Security-Net celebrates 25 years

Founding member Bill Savage speaks with SSN about the milestone and way forward
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Monday, February 11, 2019

EXTON, Pa.—Security-Net Inc., a global provider of security system services, is celebrating its 25th anniversary, a testament to the strength of the organization that today brings together independent security systems integrators to collaborate on enterprise-level projects, technology acumen and business practices.

Bill Savage, president of Security Control Systems of Houston and one of the four original founders of Security-Net, said the genesis of the idea for the group originated during a manufacturer’s award trip when several security systems integrators expressed a desire to discuss common problems and business best practices with industry peers.

Since then, for 25 years, Security-Net has evolved into an organization that now collaborates on national projects, helps its members stay up to date on the latest technology issues and trends, and provides sales and project management training to its members. The group has also launched its own project management platform.

“We’re proud of how Security-Net has grown dynamically over the years,” J. Matthew Ladd, a member of the Security-Net board of directors, said. “Within the past 10 years we’ve added numerous sub-committees, including Tech-Net, Ops-Net and Sales-Net, and provided member companies with access to programs to strengthen their sales and project management skills.”

Established in 1993, Security-Net maintains approximately 50 regional offices and 1,200 dedicated professionals positioned across the United States, Canada and abroad, reaching $17 million in national account level business between members in 2018.

In this exclusive Q&A, Savage talks with Security Systems News about how far Security-Net has come and what is on the horizon.

SSN: Can you talk about the significance of the 25-year anniversary for Security-Net?

SAVAGE: This is quite the milestone in this industry to have anything last for 25 years. It is really humbling and quite amazing to look back on 25 years of history of Security-Net and see all that we have accomplished.

Our initial expectations were pretty modest: We thought that we would put together a small, close-knit group of security integrators that could share some experiences and compare notes about things that were going on in their individual marketplaces, but we never really intended for it to grow to the extent that it has. We just had a group of integrators who thought that we needed an informal board of directors or advisory board that could help make our individual companies better, could help us to have somewhat of a unified voice with the manufacturers in the marketplace. And over the last 25 years, we have accomplished so much more than our initial expectations.

We’ve really come up with a group that is really cohesive, that has expanded to have a major role in the industry, and is a well-respected entity. The growth has been phenomenal and we still maintain a high level of respect and camaraderie and that open communication that was the original intent of the group.

We are a strong group made up of strong, individual companies that thrive, grow and become more influential in their individual marketplaces. We think that is the best way to grow Security-Net’s influence as a whole.

SSN: Can you talk more about some of the key areas of focus for Security-Net?

SAVAGE: As we have grown over the years, people have had a tough time placing what we are and that is because we have grown into a lot of different areas. Our meetings are a wonderful exchange of thoughts and ideas and experiences — anything that goes on in the industry is open for discussion — and we have so many who are well connected in the industry and on top of new trends. Beyond that, we’ve really grown outside of that initial expectation to have a major role with many of our manufacturers, and become very much a trusted partner with many of our vendor partners, which allows us to have a great relationship with them and be integrated into their roadmap process. So, for example, when they need input on product development or a direction that they may be taking, they have a great partner to lean on and interact with on a high level and confidential basis.

Beyond that, the role of our Tech-Net, Ops-Net and Sales-Net groups, which are sub-groups that have specialty areas within each of our businesses, has grown to be a wonderful resource both to our member companies and to our partners. If somebody is having a dilemma at the manufacturing or distribution level and wants to know how to best address it, they can walk into a room and have 20-plus companies represented at a very high level, and that is a great resource for them. We make that time and opportunity available to our partners because it is mutually beneficial.

SSN: Can you talk about the collective power of having a group of like-minded security professionals all teaming up to help make each other’s businesses better?

SAVAGE: This has certainly been beneficial to the group as a whole. When you get 20-plus of the leading integrators in the industry into any one place that is a massive amount of industry knowledge and expertise. That is a resource that is really quite impressive. There aren’t many occasions where you get that number of high-level, high-end security integrators together without having different purposes. We have a common goal and purpose, which allows us to represent Security-Net as a whole, while representing our individual perspectives.

SSN: What are your views on the industry today and how are member companies navigating the rapidly evolving changes that are going on in security today?

SAVAGE: Across the board, our member companies are performing very well in their individual marketplaces and Security-Net, as a whole, is doing very well. It has been a great time for our industry and full of great opportunities and a lot of innovation. And the expansion of our reach into our customers’ businesses has been very impressive, as we have gone through the globalization that many of our customers are working through, which puts us into locations and marketplaces that we’ve never touched before.

The systems that we supply and maintain at the highest end have become very important to providing critical business tools to our customers and that expands our role in interacting with our customers. This is a great opportunity to learn about new industries and to learn more about our existing customers as we get involved in a much bigger and deeper way into their operations.

SSN: What are some of Security-Net’s key goals for 2019?

SAVAGE: We set a number of different objectives in different areas of Security-Net’s involvement. Of course, we always try to improve the relationships and working relationships between our member partners, and we do that through continuing to have different touch points through those different sub-groups, as well as at the executive level with our Security-Net member partners getting together.

We always have different subjects that we discuss at our meetings, which varies from meeting to meeting and year to year, depending on the emphasis, but this year we are spending a lot of time getting involved in educational processes, both for our sub-group members and also at the Security-Net level. We’ve invested heavily in outside resources, in outside consultants to come in and help us learn to how to run our businesses better, how to serve our customers better, how to represent our vendor partners better. And that is at every level.

We are obviously very involved in cybersecurity these days — and with the IT departments of all of our customers — and investing heavily in those technical resources to make sure that we are up to speed in everything that is happening with our customers, so we can continue to serve them as our trusted partners for security integration.

From day one, Security-Net has been in the growth process, and we’ve always looked into new geographic territories both throughout North America and internationally. We are always looking for great integrators to join Security-Net and there is a very extensive process that is involved to qualify, interview and accept new partners into Security-Net.

We do have some geographic holes that we would like to fill, some places that we believe a partner would be a great addition to our coverage areas, and, of course, international expansion is important to us, so we are looking forward to expanding the organization globally.