Guest Column | June 3, 2013

3 Ways To Ensure Your First VMS Install Is A Success

Education IT News For VARs — November 26, 2014

By Lior Ben-Gigi, DVTEL

In today’s market, there are three major considerations in selecting a VMS for a job:

  • The ability to make a profit
  • Satisfying customer requirements
  • Peace of mind after the installation, or in other words, “set and forget”

The ability to make a profit

When examining a job, the VMS is usually only one part of the solution. Integrators need to examine the profit potential of a job from an overall perspective first, but also break it down and examine the VMS portion among other components (cameras, storage, network etc.)

VMS vendors usually publish a recommended MSRP and a discount level. A higher discount level is obviously better for the integrator, allowing more flexibility in quoting the price for the customer, as well as increasing the profit potential. A lower MSRP increases the chances to win jobs.

Other critical cost factors are indirect costs. An important indirect cost factor is labor, and in this case, the cost of deploying the VMS. Ease of deployment allows the integrator’s technician to complete the VMS installation in minimal time and hence minimize the labor costs.

An important aspect that has an impact on profit potential is whether the VMS vendor offers a complete solution or only the VMS. Integrators can save a lot of time by purchasing the VMS, the cameras and the storage from the same vendor (a “one stop shop”). Moreover, complete solution providers normally offer some price incentive for purchasing multiple elements of the solution, in the form of bundles and special discounts, for example. Finally, a complete solution purchased from one vendor is usually easier to deploy than an integrated solution from different vendors, so it will normally reduce indirect costs

Satisfying customer requirements

Customer requirements vary, and there are a lot of different aspects to it. In general, some VMS solutions offer more flexibility and more functionality than others. Therefore, selecting a flexible VMS solution increases the chances of satisfying the customer expectations, even if these expectations are discovered late in the game, as it happens in many projects.

The first impression is critical, when it comes to customer satisfaction. A quick deployment job, good video quality and friendly end-user applications (desktop and mobile) will make the end user happy and comfortable with his new purchase.

Video quality is among the most important aspects of a VMS solution. Customers will quickly notice low video quality so the VMS must do a good job – this is a MUST.

Customers will usually specify upfront the video quality (e.g. resolution, frame rate) they expect as well as the retention period of recorded video. Selecting a VMS that easily allows the technician to configure these aspects and provides a summary report will help the technician demonstrate settings to the customer, and sign-off the job quickly.

The end user client applications are going to be presented to the end user as soon as the system is ready, and will serve him for interacting with the system for the following years to come. These days, many end users have smartphones and tablets, and therefore, friendly VMS mobile apps can help a great deal in making the end user happy. This is an aspect that integrators should examine carefully prior to selecting a VMS solution.

Set and forget

Integrators’ success relies not only on satisfying customers and making a profit on each project, but also on the number of projects they can handle. In order to increase capacity it is very important for integrators to focus on sales of new projects rather than spend energy on supporting or maintaining old projects. A reliable VMS solution is critical in that regards. It reduces the amount of calls to the integrators, reduces the frequency of visits to the customer and eventually reduces indirect costs associated with a project.

While technical issues can take place in any system, VMS solutions differ in the way to allow customers and integrators to troubleshoot the system. Integrators should look into this aspect as well, knowing that good troubleshooting tools reduce the time and cost of handling customer issues, and increase customer satisfaction.

Similarly, the quality of support services offered by the VMS manufacturer is critical. Integrators should examine the support options offered by the technology provider and assess the support service quality, knowing that at some point they will have to rely on them.