The Big Idea with Ron Davis
Look at your business and the industry with fresh eyes
Great idea from David Stang, Vice President, Bank of America
I think what David really means is that not only do we have to step outside our business and look at it through the eyes of newcomers, and we have to look at other businesses and industries to see what they can offer us in our business. Integration and convergence have become such hot buzz words in our industry that we actually forget that they mean something. In this case, integration means the integrating of similar products and services into other businesses and industries. For example, the hookup between telephone companies and security has always been there, and is obvious to all. In fact, many alarm dealers still believe the telephone company(s) are still the 800 pound gorilla in the room. What they do can and will influence us. So by looking at the telephone companies, the cable companies, the cellular companies, the internet based operating platforms, and VoiP, what we can start to see is how the integration of products and services can take place.
For example, it's been long assumed that central station operations are not that far removed from local 911 and 311 stations. They both provide emergency response service, they both deal with consumers who are in an emergency situation, and they both require highly skilled, well trained people to handle those customers. Who's to say that there isn't a consolidation/integration play that exists between consolidation of all of those different entities into one service/telemarketing center serving a wider base of customers. Is that on anyone's radar screen? I don't know, but if it is, we need to think about ways to meet it, head on.
The concept of convergence is a little bit more abstract for the independent alarm dealer than the concept of integration. Simply put, convergence means the coming together of similar and/or dissimilar products and services converging to provide the consumer with a.) better pricing, b.) ease of usage and c.) a singular platform to work with. Once again, whether it's convergence or integration that is going to impact our business, we need to look outside of our business and start to understand what's going on in those worlds.
What can you do to become more knowledgeable and educated in some of these other industries? Well, if you take a look at our own industry, you know that there are several trade shows a year, not the least of which is ASIS and the ISC. Both shows attract thousands of visitors and always have seminars that provide education, orientation and overview of what's happening in those industries. One of the things that might prove interesting is for us to start attending some of those other meetings. I'm sure most of us can do an internet search for industries that have national conventions, and what those conventions can show in the way of information through seminars and educational forums. By learning more about the various industries that might impact us, we are then better prepared to deal with not just the future, but being ready to embrace the future. Industries such as the telephone industry, cellular telephone industry, cable industry, computer industry, software industries, etc. all provide these types of shows and information. At the very least, get on mailing lists and start reviewing what people in those industries are talking about. You'll be better informed, you'll have an overview of what can impact your business, and you'll have your eyes squarely on how you can fit in to the future.
David, thanks for a really great idea…it forces us to focus on not just what we are doing, but what others are doing around us that may impact us!
Yours for greater success,