Most Disrespected Big Integrators

By Brian Rhodes, Published May 27, 2015, 12:00am EDT

We polled a mix of security end users and integrators on which big security integrator they disrespect the most, and did they ever share their opinions. 

We asked: "What big integrator do you most dislike / disrespect, and why?"  Of more than ten different national and multinational firms mentioned, two clearly stood out - Tyco and Stanley.

In this note, we shared integrator's detailed commentary on those integrators and the three key issues they raised.

The Winners Losers

The most frequently mentioned integrators were Tyco and Stanley Security.  Both companies are indeed very large, with operational footprints spanning most states and multiple countries.

The color comments justifying the poor opinions are barbed, but to the bitter point:

Tyco

The top vote getter was Tyco. A selection of the jaded opinions surrounding the conglomerate are listed below:

  • "Tyco. As an industry veteran with over twenty years experience tyco has always been a mystery to me. How they have stayed in business with a model based on siloed business units. Sales and service in competition with each other. And products in direct competition with their strategic partners."
  • "Tyco, I don't have much experience with them in video surveillance but their fire alarm crew takes advantage of their customers. One of my new customers was paying $2,000/fire inspection in a small 1,500 SQFt building. We provide the same service for about $500. This is of course one example of many, while I commend them for having the ability to charge that kind of money and the capitalist in me respects that. I still think it's wrong."
  • "TYCO IS because the local one around here screwed up a job big time because they had no clue about IP cameras. The system never worked properly and they promises they couldn't keep. They even made a horrible comparison sheet document using word that was poorly formatted. I couldn't believe a major integrator could be so horrible."
  • "TycoIS: Hmmm... if daddy has a lot of money, and I mean a lot of it, and he buys whatever I want because I'm his favorite, does that mean what I do in life is worthwhile? Hmmm... no."
  • "Tyco - Too Expensive, late on delivery."
  • "Tyco / ADT - arrogance of putting in proprietary systems and not providing as builds / documentation on how the system is run."
  • "They are completely disorganized. No processes in the field for install or service. Financially driven. Non-detail oriented culture."
  • "Churn and burn treatment of customers. Slow technician response and lack of highly trained/experienced sales reps; save for a few that have been with them forever for some unknown reason."
  • "ADT/Tyco Integrated Systems. Who is who and what is what? I don't know whose customer I am. I want stability and a single throat to choke if there is a problem."

Stanley Convergent Security

The runner up is almost as maligned and poorly regarded as Tyco. SCSS was described in very unflattering words:

  • "Stanley Security Solutions. They purchased the integrator I was working for (Best Access Systems) back in 2003 and took a great company and ruined it on many levels."
  • "Stanley... seems like their clients are never happy and when we fall in on one of their projects, the clients tell us that the only Stanley person they have ever met was their salesman. Everyone else is subcontracted. Makes it easy for their smaller more nimble competition."
  • "Stanley Security - they seem to have a culture of volume over quality. As a former employee, and someone with close ties to mid level management, I continually here of anecdotal evidence to support the notion that they put the dollar way before the customer."
  • "Stanley, They have terrible/Zero customer service, and have horrible installation practices."
  • "Stanley: This company seems to capture national customer attention because they have a wide footprint that will be all things to everyone, selling anything without regard for capability, with a focus on monthly revenue reports yet without concern for margin, and having nothing to do with the internal skills to deploy what they sell, and without concern for quality of performance."
  • "Stanley. Great at sales, terrible at performance and design."
  • "Stanley - Most of the time they don't even install the equipment themselves (use subs) Big Integrators don't provide much - they leverage proprietary systems to maintain clients and use access to a National level to drive larger customers their way."
Why The Hate?
 
Three basic characteristics define why these large integration firms are so frequently resented.  In no particular order they are:
  • Subcontracting
  • Ineptness
  • Sleazy Tactics
Subcontracting: In summary, the large company portrays itself as a smooth, polished, and well-resourced provider but as soon as the ink dries on the sales order, they farm the work out to the lowest bidder:
  • "Tyco - they sell to the customer that they are a large, well-established company. Once awarded the contract they subcontract it to the most inexperienced, inexpensive company possible and commit zero oversight or management of the sub."
  • "They have very few actual security related employees for the volume of work they perform(subcontractors are used). We are hired later to repair their projects."
  • "The clients tell us that the only Stanley person they have ever met was their salesman. Everyone else is subcontracted. "
Ineptness: Another leading gripe is that while they may be big, they are not necessarily capable. The root causes of the trouble is installer ignorance and bad response to customer issues:
  • "I love large integrators like Tyco and Stanley, as they consistently refer business to us through lousy service!"
  • "Bigger integrators are really selling two comforting lies: The first is that their own size has anything to do with their integration skill. The lie is easier to catch when you say it out loud in its longest form, like: "We are obviously very good at integration because our bankers gave us enough money to buy an office in every state" or "You can trust us to understand your video surveillance because we're so very good at air conditioning". Big integrator pretty much = mediocre work product.."
  • "I feel bad for their techs as they seem to be not trained for the tasks asked of them. The sales guys sell jobs but the whole getting it to work to customer satisfaction gets lost. The sales numbers look great, which of course is the main goal! ( please note sarcasm font)"
  • "They're trying to cobble an empire together from spare parts, and the few times we've been asked to work with them, it's been a complete bag of cats."
  • "Its a tough battle for the bottom of the barrel. Simplex has consistently shown locally how to mess up camera and access installs in a grand scale."
Sleazy Tactics: Finally, integrators cited bad business practices and unethical moves:
  • "In one circumstance they took my design and used it to propose products they don't even install after I took the time to sell it to the customer. Then they flat out lied to the manufacturer's rep claiming that they brought the customer to their table. That is a reason to dislike I would say."
  • "Stanley Security - they seem to have a culture of volume over quality. As a former employee, and someone with close ties to mid-level management, I continually hear anecdotal evidence to support the notion that they put the dollar way before the customer."
  • "Simplex uses their fire contracts to win other security related business at very low pricing. "
  • "We have lost jobs to them in the past even though we were less. Obviously that isn't a reason to dislike but sometimes it makes me wonder if their salesmen are using underhanded tactics saying things they shouldn't just to close the deal."

1 report cite this report:

Competing Against Stanley on Aug 01, 2017
110+ integrators told us how often they compete against Stanley Convergent...
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