The Security Research Initiative’s latest report is based on interviews with suppliers and procurers of security services looks at the benefits and drawbacks of providing security as a ‘single service’ or as part of a ‘bundle’ alongside other facilities management services.
Based on thorough studies undertaken by Perpetuity Research, the report identifies a range of drivers that determine success or failure in outsourcing arrangements. These include the:
• correct identification of the types of outsourcing that’s going to work best
• quality of the procurement process that’s used to help identify the best supplier(s)
• experience of the buyer in providing the type of sourcing chosen
• experience of suppliers (and/or in-house sources) to provide the required service to a high level
• extent to which this can be achieved cost effectively (not least compared to alternatives)
What clients say about approaches to security procurement
Clients involved in the research process stated that they outsource their security for reasons that include:
• security companies being experts at security
• the fact that it’s more cost-effective
Clients surveyed also said they prefer to keep security in-house for reasons that include:
• security contractors are not sufficiently competent
• they don’t possess expertise in sub-contracting work
Clients like bundling because:
• they feel it offers cost savings and financial flexibility
• it affords an opportunity to standardise practices and improve management practices
Those clients who were questioned as part of the research also choose not to bundle for reasons that include:
• a feeling that bundling security with other services could lead to security being undermined
• a feeling that bundling security leads to a loss of control when it comes to the security function
What suppliers say about approaches to security procurement
Suppliers who took part in the survey feel that bundling is a good option because:
• it reduces administration for clients (this can result in cost savings)
• it can raise the quality of work of weaker parts of a bundle and allow staff to become more engaged with the wider organisation
Suppliers believe single service security is a good option because:
• it allows the client to choose the ‘Best in Class’ option
• managing single services can be more straightforward than complicated bundles
Professor Martin Gill, director of Perpetuity and the leader of this study, commented: “The jury is still out on whether the popularity of bundling in some places is a sign of new and better ways of working or a cyclical change brought about because, in current times, cost is often a priority over risk. There were strong supporters of some of the benefits of single service and some of bundling, although not always on a strong evidence base. What this study has shown is that many organisations have an incomplete understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of providing security in different ways.”
Background to the research
The research is based on in-depth telephone and face-to-face interviews with 44 clients and 28 suppliers of security services from a range of countries. The interviews were carried out in the first quarter of 2013. This was supplemented by an online survey of 145 clients and suppliers.
The research was undertaken by Perpetuity Research (which started life as a spin-out from the University of Leicester) under the umbrella of the Security Research Initiative (http://www.perpetuityresearch.com/sri.html), which itself conducts a study each year into a chosen aspect of security.
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