Security system vendor looks to increase employee efficiency

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ADT might be known for high-tech security systems, but its customer onboarding process was decidedly far more low tech. Sales teams were stymied by manual, paper-based processes, including cumbersome multi-page contract documents, handling and capturing customer payment, and having no automated way to sort through the patchwork of products and promotions to match an appropriate offering to customers.

"It's not good to be handling paper when you're selling a technical system," says Kathleen McLean, senior vice president and CIO of ADT. "All the burden for the various work steps on the punch list was on the sales person. It was not automated in any way to ensure the steps that needed to be done were done in any consistent manner."

Leveraging digital technology such as mobile devices or enterprise software to help employees close deals far more quickly, optimize time out in the field, or be better prepared from both a time management and resource allocation standpoint is table stakes for modern companies looking to carve out an edge over the competition. According to the 2014 Harvey Nash CIO survey, not only are IT budgets growing, but the top priority of C-level executives has shifted away from cost-savings initiatives to leveraging technology to improve the effectiveness of their operations.

When ADT expressed its desire to replace the paper-based contract process with electronic document signature, IT came back with a more holistic plan that would address shortcomings both upstream and downstream in the lead-to-order process.

The Hermes project, which kicked off in June 2014, was envisioned as a single digital platform designed to deliver a functional flow that integrates all steps in the sales and installation process. Sales reps, whether working directly with a customer in the home or from a call center in telesales, interact with the Hermes system to complete most steps in the sales workflow, including researching and specifying products and promotions, order processing, credit approval, payment processing, and booking installer appointments.

Given that ADT is in the security business, it was a top priority for the Hermes implementation. The field reps operate within a closed environment, meaning they use a company device, which is locked down with the exception of their core business applications. Hermes' architecture presented a security challenge from the standpoint it combined both hosted and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. ADT has rigorous security standards for its own hosted applications, including use of multi-factor authentication and data encrypted at flight and a rest. To ensure its SaaS software providers were held to the same security standards, McLean added some rigorous addendums to the Master Service Agreements of its providers.

"A lot of the companies were surprised by the depth of what we were looking for, but security is our business and we take it very seriously," she says.

When McLean joined ADT two years ago, she reorganized the IT group, pivoting from a technology-orientation to aligning along the business value chain—a move that would prove essential to the Hermes roll out. "Because IT was aligned with business partners along the value stream, IT really understood the end-to-end process and could design a soup-to-nuts solution for the sales team," McLean explains. Without such an orientation, the request would have been limited to electronic signatures, a point solution based on point technology, she explains.

The solution, built on a service-oriented architecture, integrates three primary pillars: Salesforce.com for lead generation to order initiation; IBM/Sterling CPQ as an electronic product catalog delivering configured price quote capabilities for guided sales and field order creation; and Service Power, a tool for managing appointments and scheduling installation. In addition to those main systems, Hermes also integrates with Master Mind, a security industry monitoring and billing platform, Vertex for taxation, and Equifax for credit checks, among other components.

The SOA architecture and open APIs have been key to Hermes' ability to seamlessly cover the entire lead-to-order sales workflow. "We have built a behind the scenes messaging infrastructure for the core components to interface to the back-end system. The beauty of this system is that it's sewed together in a seamless workflow so the sales rep thinks they are in Salesforce the whole time,” McLean says.

Hermes has been fully implemented in ADT's small business group and it's nearly 90% completed in the residential side of the business with a total of 5,000 people using the system. Sales reps are reporting faster close rates on sales from 24 hours to just under one minute, eliminating extraneous resources and overhead while also increasing the accuracy of the initial order since customers can review and accept the contract right on the spot. There is also a smaller window between order acceptance and service installations and faster close rates on the collection of deposits since that now happens at the time of service install. In total, ADT is anticipating Hermes will deliver a $36 million cash savings over the next five years.

Given that Hermes is a complete change from the existing sales process, getting employee buy-in and addressing the cultural issues was a far bigger hurdle than any technology challenge, McLean says. Training was a big part of ensuring smooth adoption. The IT team did the first set of training, and the team established a practice area in SalesForce where reps where able to practice without fear of making mistakes. ADT's IT group also partnered with a training organization to create five training videos, and sales reps get certified on the system before they used it in the field.

Using Internet of Things to clean up

The idea of an intelligent restroom that would know when it needed a good cleaning or could initiate stock replenishment had long been on the wish-list of Kimberly Clark's professional division, which sells all kinds of products and accessories for commercial restrooms.

Keeping commercial restrooms properly stocked and cleaned had been an ongoing challenge for KCC customers, which were constantly peppered with customer complaints about missing items or dirty fixtures. They were also struggling with inefficiencies related to their manual upkeep processes, which called for personnel to go from restroom to restroom to perform regular maintenance tasks without any insight into what to expect when they got there.

"We did an evaluation to look for potential opportunities and ways we could disrupt the competition," explains Jennifer Sepull, Kimberly Clark's CIO. "The question became what could we offer building management teams so they would come to our total solution because we helped them manage operations better."

While the business had a clear vision for so-called "intelligent restroom," they didn't have a handle on how to pull it off. The business side had experimented with a few technology implementations in the past, but they weren't successful due to excessive cost or some other limitation, Sepull says.

KCC's ITS team had filed for some initial patents related to sensors and applications and when the Internet of Things (IoT) began to come into the forefront, they were able to go to the business and show them a viable and effective way to make the intelligent restroom vision a reality, she explains. "We were able to show them an opportunity to leverage low-cost sensors, their existing networking and some of our application development work to come together and solve this problem," she says.

KCC focused on three main areas to ensure the system is properly safeguarded. The solution is run from within a private area network at the customer site, which ensures the network is safe and not a threat to their information; they encrypt data during transmission to make sure data leaving the customer site en route to the cloud is protected; and the core applications enables levels of security and access controls to be established based on role and user privileges.

"This may not cause someone to crash a car, but every time you put any device into a system like this, there's an opportunity for someone to come in and pose a threat to the internal network," Sepull says.

The Intelligent Restroom uses low-cost sensors placed on all of the equipment—paper towel dispensers, toilet paper dispensers, soap dispenser, and toilets—which collect and feed data in real time through a network to a set of apps, which then employ the patented algorithms to determine if a toilet needs to be cleaned or if a dispenser is low. Maintenance managers see the real-time indicators via an iPhone app, allowing them to prioritize staff resources appropriately and gain insight on which rest ooms have the most traffic or experience the most maintenance problems. In turn, maintenance personnel can better plan their routes and keep carts flush with the appropriate stock.

The system is still in pilot test and is expected to go into beta test in early 2016.

Forrester's Michele Pelino says there's a definite business case for such a system, enabling KCC to make its customers more productive while enhancing its own brand. "This kind of system enables maintenance managers to send crews immediately to the right places so the restroom is up and running as well as to find patterns over time for things like proactive maintenance so things aren't breaking down in the middle of a concert or sporting event," says Pelino, Forrester's principal analyst for IoT. "

There's also potential to leverage the data collected from the Intelligent Restroom to expand applications over time. "It could give you a proactive, behind the scenes look so you can have the different pieces and products ready in hand," she explains.

For KCC, the biggest challenge is steering the organization away from a product orientation to a service business model where concerns are wholly different—things like how to maintain uptime or best service customers. "IoT puts this dilemma in front of any company whether you're building a refrigerator or wash dryer," Sepull says. "Now you have a different model to be concerned about—making sure the customer is happy and when there is a failure, they have somewhere to go."

This story, "Security system vendor looks to increase employee efficiency" was originally published by CSO.

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