Lenel Partners Angry, Lenel Does Not Care

Author: IPVM Team, Published on Sep 01, 2016

Even more than Arecont, one manufacturer stands out for consistent complaints - Lenel.

Over the past few years, no manufacturer has had more complaints in as many areas as Lenel.

Compared to Lenel's origins as one of the best enterprise access control providers, this fall is surprising. But the company, due to indifference, arrogance, and ineptitude has fallen hard.

In this report, we examine the numerous problems faced, sharing 24 partner quotes, and what this means for the former leader.

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  • "* **** *** ***** ** ******** **** ** ***** ****** and ***** *******. **'* **** ** ******** *********."
  • "***** ******** *** ****'* ******* ** **** ** *****. * left *** ********** ***** *** * ***** *** **** ** work *** ** ***-****. * ******* ** ******* ***** ** our **********, ***** ****, *** * **** *** * ***** Sales ***. ***** *******......"

VMS ***** ********

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Attrition *** ******* *********** ***** 

*** ** *** ********** ****** ** *****'* **** **** **** the ****** ** *********** *****.  ** *** ***** ** * decidedly ******** ******* **** ******** ******** ***** ** ****, * ****** ** *** ********* **** **** *** ******* leaving *** **** ** ****** ****.  

**** *****, ** **** ***** ***** ************ **** **** **** in ****** ** ** ***** ** *** ******* ********* ****** unfilled, ********** *** *****:

  • "*** ***** *'** **** **** **** **** ****: ***** *** a ***** ***** ** ****, *** *** ** ********. * have ** **** ** ****'* ****, *** ** ***** ** be * ****** ****** *******. ** * ****** ** **** ******* in *** ************, * *** ** *** ******* **** ***** have ****** **** ** ***** ***** *** ********* "***** ********" products."
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  • "***** **** *** **** *******, ****** **** ** ***** *** price ***** *****."
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Locked ** *********

*******, ***** ******* **** *****'* ******* ***** ****** ****** ****** vendors. **** ********* **** ******* ********** ***** *******, **** ******** the **** ** ******** ** ********* **** ***** ***** ******** over *** ****** ******* **********. 

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  • "**** **** *** ******* **** **** **** **** * ******** base *** ** ***** ** ****."
  • "***** ***** *** **** ******* *** '**** ******* ********' ** simply *** *** ** ****."

Integration ******* ********

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*. ***** ****** ** *********** ***********, ** ******* ** ***** web ******** ** ***** **** *********, *** **** ** ***** connectors ** **** **** ******** **** ** *******.
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Lenel **** *** **** ******

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  • "*** *** *** **** ** ********, ** ** **** * matter ** **** ****** ******* ***** ** *** ***** ********* of ***** ****** ****."

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Comments (32)

"We tried repeatedly to get Lenel to share any positives or feedback on what they are doing but they have given no response."

Even Lenel's silent reaction can be can be summed up by the integrator's comments.

"It's not that they don't what their issues are, the way it seems to me, is that they just don't care, their mind is on one thing, "What can YOU do for Lenel"?"

John, Lenel will probably tell you that you need to first pay them for their comment as well as a recurring maintenance fee to allow their their copyrighted comment to remain posted on IPVM as well as paying for a proprietary ASCII integration piece. Without it you're only going to get a response in binary.

I will give Lenel the benefit of the doubt here. Most big companies are not capable of dealing with public criticism. Some of it is probably arrogance but a key factor is not taking blame from management above you. The #1 fear I hear from manufacturers about media coverage is the fear of saying the wrong thing publicly and getting criticized or fired by superiors, so it results in many choosing to say nothing.

Interesting to read this article being an end user. Could it be that on one side we have the Lenel Onguard/Mercury team and on the other the merged Lenel/GE team. are we hearing complaints on both sides overall? How would you compare a similar situation with the other Security giants who are buying up companies and trying to merge them together.

Lenel does not demarcate itself into sides, nor has negative feedback been segmented to apply for one group but not another.

Moreover, while Mercury Security is a partner, the two companies are distinct with separate ownership. So UTC is not trying to merge Mercury Security (owned by ACRE) into Lenel.

That's not what I meant to say. Lenels primary product is based on using Mercury boards. Whilst the GE products that came across, were Infographics and Casey hardware based. I was thinking that maybe there was still some internal rivalry between the 2 camps causing this aggravation for their integrators. I see more discussion on the Mercury oem further down so wont go into that.

One thing I did not see mentioned, at least not as often as I would have thought, is their outrageous licensing costs. $250 for a camera license! $1,150 per master station for Aiphone units? AND $250 for the camera license for the camera included in the Aiphone station bringing the cost for licensing alone to get an Aiphone unit into OnGuard to around $1500.

When you have to pay $1500 before paying for equipment and installation something is seriously wrong. Most of our Aiphone stations have multiple master stations which means it could be up to $3500 + JUST for licensing the master units! Ridiculous.

"However, those unhappy with Lenel's current state cannot easily change vendors. Once customers have started purchasing Lenel product, they discover the cost of changing to something else often means starting over and losing capital investment."

Obviously there is a cost associated with making any system changes, however unhappy Lenel customers are in a much better position if they are on the Mercury open hardware platform than if they had invested in a proprietary system.

As a long-standing Mercury OEM, we have had numerous opportunities to assist customers who found themselves dealing with the issues addressed in the article. In most cases the hardware infrastructure remains intact and this is strictly a software swap with an automated database conversion to minimize having to reconfigure the system and re-enter cardholder information.

My point is the cost of changing does not always mean starting over. As far as losing their capital investment, we have seen customers convert to a better software solution, greatly improve their support, and lower their annual costs for less than they would have paid for Lenel's annual maintenance renewal.

As a rebutt, even when switching to another Mercury OEM, the cost can be significant.

1) Not all Mercury OEMs have software that support the range of integrations Lenel does. Integrations typically need to be rewritten, and perhaps created, when changing platforms.

2) Not all Mercury OEMs support all available hardware features of the Mercury boards equally.

3) The interruption to existing access control can have big operational (therefore financial) impact. System migrations are not just a 'snap your fingers' type of activity; scheduling, planning, and cutover can take months, even years for larger systems.

4) In many cases, changing systems means operating and maintaining two different access systems for a period. Double the data entry and records management.

And then the fifth point - not all access systems are Mercury OEMs. I agree that options are numerous that also use Mercury hardware (Readers may find the chart in: Axis vs HID vs Mercury Access Controllers helpful), but the 'best' option in terms of support or integrations may not be among them.

All very valid points Brian, I agree with all of them. There are many factors to consider when making a system change and we can't begin to cover them all here. I encourage any system user to do their homework and make sure all the various integrations and features are supported before considering a conversion project as well as the long-term benefits of working with an access control partner who hopefully will not take your business for granted.

Brian,

I think this really touches the heart of it. We can find mercury platforms to migrate customers to. The problem becomes migrating the custom integration and scripting a lot of these big customers have in place.

When you start to untangle yourself from the mess than some of these Lenel systems you realize that the transaction cost is higher than the mere dollars and cents of the software.

Would our customers be better off in 3 to 5 years by migrating now from Lenel? Yep. Is it an easy sell to the end user who has stopped paying their Lenel support? Maybe. It all depends on how disgruntled they are and whether or not you can get a TCO analysis in front of them and then make them understand there are possibly a lot of moving parts to shore things up.

Brian, having worked on all sides of this, at Mercury and at a Mercury OEMs, I can say that #2 is significant, as well as another little point often missed at the beginning of a conversion: A PACS system is a lot more than just the door controllers.

Yes, having Hg (Mercury) controllers spares a customer from a lot of headaches and gives them integrator options, but what about cameras, intercoms, badging printers, databases, etc? Or hybrid systems in which more than Hg controllers are deployed? In my days at Honeywell, we seldom lost a job to a "take-over", because support for all the other obscure hardware (Westinghouse, Northern) we supported would have to be replicated in the interlopers' system.

Lenel is the most arrogant and obnoxious company in the security industry. They have been like this since day one. Great article guys.

It is nice to see that our experiences with Lenel are not unique. I hope this prompts them to take action. Our RSM has been great, but everything else from ordering to support is a nightmare.

I can't remember the last new Lenel install I have done it's been at least 4 years but the existing Lenel customers are too big to convert and our sales guys rely on the R&R from the licenses. Lenel's big customers will continue to pay but I don't see any real growth and I am surprised that UTC and its shareholders are fine with that. The only growth I see is forcing GE customers to convert. I also have lost a customer because of the dismal ONSSI OEM Skypoint.

But maybe we should ask.

Why Lenel?

What do they offer anymore that other Vendors do not?

Though we are in absolutely no position to judge the quality of Lenel Products, we do receive requests to repair them -- as well as other Mercury manufactured devices. We have in fact developed repair capability on the following Lenel products -- so if we may be of service, please do not hesitate to contact us. Please note our prices below:

2 door intelligent controller, model LNL 2220 - we repair at $325 vs Lenel at $650

Intelligent single door controller Model LNL 2210- - we repair at $300 vs Lenel $450

Advanced Intelligent Controller LNL 3300 - we repair at $325 vs $650 Lenele

Single Door sub controller LNL-1300 we repair at $285 vs Lenel $345

Dual Door ...... LNL 1320 we repair at $285 vs Lenel $350

Input Board with 16 inputs LNL 1100 - check out our $325 vs $450 Lenel

Output board with 16 relays LNL 1200 - we repair at $285 vs $400 by Lenel

Roller S for standard with 3mb memory LNL 1000 - we repair at $285

Roller E for Exand up To 8MB LNL 2000 - we repair at $285

Plus -- you wait no longer than 10 days. Or you can wait weeks and weeks for Lenel to repair -- or even not repair.

We do not charge if we cannot repair a Lenel board and provide a 90 day warranty,

just send a request to rma@renovatechnology.com.

Regarding this repair capability comment, I have decided to leave it but want to explain why since we often delete promotional comments.

The main reason to leave it is because it included so many detailed line items and price points and therefore provides value to members. If it was just "hey we repair Lenel, call us now", it would have definitely be deleted.

That said, we do not know what Lenel charges for repair, so if these numbers are wrong or misleading, someone feel free to respond. I'd share with Lenel but, you know, they are not going to respond...

Forgive the promotional aspect. I was unaware that it is not accepted and will abide by that in the future.

However, I must say that repair of Lenel products has been frequently requested over the last three years -- primarily due to the lead times. As far as the repair prices that they charge -- these were obtained from some of the larger integrators, so they are relatively accurate. I do believe that Lenel does not actually repair, but sends the product to the OEM (who I have been told views repair wisely as a profitable and viable service) to have it repaired and this is what accounts for the long lead time. Some of our customers complain of 45 day lead times -- though I cannot confirm that.

We are finding that lead time is becoming far more important than pricing when competing with manufacturers in repair services. I guess time is more expensive than money.

thanks for your willingness to have not deleted my comment

I am curious if Lenel, or any other Mercury OEM, repairs this hardware themselves.

Many of Mercury's partners do not manufacture any hardware. So some of the lag time could be shipping back those parts for Mercury to troubleshoot?

I'll ask around and get a better understanding here.

Interesting article. As an integrator our experience with Honeywell Prowatch was very similar. There is limited/poorly-trained technical support, limited field support, and a pervasive attitude that "you are lucky to be selling our stuff, so how much more will you be selling this year?"

I suspect we are experiencing the difference between newer and more customer-oriented products/companies vs. older staid organizations that have been able to "rest" on their installed base and the cost to convert.

The fall-out will be interesting.

The fall-out will be interesting.

Charles, but you are all trapped, no? ;)

I am genuinely curious what you think about migrating because it seems a lot of this is either motivated or tolerated by manufacturers because of their perception that switching is so hard / unlikely.

One of the keys, I believe, is to have more than one horse in the stable. We standardize, but keep our manufacturers honest by carrying at least two lines that fit the needs of our market.

Additionally, ten years ago we adopted a Managed Services model (*hosted card access) and consequently are able to propose financially creative ways to help middle-market clients move out of there current/proprietary platform to our solution. We normally can demonstrate a reasonable ROI, particularly if there are burning pain points for the end-user. We normally don't stress the finances, however, and instead focus on the value of our solution and elimination of their pain points.

For larger enterprise class end-users our solution does not normally fit (integrations etc....). There is a point, however, where end-user frustration and dissatisfaction with the "Big Boys" leads to change. We do our best to be there when that happens..........

With all the negative feedback regarding Lenel.

What enterprise solutions are companies migrating to?

Lenel's customers are not the only ones dissastisfied with them.

Ouch.

I am not really sure Glassdoor is relevant here. When you get to be a big company, you affect a lot of people, and they will have a variety of experiences with your company. Opinions are going to vary customer to customer, employee opinions department to department.

In this industry, there are pluses and minuses to being large or being small. Larger companies are more likely to have a global reach, localizations, well-defined integration SDKs, and so forth. Smaller companies are likely to have more focus and attention on core competencies, better support (because the founders are still there), but more susceptible to disruption if someone goes on vacation.

Again, in my opinion, Glassdoor is seldom useful outside of the bluest of blue chips and Silicon Valley companies. If you are a techie living in greater Rochester, your options are limited, hence your threshold for leaving Lenel will be quite high. On the flip side, if you were interested in working for Lenel and don't already live in Rochester, you have to move there (depending on position), which is likely a huge negative to anyone not familiar with Upstate New York. Glassdoor doesn't take into account geographic inertia.

...you have to move there, which is likely a huge negative to anyone not familiar with Upstate New York.

Even to those who are familiar with it.

I agree on Some aspects of the report but Not all. Some of the issues you are complaining about seem to be more the Techs installing the equipment and Software not knowing what they are doing. Seems u do not completely understand the full scope of it. Network, OS systems, proper sequence to install etc. I have been installing Lenel for 16 yrs and find it the Best overall system. As far the complaint it hasn't changed look at Prowatch it is the same as when I installed it in 2000 at a Post Office. I am certified on Lenel, ProWatch, S2, Genetec, ONSSI, Completview, etc and Strongly prefer Lenel over all the rest. As far as Facilty Commander you knew it was going and the options to integrate into OnGuard works great!

Is there anyone from Lenel that is an active member of IPVM? Or is there any way to get their take on all of this? Have you IPVM folks tried to reach out to them to respond or even to let them know what is being discussed here?

Is there anyone from Lenel that is an active member of IPVM? Or is there any way to get their take on all of this?

Lenel is well aware of this topic. They cited being a publicly traded company restricts their ability to comment on such things. Of course, many publicly traded companies give comments on things (e.g., Avigilon, Axis, FLIR, Hikvision to name a few big ones). My impression is that they have a more traditional approach to public relations and are worried that addressing these things publicly could make it worse. Since they do intend to improve things they should communicate positively what steps they are taking.

Thanks for the reply John. My concern is that as soon as we complete our worldwide three year project to switch everything over to Lenel we will immediately have to start switching out to something else. Even if they reached out to us offline (I am not hiding my name here) it would go a long way to allay our fears.

Even if they reached out to us offline

I forwarded your message to Lenel. Hope it helps.

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