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Shaw joins Tech Systems Inc

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Sharon Shaw, who is well known in the security industry as an evangelist of managed services, a skilled trainer and director of education, has taken on a new role at Tech Systems Inc, an Atlanta-based systems integrator.

Shaw was formerly president of Integrator Support, and director of education for PSA Security. (She's also part of my TechSec Advisory board. )

Here's a link to a story I wrote about Tech Systems Inc. in January. TSI appears to be a great fit for Shaw's skills. She told me she was drawn to the company's "service-centric culture." The services piece—managed as well as services in general—is something Shaw knows well. And it's not an overstatement to say that TSI is big into service. When I did that story in January, Larry Simmons, TSI VP of client services, told me that if a customer is not interested in “a strong service offering, we don’t waste resources [on that job].” As a result, TSI in January was “very close to achieving our goal of being able to cover 100 percent of our operating costs [with] recurring revenue."

AT TSI, If service techs want to leave a job site without completing a service call for any reason, the request must be approved by a regional manager, a director, and ultimately by the CEO or Simmons before that tech may leave the job without finishing. TSI’s service program is called FOCUS, and the company reports some impressive results. “In 2012, TSI responded to 16,467 FOCUS-related service calls. We only failed to either achieve response time or functionality 30 times, giving TSI a 99.99 percent success rate. Our success rate has not dropped below 99.7 percent over the past three years,” Simmons said.

In her new role as Client Development Manager, Shaw will develop continuing education programs for Tech Systems’ customers and staff.  The idea is to have a “quality communications programs and [see that there’s] a continuing stream of relevant information so everyone is informed and when they’re making decisions, they have the best tools and resources available to them,” she told me.

Tech Systems has 164 employees across the country. Headquartered here, it has other brick-and-mortar offices in North Carolina and California. Employees elsewhere work from virtual offices.

Congratulations to Shaw, and kudos to TSI for a smart hire.

 

 

 

 

Kratos has new SVP

 - 
Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Don EricksonAt the PSATEC conference earlier this month, SIA CEO Don Erickson was talking about government opportunities for independent integrators large and small. The contracts and jobs are out there, Erickson said.

One of PSA Security’s largest integrators, Kratos Public Safety and Security Solutions’ Public Safety & Security division has created a new SVP position to go after the “growing DoD/DHS market.”

James Cotter, who has been with Kratos since 2007, has been promoted to senior vice president of the Government Solutions Sector.

In his new role, he’s charged with working with Kratos leadership “researching, identifying and ultimately captur[ing] those opportunities.”

Ben Goodwin, president of Kratos’ PSS division called Cotter an “idea fit for this position.”

Oklahoma integrator High Tech Tronics rides out storm

Marc Bradley: ‘We’re thinking seriously about getting a [tornado] shelter at the office’
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05/22/2013

OKLAHOMA CITY—All employees of High Tech Tronics, a PSA Security systems integrator based here, survived the May 20 tornado, but one employee lost his home, CEO Marc Bradley told Security Systems News.

The "haves and have-nots of security integration companies"

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

PSA TEC is in full swing. The action started on Sunday night, but I arrived late on Monday. Yesterday I spent the day (Tuesday) talking to PSA Security integrators and members and attending four different educational sessions.

I attended the State of the Industry panel, moderated by PSA Security CEO Bill Bozeman and featuring a large group of integrators and industry experts; a discussion on Big Data, Business Resiliency and Physical Security moderated by Chris Peckham of Kratos; a session on security finance moderated by Bozeman; and a session on how to adopt managed services, moderated by Sharon Shaw, of Integrators Support.

These folks covered a lot of ground. I’ll be writing more in-depth stories on some of the topics covered, but below are some highlights from the day.

Haves and have-nots

Bozeman started the first session of the day quoting Imperial Capital’s Jeff Kessler, who in a recent report wrote that increasingly the world of systems integration is dominated by the "haves" and the "have-nots." The "have" have an RMR base, are making a good margin on jobs, and are profitable. The have-nots have not moved into managed services and are surviving on installation revenue. Bozeman agreed with Kessler, recommended all read his report, and spent a great deal of time in this session and others talking about how all PSA Security integrators can join the "haves."

Know your verticals
Phil Aronson of Aronson Security Group, Ron Oetjen of Intelligent Access, and Eric Yunag of Dakota Security all said “deep focus” on your vertical markets is key. Yunag, whose Dakota Security is growing rapidly, said that his company made a strategic misstep 7 or 8 years ago when it decided to expand outside of the financial vertical. Banks are something that Dakota had grown to know very very well. The mistake the company made was not the fact that it expanded outside of that vertical, but it did so without the focus and understanding of other verticals.

The message from integrators on the panel was this: Focusing on different verticals is good, but get to know them. And don't delve into too many. How many verticals should an independent integrator focus on? Three, most agreed.

Mad about channel conflict? Look within
Another topic that came up was the problem of channel conflict and manufacturers going direct to end users. Jim Henry of Kratos, said it’s important for systems integrators to remember that manufacturers who go direct to end users fail. However, he noted, “it’s important that and end user sees you as a value, not a middleman making a margin.” Yunag added that if an end user is going direct in your coverage area “that’s your failure as a systems integrator.” You need to know what’s happening in your region, and if this kind of stuff happens take a look at your own organization.

Government Opportunity
Don Erickson, CEO of SIA, was banging the drum about the opportunity for integrators who want to do business with the federal government. Despite sequestration and budget problems, money is in the pipeline for K-12 projects, ports, transportation. “Consider the GSA Schedule program, it’s a very effective contract vehicle for doing business with the federal government.”

How to build an effective business?
During the State of the Industry, Ron Oetjen of Intelligent Access Systems broke it down this way: hire the right people and focus on your strategic plan.  Later, during a finance educational session that got pretty granular about how to make your business attractive to buyers, Kratos’ Jim Henry said that the businesses that he’s attracted to are the ones that are not for sale, the ones with a “clear vision and a mission.”

Boston bombing and video surveillance
In the aftermath of the Newtown gun massacre and the Boston Marathon bombing, Yunag said that now is a “significant watershed for our industry and the services we provide … in the next five to ten years, the way video surveillance is used will change,” he predicted.  The general public has seen, particularly with Boston, how video surveillance can be useful. Jim Henry said that the incident clearly demonstrated how video can be used for “actionable intelligence and business intelligence.” Further, he said, it's important to note that the ability to find the suspect was not because the camera in question was a certain quality or manufacturer,  but because it was a “well positioned camera installed by a professional.” This horrific event showed the world how video can be used, Yunag said, and it's incumbent on integrators now to have those conversations with law enforcement and others about how they can best take advantage of video and other physical security offerings to help prevent and detect situations like these.

There are many more highlights that I’ll report on later, now I need to get to the conference.

Dallmann Systems: Bid work done right is good business

Midwest integrator says the lowest bid doesn't always win
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11/14/2012

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind.—While the margins on bid-and-spec jobs are typically lower than negotiated security jobs, bid jobs can be an important part of a profitable business, Tom Dallmann, president and CEO of Dallmann Systems, told Security Systems News.

Integrator options at ASIS

A special track geared to the physical security integrator will be included
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08/21/2012

PHILADELPHIA—For the second year in a row, the educational program at the ASIS International Conference will include a special track geared to system integrators. The conference will take place here Sept. 10-13.

Future Security Controls concentrates on margins

Independent integrator looks to sell its managed services offering to other integrators
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07/18/2012

OTTAWA—Future Security Controls is a small independent integrator that is enjoying enviable margins—north of 15 percent—in the past couple of years, according to CEO Sam Shalaby.

Shaw named president of Integrator Support

Former PSA exec leads dealer program that helps integrators design and implement managed services business model
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07/03/2012

LONGMONT, Colo.—Former PSA Security executive Sharon Shaw on July 1 was named president of Integrator Support, a new national dealer program designed to help integrators make money from managed services.

IAS branching out in Charlotte

CEO Oetjen says he's got 'the right person, the right opportunity and the right city'
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06/13/2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C.--Intelligent Access Systems, a PSA Security integrator, is opening its sixth office here this month.
 

M&A and your company

PSA-TEC sessions look at measuring a company's growth and prospects for exiting this year
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05/23/2012

WESTMINSTER, Colo.—Thinking about selling your systems integration company this year? What kind of price can you expect for your business?

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