Michael D. Moberly September 6, 2008
Recently, I attended, what I presumed before hand would be, just another standard presentation by a ‘security product vendor’. That is, a spokesperson would espouse the superiority of their product, its compatability – interoperability with other (existing) security systems, availability of technical support, and ultimately, its ease of installation. However, this vendor presentation was atypical for two reasons.
First, the vendor was the actual inventor, designer, and ‘test engineer’ for the product. While this is not uncommon, particularly in the security products/devices field, in this instance, the vendor held multiple advanced degrees and explained (articulated) the product with a high degree of authority, candor, and experiential knowledge that conveyed credence and validity. Also, the vendors’ demeanor and mannerisms, insofar as describing his product, were almost totally void of traditional ‘sales’ techniques that, far too frequently, include the proverbial worst case (hand-me-down) scenarios and/or anecdotes, which are presumably used to convey the all important sense of urgency. In addition, and wisely so, as it turned out, a current user of this product volunteered to be present to provide verfiable examples of the products’ features, usage, and benefits.
Second, but perhaps, more importantly, as I was observing and listening to this presentation, I was literally framing it in intangible asset contexts. That is to say, I was focusing on the array of ‘intangible assets’ that this product could actually produce and deliver to the various facilities and environments where it would be deployed. In other words, when this product is introduced, if (a.) the vendor understands how to respectfully highlight each of the products’ features, and (b.) the user understands each of those features and permits all of them to be fully executed, it could genuinely contribute, in addition to safety and security, to a facilities’ image, goodwill, reputation, competitive advantages, and sustainability, among others.
Interestingly, and most respectfully, while both the vendor and the user, in this instance, extemporanesouly recited numerous examples of the products’ usefulness, neither characterized that usefulness in the context of intangible assets. To be sure, this is not unusual, nor does it convey disrespect to the vendor or the user.
It does however, perhaps suggest something about the strategies, or, so-called ‘business cases’ many security decision makers endeavor to build to justify purchasing new – additional security products (hardware, software). It may also perhaps suggest something about prospective clients (i.e., the buy – don’t buy decision makers’) of security products. That is, they (a.) hold mis-perceptions about what an about-to-be purchased security product can/will deliver, and (b.) are inclined to characterize those deliverables in tangible (vertical, silo) contexts, i.e., prevent crimes, catch ‘bad guys’, etc.
Today perhaps, all parties would benefit from recognizing – factoring the intangible (business) contexts that security products can produce – deliver (horizontally speaking) i.e., enhancing and contributing to image, goodwill, reputation, deterrence, competitive advantages, and sustainability!