Making the Case

Intelligent video is an integral part of new technology

When budgets are tight, everyone in the organization gets more strategic in order to make the case for their share of the company’s resources. In retail businesses, it’s no different for the loss prevention (LP) organization, which may be preparing to invest in new technology.

At a recent retail conference, several LP executives talked about the importance of building internal support from other departments and executives for their video-based programs. I could not agree more. When LP “speaks the language” of their finance, IT, operations and executive teams, they set themselves up for success. The key is to take the time to detail how an intelligent video solution can help other departments meet their business objectives. Do that, and you’re likely to get the resources you need to maintain your current budget or even get new money to upgrade equipment.

Demonstrate ROI for Finance

A finance team focuses on an organization’s total cost of ownership. If you can walk finance through the business case that demonstrates how investigating suspect point-of-sale (POS) transactions results in reduced dishonesty and improved per-location profit— which it does—that effort will lend significant weight to your budget requests.

Beyond preventing losses or protecting assets, there is an untapped potential for operational efficiency with video, as long as you have the right tools. Without video evidence, managers may be relying on business systems that only deliver part of the story. For example, examining POS numbers won’t tell you when people walked away because lineups were too long or customer service was lacking.

Video-based reports can be accessed anywhere via browser-based client software. Instead of driving from one store to another, a regional manager can manage many locations because he or she can do a lot of that work remotely. Operational issues can be caught and fixed quickly. And, managers can see right away when opportunities are lost because staff members aren’t greeting customers or maximizing the value of each sale through upselling.

The combination of reduced losses, increased operational efficiencies and optimized labor costs means that your investment in a video solution pays for itself in no time, often in as little as a month. That’s an ROI the finance team should have no trouble getting behind.

Lighten IT’s Workload

As video solutions migrate from closed networks to IP-based systems, the impact on IT infrastructure increases and every LP department knows that having IT on board can be critical. So, you need to ensure that the video system you’re championing is ITfriendly and has minimal impact on IT resources and the corporate network.

Solutions with browser-based software clients are much easier—and therefore, less resource consuming— to deploy and maintain. A single update at a server gives all users access to the new version as soon as they log in. No software is stored on local devices, so IT doesn’t have to worry about the myriad of operating systems and access devices. They don’t have to send out CDs, or worse still, oversee manual updates to those many different devices. Asking 1,000 retail outlet managers to update their devices is asking for a whole world of trouble. Browser-based software, with centralized configuration and management, eliminates all that.

Give Operations a Helping Hand

The labor force is one of the largest items in a retail enterprise’s budget, and that’s the focus of the operations team. Video can have a huge impact on the day-to-day workload of a business’ managers. It can also help the company make sure it has the right number of associates in the right places.

A video solution can be similar to having a virtual secret shopper on staff that provides eyes into the store throughout the day. Actual visits to a store provide good information, but they only tell the manager how things run when everyone is on their best behavior. What’s it like when they’re not there?

Some intelligent video solutions can provide automated reports that operations managers can audit in just minutes a day to quickly identify potential problems. Complete with snapshot images captured from surveillance cameras, managers can stay on top of operations such as:

  • Brand compliance. Is the company’s name and visual identity appropriately displayed?
  • Staffing levels. Are lineups within acceptable levels? Is there an opportunity to shift staff from one area to another to improve service levels?
  • Staff behavior. Are they representing the company well, greeting customers, offering additional products, taking those opportunities to upsell?
  • Health and safety. Are there any concerns that need to be dealt with? Obstacles around exit doors? Unsafe handling of food?

If a video solution can help a manager audit through 80 percent of a checklist remotely, they will be able to do a much better job, cover a wider base, and check in more frequently. This can result in significant savings for retailers and increase profits.

Managers can rely on recorded video to identify best practices. Studying the reports from store A, which earns twice the revenue of store B, might highlight ways in which the under-performing store can be improved.

Show Them the Money

The executive team is focused on creating a successful business by maximizing revenues and profits. For them, video technology is a tool that helps the company’s managers succeed. A well-chosen video solution can help retailers increase sales, reduce overhead, enhance customer service, encourage repeat business, mitigate risks, and ensure health and safety compliance

In a nutshell, video is a tool that helps senior executives to achieve their prime objectives—improving the business and increasing profitability.

As an LP professional, you know that an intelligent video solution can really deliver something for everyone. And, if you take the time to frame your business case in terms that resonate with different stakeholders, you’ll be much farther ahead when it comes to securing resources to deploy advanced technology that will benefit your entire organization.

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of Security Today.

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