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How systems integrators can address the consumption gap

April 25, 2023  By Charles Pitman

Image: kupicoo / Getty Images

Charles Pitman, Genetec

Security systems represent a significant investment; yet many security teams still only use a small percentage of their physical security systems’ capabilities. When customers aren’t tapping into the full power of the solution they bought, they aren’t realizing their full return on investment. This creates a consumption gap.

System integrators are, understandably, often focused on installation. As security platform features become more commoditized, however, closing the consumption gap can be a strategic way to differentiate yourself from competitors. The deeper you understand your customer’s business, the better advice you’re able to offer—and the stronger partnership you form.

There are many reasons why customers may not be taking full advantage of the features available to them in their security platform, including:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by a learning curve right after deployment
  • Few options for ongoing training
  • Lack of awareness of the full capabilities of their system
  • Underestimating the benefits gained from new features
  • Too busy with urgent daily tasks

Sometimes poor communication by manufacturers can be an issue as well. Listing the features of a product is a start. However, manufacturers can also help integrators explain the use cases so customers recognize why they should adopt new features.


Bridging the consumption gap

Systems are built to deal with a wide variety of use cases and broaden market appeal, but the goal isn’t to get everyone to use all the features of every product. You want to guide your customers toward the features and functionality that best meet their needs. This could entail reducing the friction they experience in their day-to-day operations, solving unique issues related to their business, or addressing their most important challenges.

Having these conversations with your customers deepens your relationship. Continuous engagement allows you to recommend other relevant products or services that they may find helpful.

Furthermore, customers are often not able to implement all features at once. You can help by proposing a plan to gradually evolve systems and processes over time. This could include a customized training plan to get the most value from their investment.

Some manufacturers are also now providing learning management tools that system integrators can pass on to their customers. Customers can learn at their own pace and gradually expand their understanding of their system in accordance with their bandwidth. This allows them to get more out of their system.

Simplifying deployment

With the right software partners, systems integrators can focus on solving customer problems, not reactively troubleshooting issues.

Look for manufacturers who offer good support systems for integrators. This includes not only quality technical support but also configuration and training services you can build on. Look for partners that offer tools and consultation services you can use to complement your value-added services, either to spend less time on the basics or for specialized expertise on complex projects.

Beyond support and services, one telling sign is the configuration interface and tools that you as an integrator will primarily interact with. Ask yourself whether the manufacturer invests in their back-end tools and their primary user interface. Is there a noticeable difference between these two interfaces in terms of look and feel? Does one feel more dated?

If the end user interface is easy to use but changes on the back end are difficult, the resulting friction can contribute to the widening consumption gap. It can become too time-consuming or difficult to upgrade or make changes to the system. The harder it is to implement upgrades, the more reticent customers and integrators are to make the changes.

Configuration should be painless. If the system has a solid graphical user interface, you’ll be able to interact with the software in a fluid and intuitive way. When the system is intuitive for both you and your customers, you spend less time on setup and training. You can invest more attention in value-added activities.

Benefits for systems integrators

A consumption gap is usually a sign that technological innovation is outpacing people’s ability to implement them in their day-to-day lives. This creates a golden opportunity for system integrators, both in terms of engagement and revenue potential.

Satisfied customers who realize the value of their investment often become long-term accounts. By reviewing opportunities to bridge the consumption gap for your customer, you impact the likelihood of growing the system and renewing service contracts. You also build a relationship as a trusted partner. They will turn to you when looking to expand their security system and proactively solve new and incipient problems.

Charles Pitman is the Product Marketing Manager for Unified Platform at Genetec.

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