Industry Insight

Strategically Focused on Security

SINCE mid 2004, the Security Industry Association has been making a slow but conscientious move to become more strategically focused on the growing and changing security market.

In this post-9/11 era, security has become more strategic. Today, it's not just the protection of physical property, but the protection of all assets -- intellectual property, back-office systems and the like. Consider this observation: New customers are showing up at our doors with titles like chief security officer or chief information security officer.

This is about convergence -- not technical convergence, but convergence of responsibilities within the companies that employ them. There is a different twist to their demands and the way they want to buy equipment and services. Their mission is strategic. They have assumptions about physical security systems and services that do not match their IT world. There is a new vulnerability to business as we know it.

Vulnerabilities can escape a person's consciousness. Unprepared government leaders that point fingers at other people, government entities or political parties are no longer capable of doing their jobs. If they cannot recognize their responsibilities to look at the changes happening around them and prepare for those changes, then failure and disaster will be an inevitable result. The same holds true for the leaders in our great industry.

In 2006, SIA will continue to meet the changes and demands of the security industry head on. We will reach out to and work even more closely with other industry associations.

SIA is doing its part to prepare the security industry for the changes it faces. Our steps have been methodical and deliberate: crawling before we walk; walking before we run.

In February 2005, the board of directors held a strategic planning meeting where it reviewed the status of the association, conducted a SWOT analysis on the organization, reviewed its current strategic objectives, and made recommendations for how to refine and improve the organization's strategic and programming initiatives.

We needed to make our programming valuable to a wider audience than our traditional constituency. We needed to show a true value for the membership dollar and position ourselves to grow with the industry in the next 10 to 15 years.

To this end, the SIA board agreed that the organization's focus resides in four core areas: standards, training/certification, research and technology, and government relations. SIA's staff was immediately reorganized to reflect these areas. Additionally, a new department, Strategic Marketing and Member Services, was created to produce an aggressive branding and marketing campaign for the organization and its programming.

In recent months, the SIA board has become more involved and engaged in the activities of the association. SIA's new board committees, which directly reflect our core areas of focus, are lean and have a mission to assist in the successful implementation of each area of programming.

In 2006, SIA will continue to meet the changes and demands of the security industry head on. We will reach out to and work even more closely with other industry associations. This year, SIA will look for ways to improve relations with end-user organizations in order to address their convergence and IT issues.

We will continue to partner with our sister organizations like the National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association and the Central Station Alarm Association to closely monitor local and state regulatory issues as they affect our business. We also will work with trade organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers to elevate the SIA brand and play a more strategic role in the global marketplace.

SIA will take an aggressive mission of global outreach through our education and standards efforts. The association is currently working with the China Security and Protection Industry Association (CSPIA) to license SIA's educational content for use overseas. In 2006, we will continue to work with CSPIA in an effort to gain recognition of SIA standards in the international marketplace.

SIA also will work to drive standards efforts in response to government and end-user customers. We will consolidate and disseminate the urgent needs of government, and the security industry must be able to respond. Conversely, SIA will consolidate and communicate security industry needs and interests to government so the industry can operate better, faster and with less cost.

From a security industry perspective, 2005 was a good year. Are we prepared to make sure 2006 and beyond bring continued successes?

As we move forward into 2006, it is imperative to get involved in every aspect of the security industry -- standards, education, research and government relations -- to help shape your future. After all, no one else is interested in shaping your future; the smart ones are busy shaping their own.

This article originally appeared in the February 2006 issue of Security Products, pg. 8.


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