Stretch Your Security Dollar

With budgets shrinking and financial pressures increasing, most CSOs will need to be more careful and creative in spending on security systems. Indeed, the recession will motivate the use of novel tactics and techniques. Nonetheless, the goal of reducing costs by 10 percent or more is certainly attainable. Here are six ways you can save money without sacrificing value.

Get the most out of your existing system. Before you buy any new products, make sure you are taking advantage of all the advanced functionality of your existing system. Modern systems have hundreds of functionalities, and most of the time, we use only a handful of them. Spend some time learning what’s available and see if that can save costs or eliminate the need for upgrades. Likewise, make sure you are upgraded to the latest software releases. These can provide valuable new functionality and improve the stability and performance of your existing system.

Research products online. If you are going to buy new products, research online before you make decisions. While you may not be able to afford a trip to a trade show this year, surfing the Internet is not a bad alternative. The Internet makes it much easier and, of course, cheaper to find the best solution. You will find reviews, forums, articles and back issues of magazines. The education you get from the Internet will help ensure you are getting the right product for your needs, rather than the one a salesperson on commission is advocating.

Research pricing online.Whether you are simply estimating systems costs or ensuring the best price, the Internet is an excellent tool. It is as simple as entering a model name of a product in Google or in Google Shopping. Most of the time, you will immediately get pricing for the product. If you are a large organization, your pricing may be significantly better, but in no case should you be paying more than the prices Google returns.

Get multiple bids and ask for discounts. With the economy so strong for the last few years, many organizations have not been aggressive in getting multiple bids or pushing vendors for discounts. However, the situation has now changed. For the first time in years, sellers are seeing slowing sales and declining revenue. This is definitely your opportunity to seek price reductions. You may find new vendors who can better meet your needs and at a lower price.

Inquire about buying direct. A growing trend is for end users, especially large users, to buy products direct from manufacturers rather than through integrators. This can result in significant savings (5 to 15 percent) as it eliminates markup. If you are a large end user buying more than $200,000 in products from a manufacturer, you may want to inquire about this. However, it has risks, as many manufacturers do not want to alienate their dealers, and many integrators will not provide a warranty for products bought direct.

Postpone. In reality, most security system purchases can be safely postponed for a year or two. Security system technology is in the middle of a major transition from analog to IP-based systems. By postponing, you may ultimately benefit from deploying more mature IP systems in a year or two.

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