Will Electronics to launch managed services
ST. LOUIS—Will Electronics, a $6.5 million systems integrator based here, is preparing to launch a managed video services offering in Q1 2012, but the company is taking its time with the vetting process.
Will Electronics president Kurt Will said his company “cut its teeth on the CCTV business—that’s our mainstay. In St. Louis, we’re really known as the video guys,” so managed video is an obvious next step for his company.
And while it’s not a service his customers are asking for yet, Will believes the need is there. “Megapixel remote video monitoring with the right analytics to alert the central station will be a solid offering for our customers, but we’re working out the kinks right now,” Will said.
“We’re old school, we really want to vet the system before we sell it,” he added.
The No. 1 job is finding “a good central station to work with,” Will said. “And then you’ve got to identify which DVR, IP camera and analytics platforms they support,” he added.
The managed video offering is attractive to Will for the recurring revenue it will add to the bottom line, he said. Monitoring revenue is not currently a large component of the company’s overall revenue, but Will said that his business has always sold maintenance contracts. “It’s a really important part of our business. Close to half of the work we do is under a maintenance agreement of some sort,” he said.
He estimated service and maintenance contracts account for 26 percent of overall revenues.
Will has 25 employees. About half are project managers, field technicians and installers; he also has four salespeople and four office support staff. In the past couple of years, Will has promoted some long-term technicians into project management positions. As the complexity of projects increases and Will works with more vendors—IT vendors, for example—there’s less need for staff who do hard labor and more need for project management in the field, he said.
Will’s involvement with PSA Security’s PEG (Peer Education Group) and the local St. Louis affiliate of a national (non-security) business networking group called TAB (The Alternative Board) has been invaluable in preparing for 2012, he said.
In addition, this year Will and three senior staff members worked one-on-one with a facilitator from TAB to create a five-year plan for the business. He’s in the process now of formalizing key performance indicators.
"When we first joined PSA in 1996, we saw it as a buying group,” he said. “We now see the interaction they facilitate between the members and vendors as the real value in PSA."