WESTMINSTER, Colo.—Dakota Security president Eric Yunag showed up a day early for the PSA-TEC conference here last week so he could meet with seven other systems integrators for a quarterly meeting of a ‘PEG’.
What’s a PEG? “It’s a PSA-sponsored Peer Exchange Group,” Yunag explained. “The concept is about five years old and it was started as a way for PSA members to network on a closer level, to talk about business strategy and challenges with peers who don’t compete and with the cover of a confidentiality agreement.”
Yunag’s is one of three PSA PEGs. He describes his as an “extremely diverse group.” Members have different-sized companies, serve different vertical markets and geographies and are of all ages. “And there’s a great variety of opinions,” he said. In putting together the group, there’s a careful vetting process to ensure that “there’s no stepping on toes.”
This group meets four times a year; two meetings coincide with PSA events, “and the other meetings rotate between PEG group member offices. We spend a day in one another’s backyard,” he said.
PSA provides a professional facilitator for meetings and members all sign a confidentiality agreement. The group has a constitution and votes on bylaws that govern the group. If members don’t show up at meetings or don’t participate, they’re out. “It’s a commitment,” Yunag said.
The facilitator is a critical component of the meeting, Yunag said. “Meetings are not eight-hour free-form discussions. The moderator is regimented in their approach. They keep us on track, so that we’re not lecturing each other, and we’re keeping it more on a questioning and experience-sharing format.”
Another key is the confidentiality agreement, he said. “That’s what really makes it work and it’s taken very seriously.” It enables members to “share real life problems and issues they’re facing in their business and allows them to get good ideas and resolve those problems.”
Yunag said his group has been “almost invaluable” to his business since he’s been involved over the past year. “When you have strategic issues to decide, or a critical hire to make ... to be able to talk to people at the executive level who understand our industry-oriented challenge is priceless in my opinion.”
Group members also stay in touch on an informal basis. For example, “if something comes up and you have a critical problem or strategic issue, you want to discuss, you can typically get members of the group on a conference call within a couple hours.”
“It’s like having a board of directors made up of eight guys in the security business who understand your challenges,” Yunag said. “It’s a tremendous concept.”