Tag Archives: Security Research Initiative

‘Aspiring to Excellence’: Corporate Security Departments under the microscope in latest SRI study

What are the most important characteristics of an excellent Corporate Security Department? What makes an excellent security supplier? The latest report from the Security Research Initiative, which is specifically designed to address these issues, has been published today.

Both corporate security personnel and security suppliers were asked to rate various characteristics of outstanding performance. While they shared similar views overall, it’s also the case that some striking differences are readily apparent.

Findings about what makes suppliers excellent

The most highly valued characteristic is a determined focus on customer needs. Harbouring objectives that are specifically aligned with the client is also seen as crucial.

While it’s most certainly viewed as important to have innovative and adaptive senior management, it’s more important to have excellent management on the front line.

Suppliers appear to attach higher importance than clients to some criteria, for example adopting new philosophies, a focus on training and learning and having excellent and visionary leadership in place. This may suggest suppliers are trying to do too much and would benefit from a greater focus.

The survey suggests suppliers are particularly likely to agree strongly that price trumps quality. Indeed, the difference here is striking given the similarity of answers on other criteria.

Professor Martin Gill FSyI: studying Corporate Security Departments and the buyer-supplier dynamic

Professor Martin Gill FSyI: studying Corporate Security Departments and the buyer-supplier dynamic

The fact that 47% of clients and 59% of suppliers agree strongly that suppliers can only be excellent if clients fully support them suggests that clients may underestimate the crucial role they play.

There was some agreement that security is often not valued highly enough by companies, and that they accord security suppliers less status than other suppliers.

Findings on what makes clients (corporate security) excellent

Understanding threats (91%), having an effective security strategy (87%) and objectives aligned with the company (84%) are the three highest ranked characteristics for client excellence.

While both clients and suppliers believe security fares well in comparison to other business functions in terms of excellence, it’s often less effective at showing how it adds value.

Both suppliers and clients are in accord that security leaders need business skills, but only clients view security expertise as being of equal importance. Suppliers consider this much less important.

Like suppliers, clients appear to favour the carrot rather than the stick approach, suggesting excellent companies are those that focus on rewarding good performance.

There’s some evidence to suggest that clients do not fully recognise the price pressures on suppliers. For example, only one third of those clients questioned attach strong importance to paying the going rate for the job as a condition of excellence.

According to both samples, and judged against all the criteria listed, most clients do not achieve excellence.

Reputations are only temporary

Professor Martin Gill FSyI (director of Perpetuity Research and leader of the Security Research Initiative study) noted: “What is clear is that a reputation for being an outstanding performer is only temporary. There’s evidence from these findings that security undersells itself – suppliers to their clients and Corporate Security Departments to the wider business.”

Gill added: “Security is moving from being seen as a protector of assets to a facilitator of good business, and an essential one at that. However, it’s moving slowly and the sector needs to change from keeping its potential secret. The characteristics of outstanding performance need articulating. The good thing though is that, by all accounts, those working in different aspects of security are largely in agreement about what it involves. Now the strategy must be to achieve it.”

Background to the research

The research is based on an extensive review of the drivers of business excellence. Responses were received from 200 representatives of security suppliers and 289 clients based around the globe. These direct responses were supplemented by 24 in-depth interviews.

The in-depth study was undertaken by Perpetuity Research (which started life as a spin-out company from the University of Leicester) under the umbrella of the Security Research Initiative (http://perpetuityresearch.com/security-research-initiative/) which, each year, conducts a detailed study on a specific aspect of security.

To download a free copy of the full report visit: http://perpetuityresearch.com/category/publications/security-research-initiative/sri-publications/

Alternatively, send an e-mail to: prci@perpetuityresearch.com for more details or telephone: 01892 538690

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Security Research Initiative launches ‘Understanding Security Excellence’ survey

The latest Security Research Initiative survey has now been launched.

The current Security Research Initiative project is focused on better understanding ‘security excellence’ (whether that be security excellence in corporations or security excellence among security suppliers).

What are the key drivers of security excellence? What makes some corporate security departments and certain security suppliers excellent at what they do, and what are the barriers to achieving excellence for others?

Professor Martin Gill

Professor Martin Gill

Whatever role you play in security and at whatever level, Professor Martin Gill (director of PRCI and the research leader) would really appreciate it if you would take some time to complete the survey. In addition, those who take part will receive a copy of the detailed results free of charge.

This year’s survey is being completed by security professionals across the world.

All those who work in any aspect of security are asked to help complete the online survey, which will only take about ten minutes. Here’s the link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LH2DZ8J

For further information contact: a.randall@perpetuityresearch.com or visit: http://perpetuityresearch.com/security-research-initiative/

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Bundled services or security as a single service? “Jury still out” states SRI study

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)

Professor Martin Gill speaking at the 2013 BSIA Annual Luncheon

Professor Martin Gill speaking at the 2013 BSIA Annual Luncheon

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.

To download a free copy of the full report please go to http://www.perpetuityresearch.com/main.php or e-mail: prci@perpetuityresearch.com for more details.

Alternatively, telephone: 0116-222 5553.

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