The 2022 SSI Business Software Deep Dive shows that security dealers and integrators are investing in heightened effıciencies. It is paying off with an average of 16% increased profıtability.
Much like the products and solutions offered by professional installing security dealers and systems integrators have shifted from hardware and boxes to software and services, so too have the tools those companies have come to rely upon to run and grow their businesses.
Similarly, those firms that do not gain the efficiencies inherent in operations software now on the market — for everything from customer relationship management (CRM) to accounting to sales & marketing to field work to remote diagnostics to project management — will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage, and likely out of business in the not-too-distant future.
While there is no doubt that acquiring and implementing new business software can be challenging, both financially and operationally, it is unquestionably a necessary evil to progress, grow and, importantly, add to the bottom line.
Beyond that, both employees and customers today want and expect the conveniences and experiences that can only be made possible through various software applications. Fortunately, especially given the uniqueness of the security industry, there are evermore tailored, purpose-built, flexible and scalable business software offerings being made available.
Spreadsheets are the most commonly used software, but also popular are billing, system design and communications, among others. Companies turning to these solutions are realizing positive, measurable results — to the tune of an average 16% increase in profitability.
No wonder security systems integration and dealer firms are allocating an average of nearly $4,000 annually on new software purchases and ongoing licenses. The emergence of Cloud-based solutions is continuing to change this landscape as well, with nearly four in 10 companies embracing them.
Those datasets are among the rich bounty of information and insights gained from Security Sales & Integration’s first solely dedicated research into this area. Conducted this past fall, the 2022 SSI Business Software Deep Dive survey uncovers the extent of usage, acquisition patterns, spending habits, abandon rates, application types, preferred platforms, gained benefits and more.
Although a similar study ran in SSI the previous two years, those findings encompassed all of Emerald’s Connected Brands — meaning residential and commercial A/V integrator responses were combined with those from security.
The Deep Dive also affords respondents the ability to (anonymously) voice their needs and gripes to the software vendor community thereby being able to deliver even better solutions in the future.
“Small trade businesses need functional software specific to installation trades that are owner operated. Owners are doing 10 jobs at once and having a software that connects all the pieces of the puzzle from CRM, scheduling sales calls, scheduling installs, scheduling service, scheduling techs, keeping track of the sales pipeline, keeping track of service issues, keeping track of conversations and then connecting with either the email software or billing software at a reasonable price, would be amazing,” says a respondent. “Cloud-based is very important. Mobile app is not as important. Price, industry-specific and functionality are the most important. There really isn’t anything available that’s security system installation specific to manage day-to-day operations.”
“We are looking for reduced costs for Cloud infrastructure with a focus on cybersecurity or cybersecurity integration,” says another respondent. “Also, flexible control of operations based on the willingness of individual companies to provide third-party access or control. Lastly, ensure ease of implementation.”
An-other participant adds, “Require technicians to complete workorders with notes on work done, time, part used, follow-up needed, etc. before going to the next call. Visit with and learn how we as a company anticipate using the software.”
Not every suggestion was as gentle, as one integrator vents, “The integration business is all about recurring revenue. The project management and design companies seem completely unaware of this. None does an even adequate job of allowing for recurring revenue tied to projects, customer proposals, tracking, closeouts, billing — they don’t even try!”
On a more positive note, another survey-taker offers sage advice for fellow dealers/integrators: “Take the time to be sure you are getting the best product that will serve your needs. Once you have narrowed your possible selections down to a workable number, set those choices aside for a period of time in which you can evaluate what you have learned about each and gauge what and which each may do or may not do for you. Have demos made for each of them and then, and only then, make your final selection.”
Additional integrator software wants are included among the many graphs and lists comprising the balance of this article. Also included are a trio of helpful vendor-sourced sidebars to guide your software choices and strategies. Dig fully into SSI’s 2022 Business Software Deep Dive and discover how today’s organizational and automated solutions can help your company optimize its success.