Adam Bannister

Editor, IFSEC Global

Author Bio ▼

Adam Bannister is editor of IFSEC Global. A former managing editor at Dynamis Online Media Group, he has been at the helm of the UK's leading fire and security publication since 2014.
May 29, 2015

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Integrated thinking: Connected security for smart infrastructure

TDSi CCTV: Why Should Installers/Integrators Install TDSi Technology?

John-Davies-(2)Are you a forward-thinking installation/integrations company on the lookout for new suppliers?

IFSEC Global met up with TDSi managing director John Davies to quiz him on how the company works with installers and integrators.

What do they look for in installation partners? How can you benefit from installing or integrating the company’s access control solutions?

IFSEC Global: Hi John. How does TDSi vet prospective installation partners?

John Davies: We interact with our installer partners at all different levels, from engineers all the way through to Managing Directors. We spend time with the people  who own the businesses, because we want to understand their goals at a strategic level.

For example, we might ask: what do they want to achieve in three, four, five years’ time? When a business wants to become a TDSi partner we look at how it will mutually benefit both sides.

It is important to find a good match. If there are any differences we don’t uncover at the initial stage we may work well together to begin with, but in six months, nine months, or a year’s time, that will create strains in the relationship – which isn’t good for either party, we want to avoid this so it’s important to ensure there is a good match from the start.

tdsi installer 1IG: Do you offer marketing support?

JD: Our team can help with the marketing side for our channel partners. Some already undertake some marketing activities of their own, some of them don’t, and some of them have just started – so we can help them with things like marketing collateral, even support and case studies.

We also have an online marketing portal, so all the marketing collateral that our partners might need is there in one place and it’s always kept up to date. This could be press releases, it could be email footers, it could be product photos. It’s all there, so if partners want to use it, they don’t need to call up, it’s all available.

IG: How open are the lines of communication with your integration partners?

JD: I would say about 60-70% of our developments are inspired by customer feedback. We are always gathering ideas and suggestions not only from our customers but also from the wider market in security and beyond to help us develop products, our development plans are always a very ‘agile process’ and open to fresh ideas.

IG: What do you mean by an ‘agile process’?

JD: We are developing products  to solve specific problems, but we do it in small chunks to ensure flexibility. This gives more scope for our partners to influence what we’re doing, and for us to respond more quickly to the demands of the market.

These days everything is more software-driven. A few years ago, every three, four, five years, you got to release a new product model. Now every few months you might have software updates which is a big change in the way products are developed.

IG: How do you work with installer partners?

JD: We’re evolving our  processes to make it even easier for our customers to be part of our business. We put great trust in our installation partners and provide the support and guidelines they need to ensure they provide the best service to our mutual customers.

We also monitor how they are using these tools, and ensure it all runs smoothly. We encourage  our installer partners to be a lot more proactive about their business.

Equally, we provide support for future projects and tenders, working together with our installer partners. We’re investing a lot of time and effort into projects that are going to happen in two or three years’ time. The earlier you get into a project’s life cycle, the more influence you have. Not all security technology companies can do that.

If you’re not generating the profit and you don’t have the market share, you can’t make the time to actually be proactive, but if you’re not proactive you won’t be in the position to gain more market share… it’s a chicken and egg situation.

It’s also easier to be more proactive when you understand better what you want as a company, what your aims and objectives are, so our teams can have more confidence in making strategic decisions for themselves with the understanding of TDSi’s overall goals.

IG: What kind of partners are you looking for?

JD: The ideal direct partners for TDSi are the ones that  like to solve problems and are not there just to sell kit or screw boxes onto the wall. They understand their customers and they’ve got a service delivery package solution that is tailored for that market segment.

They also want to position themselves as thought leaders in that space. So, it’s probably not for very small businesses. Those customers tend to manage smaller projects and are best served by distributors, who are set up to support this, both from a logistics point of view and a support point of view. We greatly value our distribution partners for the value they offer in supporting this segment of our customer base.

When you look at access control, about 70% of the market is sub 20 doors. There is a lot of businesses out there that we do not service directly, but rather we service via distribution. So we sit down with our distribution partners and we train them to guide those smaller businesses.

IG: So those smaller ones can get involved with TDSi…

JD: Absolutely – not with a direct relationship but through one of our distribution partners. We’re very selective, so we have only four distribution partners in the UK. We don’t  distribute through just any distributor. The distributor should not just be an organisation in the middle, there should be a value-add, even if there is no install.

The distribution partners that we have, Norbain, ADI, Midwich and Advanced Access, are committed to promoting our training  programme as well as providing first-line support for our customers on our behalf. However this doesn’t prevent us from actually talking to customers, or customers talking to us.

IG: Is the term installer still relevant?

JD:  The term we use is systems integration partners because it’s not just installing a piece of kit; it’s  more about providing complete solutions and adding value.  The whole system needs to be integrated, so the partners we deal with are systems integration companies.

In other regional markets companies don’t just do security systems, they supply and install low voltage systems, whatever that may include.

This could be fire systems, it could be lighting systems, it could be restructured cabling – they do everything that’s low voltage, so security is just one part of this. End users view these services as full building information and management systems integration.

TDSi is exhibiting at IFSEC International 2015. You can find them on stand F1100

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