‘We all need to talk more’

TechSec keynote speaker urges better communication among end users, integrators, manufacturers
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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—Security directors need better relationships with their integrators and with manufacturers, says Harold Grimsley, Florida Blue’s senior director for corporate safety, security and facility operations.

“Today’s security leaders need relationships with integrators based on honesty and integrity,” Grimsley said Jan. 28 during his keynote address at the TechSec Solutions conference, held here.  

He also advised manufacturers to be in direct contact with those who use their products, and encouraged integrators to be a “strategic business partner, not just a vendor” to their customers—the end users.

“I’ve got to know you’ve got my back,” said Grimsley, who is responsible for securing an airplane hangar, retail facilities, office buildings, health clinics and data centers. 

Florida Blue is Florida's Blue Cross Blue Shield provider. 

The $9 billion enterprise has 11,500 employees and comprises nearly 3 million square feet of corporate real estate in locations around the country. Seven new locations were added in 2013 and more will be added in 2014.

“You [integrators] have to bring me the right information. You have to understand that ‘If I treat this customer right, I’m going to build a long-term relationship with this person,’” said Grimsley, who noted he’s now working with his seventh integrator. 

“We need integrators who are willing to learn our business, that it’s not just about making a sale.”

“Always choose the right integrator. You put your career in their hands,” Grimsley advised. “I highly encourage the philosophy that when you [integrators] do business with my company, your company is better for it. I can increase your sales and profit. I want you to be successful so you’ll be around to help me.”

As for manufacturers, Grimsley would like to hear a lot more from them. 

In fact, he said, manufacturers’ R&D people should be sent out to follow a security leader around for a week.

“Manufacturers need to understand what I am trying to achieve with the technology I buy. They need to understand that I am their customer,” he said.

If you buy a Ford from a car dealership, it’s Ford, not the dealer, who sends you notices of recalls and the like, he said. So should it be with manufacturers. 

“I want to throw away the term ‘end user,’” Grimsley said. “I am your customer.”

Some manufacturers have user groups, he noted, but security leaders today “are too busy to go knock on your door. You should be knocking on mine. I want you to call me and see how I’m doing with your product. Ask how I’m doing with the integrator.”

“The industry needs to change,” he said. “We all need to talk more.”