was asked to submit this article I thought about many topics hoping to fnd one that was "relevant" to our current situation. Ten it dawned on me, relevancy itself! It is so important today; maybe more now than ever. Te dictionary defnes relevance as "applicability to social issues." How many times do you hear that during the day, from social media to social networks? Why am I writing about this? Because I feel our industry is looking for ways to remain relevant to the consumer. Let's look at a couple of examples of companies that became irrelevant to their markets and the consequences that can have: Research In Motion (RIM)/ Blackberry — Tis company owned the personal digital assistant (PDA) market until two years ago. If you had a job you used a Blackberry. Where is this business? It's trying to determine what to do and how to play catch-up, and it is probably too late. I am certain someone at RIM said at some point, "Who would want to own a Think about how the youth of today communicate and purchase; very different from the paradigms of the past. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to spend some time talking to the young people in your company and find out what they think is cool and not so cool about your company. 10 / SECURITYSALES.COM / OCTOBER 2013 phone made by Apple? Tey don't even make a mainstream computer and the phone could never be as good as ours." Yet the app in Apple killed them because the app became relevant, not the phone. In fact, more things are done daily on an iPhone that don't involve talking. Imagine that, using your phone for something other than talking! DEC (Digital Equipment Corp.) — Most of you probably don't remember or even know DEC. Tis company owned the computer market from the mid-1970s into the mid-1980s. It was convinced the world of computing revolved around a mainframe, namely its VAX 11/750. Surprise! Along came IBM and Microsoft with a diferent view of computing … the desktop. I am certain again that someone at DEC said, "Who is this Microsoft? Tey surely can't compete with our processors and their language is way too simplistic to ever have density." Well you know where that has gone. DEC no longer exists and the world is rapidly moving away from desktop applications to handhelds. Dell, are you listening? And speaking of Microsoft, do not confuse increasing "features" with relevance. I was perfectly fne with Excel 2007. Along comes Excel 2010 with all kinds of new "features" that are irrelevant to me. Maybe you have noticed this too in products you use — beneft poor and feature rich. It needs to be the other way around to truly be successful. My point with all of this is to make you think about what makes you relevant as a company? Don't say, "It is our superior customer service, our top-notch installers, etc., etc." At the end of the day, those things may not matter. Is your RMR derived from monitoring, the lifeblood of your company, going to be there in the years ahead or will something else more cool and relevant take its place? Tink about how the youth of today communicate and purchase; very diferent from the paradigms of the past. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to spend some time talking to the young people in your company and fnd out what they think is cool and not so cool about your company. Ten maybe focus attention on becoming cool — and relevant. If you practice this on a regular basis without letting the preconceived notions of the past cloud your judgment, you may be able to stay one step in front of your competition. In closing, I harken back to an economics professor's anecdote that was right on point. A parent says to his 20-year-old, "I see where Sears is carrying the Kardashian line. What's a Kardashian?" Te 20-year-old says, "What's a Sears?" Good luck and stay relevant, now and in the future, to protect your equity and, most importantly, your livelihood.

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