Read the second part of Moises Padilla interview, a Customer Success team member at Trackforce with over 10 years of experience in the security industry.
He started as a security officer and worked his way up to Manager, Supervisor, Project Manager for Technology and was a senior person for one of the now largest guard companies in North America. His role in technology sourcing led him to be a System Administrator for Trackforce’ Guardtek application and eventually hired by Trackforce to part be part of our Customer Success Team.
Dara: Many of our customers ask us what type of person you need to be to deploy and maintain the system. Do you think there’s one type of user who best suits this? Do you need to be an IT person for example?
Moises: IT experience could occasionally help, but it is by no means necessary! Anyone who has used a computer or a mobile device can effectively use the system. Nowadays, that’s virtually everyone.
GuardTek is very easy to setup and with all the automation options, there’s virtually nothing to maintain. Due to the large amount of options, you may need a little help getting your bearings, but this is why we offer training sessions and have a Help Center. We assist you in getting up and running quickly. We’ll help you customize your system and can walk you through everything. And because all our Customer Success Team members have years of experience in the security industry or with GuardTek systems, or both; we can provide tips and make suggestions on how to get the most out of the system.
So, to answer your question, Dara, anyone with interest in using the system can use it effectively. Though if pressed, I would say those individuals with an attention to detail and are process oriented may have a head start.
Dara: Having used the system and now that you are on the other side and are helping to train and consult with users – what are some best practices for prospective customers and customers planning to deploy Trackforce?
Moises: The most important thing to remember is that you should concentrate on the details. What I mean is, each item (tours, reports, etc.) can be customized to guide your officer through each step and, thereby, their daily tasks. So, it is important to get the details correct to ensure you can exploit the system to the fullest. GuardTek has many tools available to then filter, sort, and distribute the necessary data.
Another recommendation I have is focus. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the functionalities the system offers, but you should first focus on one or two items and fully understand how it functions. If your company was looking for a Tour system, focus on the tour system part first. Then move on to the next item. The support staff is always available to help you, so don’t worry about getting everything done at once.
Dara: Apart from the guards in the field – how did using the system change the job, decisions or approach of Managers, Supervisors, Directors or Owners etc. after using our system?
Moises: The biggest change comes from managing by exception in real time. You can set up parameters for just about everything; so, if something is not completed in the time or manner you’ve configured, the system notifies you through a variety of ways.
The difference between managing a site with GuardTek and managing one without, is night and day. The one with GuardTek is essentially on auto-pilot; you are notified when something of interest occurs or when things are not done properly. And, of course, if you want to see the day-to-day, you simply log in and review their activity. The one without requires far more attention. You have to get people on the phone or visit the site in-person, review documents (which generally requires going through stacks of paper or files), etc, etc. There is a lot of work that goes in to just getting an idea of how things are going. The embarrassing, and potential hazardous, thing is when you approach a client not knowing that there is a looming issue. Because the truth is, on most sites, the client probably interacts more with your officer than the officer does with his own company. So, unless the client or officer tells you, you just don’t know. GuardTek makes it simple or (depending on your setup) required to keep you informed.
The clients themselves tend to feel more at ease, as they can see the activity. You can automate the system to notify them of events they are interested in and give them summary reports at regular intervals…they can see the job being done.
Dara: You were an early adopter of our application in the U.S. Did you see how providing our application as part of your company’s guard services helped them win new customers and retain existing ones?
Moises: Yes. As mentioned earlier, clients would often tell us that this system was the reason they chose us. Clients become accustomed to a level of service, even if it’s just a weekly email that they don’t even open. I had a client once call me and tell me that his weekly email was not in his inbox. I asked him what was normally in this report, he said “Honestly, I don’t remember, it’s been so long since I’ve opened one. All I know is that if I don’t get this email, something went wrong.” It turns out that weekly notification was set to expire after a year, and it had been a year.
Client retention also increases. It becomes more difficult for potential contractors to win when the site goes up for bid if they cannot match the level of tech and service you can provide. And since we are the global leaders in our space, it is quite difficult indeed.
Dara: Some guard companies have developed their own internal tools for security operations. Do you see this as an advantage or disadvantage for the end users?
Moises: Both, but there are more disadvantages in my opinion. The biggest advantage is that it is yours. You can modify it as you need. Adapting it to whatever situation is necessary. Managed well, it can be potentially cost effective. However, it is difficult to strike that balance. The big disadvantages are that, as a security contractor, the main objective is to gain clients and supply a service, not develop software. Homegrown applications rarely get the level of support that they need to remain competitive. Technology moves very quickly, if you are not moving forward, you are being left behind. The other issue is development cost. A “simple” solution can end up costing far more than anticipated, and if there isn’t an immediate payoff (or at least one in the near future) the whole project can wither and die. Because of this, “internal tools” tend to be limited or are tailor made to solve a specific problem or fill a set need; giving rise to the need to use several solutions, complicating the process unnecessarily.
Dara: What is your opinion on how the guard service industry is evolving. What do you see as the needs that customers are asking for as part of their solution?
Moises: Clients are now asking for more tech. When I first started in security, rarely did a client ask about getting things in real time or what type of devices we were using. They expected an officer with a clip board, a radio, and a badge. The internet and data capture is on everyone’s mind. They know the technology is out there, they carry it around in their pocket all day. They just need someone to deliver that technology to them and say, “This is how we are going to make your campus, hospital, retail center, apartment complex, etc. safer and help you guard your interests.”
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