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:
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.
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. "
Again, sounds like Pelco to me.