Satisfied in a Riptide
When I look at fundamental shifts that will shape the next generation of the industry, there are two areas of strategy and functionality I believe will be more critical than any iterated feature you are developing now:
- Can your system aggregate large data sets to feed artificial intelligence delivering systems with agility and unparalleled customer experiences? Most of our systems are client server-based and not connected. Even the ones that are now "cloud-based" haven't been built with data insights as a core user story, let alone what you do with those data insights. Not having this core structure seems like a massive blocker as new entrants, like Openpath and Verkada, and incumbents, like Brivo, are blazing down this path.
- Do you own the transaction with the end-user to control the deal flow, maintain the relationship, and get even more data? A couple of factors are driving this behavior change. First, as the retrofit market increases and we become more of an enterprise sale, the customer expects the manufacturer to be involved. Second, as a manufacturer, you want to be more in control of the speed at which your business grows (or doesn't). Leaving it solely to a third party to control your destiny is no longer acceptable. I am not saying you should or will abandon the dealer channel. What I am saying is, you will want to create a complementary channel along with your dealers. On top of all of that, what data do you think you can glean or what business agility do you think you can develop by having the transaction?
In almost every industry, these two shifts are in process or have happened already. It is also what the Megatechs are doing by introducing things like smart speakers or rolling out mobile credentials on college campuses. It is what will happen to our industry as we transition to a more software-centric structure and meet the mainstream enterprise customer where they are.
Now the great equalizer and the question I get most when I make statements like the above - "when?" 100% hardest part to determine, especially when I know some of you are seeing your business grow nicely right now. So why change, right?
What I do know is, if you agree that the two above are going to matter and will shape our industry, it will be a question of do you lead, follow, or fall further behind while you celebrate the success of today?
I call it the business riptide. Cool and calm on top (business today in your current structure, current channels, and current technology based on 20-year-old technology), but underneath, complete chaos (trends, external threats, and future state of the company).
Time to start swimming parallel.