ADT expands focus on global integration

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

YARMOUTH, Maine—ADT is opening Global Centers of Excellence in England, Germany and Shanghai to strengthen its aim to be the premier enterprise-level security integrator for customers with a global footprint.

The centers support the company’s Global Accounts program, which it officially launched four years ago along with a Center of Excellence in Alabama. It launched its Global Accounts program to provide its largest customers with a centralized approach to managing and integrating their worldwide security systems.

The Global Accounts program has proven such a success that ADT is expanding its efforts to focus on its multinational businesses with these new Centers of Excellence, according to Renae Leary, ADT’s senior director of Global Accounts. The center in Birmingham, U.K., opened at the end of 2011 and the ones in Germany and Shanghai will open in the “near future,” Leary told Security Director News, sister publication of Security Systems News.

The Centers of Excellence house design teams with detailed standards documents and work plans—Leary calls them “playbooks”—for each Global Accounts customer’s security system. Those design teams work with ADT’s local integration teams to make sure the roll-outs are consistent no matter where in the world they take place.

The new Centers of Excellence in Europe and Asia will allow the company to “follow the sun,” Leary said. For example, if a design team in the Alabama center is working on a customer’s global deployment of a video surveillance system, that work doesn’t stop at the end of the work day in the eastern United States. “You could still have people who understand the same standards and the same documentation do the design work in Germany, and then in Shanghai,” Leary said. “It really expands our ability to work 24/7 globally.”

The Global Accounts program is “very unique,” Leary said. “I’m not aware of any other integrator that has a structured global account program like ADT.”

Previous to Global Accounts formal launch, ADT helped global customers centralize and standardize their global security systems, but it was always an ad hoc approach cobbled together by people sharing leads and opportunities versus really managing customers of a global basis, Leary said.

Since its launch, ADT’s Global Accounts program has realized “significant” growth year over year, Leary said. She would not offer specific revenue figures, but said sales were in the “multimillion dollar range.”

Currently, Global Accounts program has 50 of what Leary calls “tier 1 or 2” customers. “They are the customers that have centralized how they manage security,” she said. “They have standardized from a technology and application perspective, as well as how they deploy. And they have, if not total global control, global influence.”

Leary said she sees more of these global companies looking to standardize their security systems. In most cases, companies look to integrate their access control systems onto one platform, making it as easy for an employee to access a corporate office in California as in Beijing. Now, companies are looking to do the same with their video surveillance systems. “More and more global organizations are heading down that track, especially with IP technology and the ability to centralize more, and the benefits that come with that,” she said.

Benefits to ADT’s approach, according to Leary, are the efficiencies gained by a company having one point of contact for its global security systems and a reduction in costs due to the centralized approach. For example, “instead of every site having its own stand-alone system, when you integrate systems you might not necessarily need a server at every location and you can share servers in regions,” Leary said. “So there are a lot of benefits from a cost perspective that we’re uncovering through this centralized approach.”