Dice rolls with Simpson

Automation software company's future is bright, says new prez
Friday, September 1, 2006

BAY CITY, Mich.-- With more than 30 years of experience in the security industry, Mike Simpson was named president of Dice Corp. on July 17, as the monitoring automation software company moves into a new direction for growth, which includes strategic partnerships and acquisitions.
Four years ago, Simpson, then vice president of finance and administration and chief financial officer for Per Mar Security Services, was part of the team tasked to find a new automation system for the central. Shortly after Per Mar chose Dice, Simpson was asked to co-chair the Dice users group. The position led Simpson, whose background includes work at Pinkerton's, as their director of operations and director of financial services, and Wackenhut Corp., as vice president of management information services, an opportunity to meet the Dice organization and learn the company's security solutions.
"I'm very excited to be part of this organization. There is a tremendous foundation in place with an exceptional customer base," Simpson said.
Going forward, Simpson has plans for the company to "leverage existing relationships that we have with current customers and some of our strategic partners."
Chief executive officer Cliff Dice agreed, "We basically are on a fast-paced growth path and, given the state of the alarm industry, Mr. Simpson has a lot of experience in growing companies of Dice's size. It allows me to go off and work in the creative side."
While the company has a strong reach in the central station software automation market, Simpson said, "Traditionally, folks in our industry have looked at the alarm industry as the main focus. The way I look at the marketplace and the way Cliff has looked at it in the last few years is way beyond that."
As part of Dice's growth, the company has plans to make acquisitions of software technology companies. Dice said they are "seeking companies that would provide services to our customer base to allow our customer base to have a competitive advantage against other companies."
Dice has plans to seek joint ventures between hardware manufacturers and its software capabilities. Already, June saw a partnership with Cellularm of Topanga, Calif., to provide central stations a backup communications solution.
"We're going to take their capability and our capability and bring them together on a more formal basis," Simpson said.
Simpson also has plans to hone its software offerings in telecom and business management sectors. "When you start talking Telecom, it opens up all kinds of avenues that we never thought of before," he said. Stepping outside of the traditional central station alarm environment, Dice will focus efforts on the systems integrator market as video and card access installs surge.
Often the opportunities that Dice scoops up come from what customers suggest or a void in the marketplace, Simpson said. When customers bring, "something to the forefront we are not currently doing, more than likely we will partner up with them." Adding, "there are going to markets opening up that we haven't even considered in the past."
Simpson said the opportunities are absolutely limitless. The day before being interviewed by Security Systems News, Simpson was at a restaurant and started listening to a song playing on the radio. One lyric stuck with him: "'The future is so bright, I have to wear shades,'" he said. "But, I'll tell you, the future is so bright, I have to wear shades. When I heard that, I smiled and said that is it, that sums it up."