Getting Inside Information on Video Surveillance Companies

By: John Honovich, Published on Jan 07, 2009

Executives almost never tell you the bad stuff - the risks, the problems, the reasons why not to do business with them. Indeed, the worse it gets, the more rosy the projections often become.

The best way to get the truth is to talk to a company's employees. And if you have friends or contacts at companies, you can get the inside scoop. Indeed, I find it amazing when an executive is spinning me right after an employee told me honestly what is happening.  Nonetheless, no one can have contacts at every company and most only have such contacts at a few.

There's an emerging free online service called Glassdoor that provides you access to employee reviews of various companies. The information is very insightful and can help you better understand the strengths and weaknesses of a company.  While it's still growing and only has maybe 20% of video surveillance companies, the information it already has is quite interesting.

Of most particular interest are the Security Products category and the Integrated Security Systems category. You need to register and submit a review to read but I think it's worth it.

Here's a few examples:

GE Security

From a project manager in Bradenton: "The company continues to struggle for a coherent market identity due to it's legacy of acquisitions; after 5 years of integration attempts only recently have the silos started to melt and "GE" penetration taken effect."

That sounds like GE Security to me.

Pelco

From two software engineers:

  • "Working for Pelco shows you that it isn't just a motto, but an entire way of life around here. As an employee, it makes you proud to be a part of that."
  • "The company is very manufacturing centric, from the top down. It is NOT like working for a software company. "

From Cisco engineers:

  • "Practically everything is outsourced so customer service is a joke, particularly for partners. Getting things done, even within the system can be incredibly difficult."
  • "Because projects are always getting cancel, it is very hard to get a salary increase or promotion since you keep reporting to different managers."
  • "It is an extremely political environment where promotions and opportunity are based upon who you know. Middle management is focussed on one thing only, getting their next promotion"

and my favorite quote:
  • ""The main R&D is to buy a company that does something we want, put a logo on it and say it is part of the 'human network'"

This goes on and on for over 300 reviews.

IBM

From IBM engineers:
  • "The business focus was driven entirely quarterly. Very bad vibe coming from middle-management (who didn't care about their professional employees). The atmosphere felt cold and chronically stressed-out."
  • "Lies and misrepresentation are the IBM family values, particularly for personnel issues and also for business metrics. That is the biggest downside - you never know when you're getting the straight story."
  • "Good old boy network is a problem. They tend to promote people they like. If you are not close to someone you have a difficult time getting promoted."

IBM employees give IBM much more favorable reviews than Cisco employees do to Cisco. 

Understanding more about how insiders view a company can help you cut through marketing barrage.

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