We want to let you in on a secret, so first we’ll quickly set the context.
Choosing a vendor partner to work with for a campus safety project can be a tricky task. Schools face countless challenges and choosing the wrong security technology vendor can be detrimental to the desired result.
The ideal security technology partner should be dedicated to bridging the gap between the typical installation of products and the strategic implementation of comprehensive safety plans. This means is that the partner is not going to disappear after the sale or project. The best vendors have a proven process to ensure that the customers actualize their desired outcomes, meet their objectives, and help determine their success criteria. In other words, ideal vendors don’t just sell and install systems.
Demand More™ of Your your Vendors. To do so, you should know a very tightly kept industry secret:
To do so, you should know a very tightly kept industry secret:
There are four very different types of security technology vendors.
This secret may not seem profound, but it is exceptionally relevant to your district’s success. It’s all too common to choose the wrong vendor type for your desired outcome. This misalignment is one of the two BIGGEST reasons that districts have vendor issues during projects. The other biggest reason is poorly written RFPs.
Vendors don’t want you to know what you’re about to learn, so now let’s get into what this means.
The most basic type of vendor is The Seller. The Seller (or Type I Vendor) sells you equipment, and they are adept at it. They have fair pricing, good customer service, and competitive inventory.
Sellers play an important role in our personal and professional lives. What does that entail in everyday life? Let’s look at your favorite local supermarket. If you’re interested in implementing a healthier lifestyle, the supermarket clearly plays a part in you accessing healthy food. But, you don’t need to have strategic conversations with the person at the register about the health benefits of organic vegetables. You simply buy your groceries there, but once you leave the store, it’s up to you to extract value from the goods you purchased. Your local supermarket is a Type I Seller.
Now, let’s compare that to your Type I vendor. If enhancing campus security is your objective, buying security components is only a small piece of the equation. The Type 1 vendor sells and ships equipment, but that’s where their value ends. The Type I vendor’s success is defined at the point of sale, while you (the customer) must create your own outcomes with the items you purchased. This creates a very large Business Outcome Gap (BOG): The BOG is the distance between when the vendor’s services stop and when the customer’s desired outcome is met.
The Value-Added Seller
Like their Type I sibling, the Type II vendor can also sell you systems and components; however, a Type II vendor will also add some sort of value. In the field of campus security, this is typically the service or installation of the system they provided.
The Business Outcome Gap (BOG) is still smaller with a Type II Seller because the school doesn’t have to worry about installation. Even so, there is still a sizable gap between project installation and actualizing desired outcomes. For a Type II vendor, the “success point” is at the completion of the project. Once the project is completed and the systems are installed, they’ve done their job and the rest is completely up to you.
Type III Vendors are specialists in their vertical(s) of focus. They demonstrate understanding of customers’ challenges and goals because they specialize in that vertical (such as the education vertical). Because of this, the Solver produces an even smaller BOG compared to their Type I & II cousins. It’s smaller because their specialty in that industry will likely yield solutions that are better aligned with the distinct needs of their customers.
Type III vendors have a keenly honed focus, which makes them adept at navigating the customer’s environment and processes. They can also readily provide references that have helped similar clients. There is value in specialization and exclusive focus.
Within K-12 campus safety, Type III vendors can direct you to what other schools have done and which products they have purchased. It’s important to note, however, the Type III is simply an enhanced Type II vendor because the vendor’s success criteria are still defined at the end of the project.
Type III vendors may be excellent in understanding the customer’s environments and struggles, but this vendor type still lacks a process that delivers desired outcomes as they stop at the end of the project. Like the Type II vendor, the customer is left to produce their desired outcome once the installation is complete.
There is, however, a vendor type that does help actualize desired outcomes: The Type IV Partner. The Type IV Partner has a proven process that extends beyond the sale and project to ensure that the desired business outcomes are achieved.
Only this vendor has an established process that has been built with purpose to align with the customers’ goals, problems, and objectives and produce measurable business outcomes.
A Type IV Partner doesn’t just sell and install components. Their process extends well into the lifecycle of the solution to ensure that the consumer experiences an impact on their investment. The sole focus of a Partner is to produce referenceable and measurable business outcomes for every project.
A Type IV Partner’s BOG should be very small or non-existent because their process is executed with precision and doesn’t stop until the desired outcome is produced as measured through meaningful metrics.
Knowing the different types of vendors is paramount to your district’s success ensuring the highest standards of safety and security. Using the wrong type of vendor produces undesirable results. The customer is disappointed in nearly every scenario when there is a mismatch between what is desired and the type of vendor.
If you need to buy equipment and have it installed, use a Type II vendor. A great example here is a fencing or HVAC contractor.
If you need some specialization in what equipment you buy and how it’s implemented, use a Type III vendor. A relevant example here is school-specific solutions such as Student Information Systems and Bus Transportation Management Systems.
When you need to produce a real business outcome and need a partner to stick by your side beyond the implementation so that your success criteria are achieved, then you need a Partner. Clearly, our favorite example here of a Type IV Partner is ICU Technologies.
ICU is proud of our exclusive focus on California K–12 as well as our dedication to producing measurable business outcomes for our clients.
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss your comprehensive campus safety and security objectives and see how we can leverage our purpose-built and proven process to serve your districts. Connect with us to learn more about what it means to Demand More™.