Grossman Tells How to Get Going When the Going Gets Rough

SSI Bench Test products reviewer and well-known industry consultant addresses top integrator challenges.

My April issue editorial discusses security integrators’ top 10 challenges as indicated inSSI’s annual Systems Integration Study. I consulted with a handful of trusted colleagues and contributors to the publication for ways integrators can best overcome these challenges, perhaps even turning them to their full advantage. In one of several posts, here are several comments from consultant Bob Grossman (SSI’s Bench Test reviewer) of R. Grossman & Associates.

No. 1 Eroding Gross Margins
The economy stinks, it is slow to recover, and competition is fierce. Integrators that add value through professionalism, response time, support, and reputation can sometimes get more, but not often.

No. 4 Cybersecurity Threats
Not sure why this is a challenge. It sure sounds like an opportunity to me. If you are getting more into networks as part of IP security, why not secure the networks as well. Seems to me this just sends visibility, and dollars, toward our industry.

No. 6 Lack of Technical Training
This may really be “lack of time.” The technical training is out there, but many people don’t have the time to take it. Consider specializing more, fewer brands, and better support of the ones you carry. This reduces the number of products on which you have to train.

No. 7 Lack of Sales Training
If your salespeople need more training, seek out manufacturers and rep firms that offer it. If you’re a salesperson who needs training in the products, there are a ton of tools and Webinars out there ― as well as publications such as Security Sales & Integration. If your salespeople don’t know how to sell, and need training, get better salespeople.

No. 8 Current Economic Conditions
They suck. No way around this one. Give it to them. The silver lining is that maybe your competitor will go out of business before you do.

No. 9 Government Regulation
If this is general ― Obamacare, taxes, insurance, and all the other trials and tribulations that go along with running a small business, I hear you! If it is regulation of the security industry, it should serve to remove marginal players ― “trunk-slammers” ― that give our industry a bad name, and erode margins.

No. 10 Competition From Network/IT Companies
As security becomes more and more computer-oriented, IT players are going to move in. Consider moving into their turf and selling, servicing and supporting IT gear. That’s another market opportunity.