Stanley CSS: IT Matters

New training initiative to increase sales, ops staff skill set
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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

NAPERVILLE, Ill.--Here at the recently opened headquarters of Stanley Convergent Security Solutions, Stanley executives unveiled a new internal training initiative, IT Matters, aimed at increasing the knowledge base of its sales and operations staffs. Designed and implemented by Lance Holloway, manager of Stanley’s Software Solutions Group, the six-hour course, administered via three WebEx sessions, is designed to help Stanley address the “significant change in the industry,” said Stanley vice president of strategic initiatives and business development Felix Gonzalez. “The move toward convergence of physical security and IT technology is quite rapid. Before, it was rare for our sales people to talk to an IT professional, now it’s a daily occurrence.”

Holloway’s team includes Microsoft- and Oracle-certified engineers, comfortable with SQL databases and pursuing Cisco certification, and Stanley is master-certified with Lenel, but that knowledge doesn’t necessarily translate to the front lines, the sales and operations staffs at Stanley CSS’s 75 North American offices. So Holloway designed course work that would build for the front-line people a bridge to Stanley’s application engineers.

The target audience is “any employee that’s hands on with a product that’s IP based, deploys across a network; anyone who’s assisting or directing a customer inquiry,” Holloway said.

Location general managers were asked to nominate candidates, and the goal is to train one sales person and one operations person at each branch. As of early September, 60 employees were about to take the course’s final exam, and another 60 were ready to begin the course post-ASIS, which was well ahead of goal.

Nor does the training necessarily end with IT Matters. The top five percent of each graduating class are identified and recommended for further training and higher certification, initially CompTIA’s Network+ certification, because it’s basically vendor neutral and offers “a pretty thorough knowledge of networks,” Holloway said.

Tony Byerly, COO at Stanley CSS, said the initiative is partly to get out ahead of the industry, but he’s also looking for it to pay tangible dividends. Since Stanley’s national accounts program is vital for the company’s growth, the company needs “a network of support throughout the U.S.”

Further, he said vendors like Honeywell and Lenel have looked favorably on Stanley’s desire to get more IT savvy.

“They see us investing in our sales force,” said Bill Fitzhenry, vice president of U.S. field sales, “which means we’re not pulling on their resources, and that really takes the partnership to the next level.”