A host of services at Altec Systems

Ga. integrator does hosted access and hosted IT
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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

MARIETTA, Ga.—Altec Systems “dipped its toe in the water” of managed services about four years ago, and today it offers not only hosted access control and remote guarding, but a number of IT services, such as hosted desktop, phone, email and servers as well.

The new business model is working so well that the company is just as likely to lead with an IT sale as it is with a security sale, said Tim Feury, president of Altec Systems. And the move to managed services—“from selling a box to selling a service”—has paid off in RMR growth, particularly on the IT side.

“At some point this year, RMR from our hosted IT and cloud offerings will surpass our RMR for physical security,” Feury said. “We really started to go to market with the cloud services late last year and we’ve been doing security for 15 years.”

It was helpful, of course, that Feury’s wife, Mary Feury, joined the company two years ago. “She has a background in IT and is a Six Sigma Black Belt,” he noted.

Altec has been in business since 1994. It has 13 employees and does work in 30 states. A member of PSA Security, the company works with other PSA companies when it does work outside of Georgia. Its typical job is in the $25,000 to $150,000 space, Feury said.

It works with Connect One for its hosted access control. “For one- to four doors the only thing we offer is the hosted model,” he said. In the future, he said, he hopes to “sell nothing but hosted or managed access control.”

Altec partners with VideoIQ and G4S for its remote guarding tour. “We’ve had great success with that. It’s great when you can apprehend people and save customers money.”

Getting out of the “break-fix mentality” and into a managed services mode has been an ongoing process, Feury said.

“It’s a shift because you don’t make as much money up front. How do you do that and still pay the bills?”

“It’s a continuing improvement thing,” Mary Feury said. “You’ve got to change your processes.” For example, if someone calls and says their card reader is broken, companies used to send a technician in a truck out to fix it. To be efficient, you have to be able to remotely diagnose and/or fix the problem, and you have to train your customers to work within this process as well, she explained.

You do it one step at a time and engage your employees in the process. And you should “grab education along the way,” through books, online, through associations, she said.

“A phrase we use here is to begin at the end,” she said. “If the end goal is not to roll a truck, and to solve the problem sitting in your chair in front of a computer, you work backwards. You know you’ll need X information, that you’ll need remote access to a customer’s server. You lay the pieces out and figure out the process.”