What are some of the big challenges you face?
Everybody has different policies, procedures, and different philosophies about how they’re going to handle things. Something as simple as under what conditions are you going to send a message out to the student body about an incident. Is it only once you’ve got a full picture of it or are you going to be more aggressive and notify them when you’re still kind of trying to discern what’s going on? This is even though you know that a million people are going to call asking questions and you risk getting a little mud on your face in the press. So, there’s that spectrum.
Frankly there’s also a thread running through a lot of our clients. If you think about most safety organizations, fundamentally, they’re about reducing risk, right? About improving the process but reducing the risk that anything goes wrong before it happens and reducing the risk of something going wrong during the response. So, sometimes kind of innovative technologies can be maybe a little empathetic to that approach.
So thankfully, we’ve got a good approach where we work with anchor client first and really vet things out and help develop model policies and procedures that we can then go to the next and broader spectrum of prospects and clients and say, “Hey, here’s how, you know, Nassau County in New York does panic buttons in all of their 1,500 or whatever it is schools. Here’s the policies that they’ve worked out and this worked for them. Here’s how the state of Arkansas who did the same thing rolled it out. And some nuances there but these are things you can consider.”
So we tend to spend maybe a little more time on the workflow and policy and procedure side than just a typical technology company. If a Salesforce comes in and gives you your CRM system and you go in and start punching in data and you build processes around it, that’s a little different than us coming in and saying, “Hey, here’s a bunch of model processes because we know that that part’s a big hindrance to you and there’s a lot of legal liability. So here’s how other folks have addressed these issues.”
Your services and solutions are technology-driven, whether it’s an app or a notification system or something like that. So how do CEOs in the industries you deal with, how should they be weighing a big investment like something like you would be offering or something else related to technology. I mean obviously these are investments to protect certain levels of their constituents, but they’re investments nonetheless. So, how do they weigh those investments?
In many of our solutions, it’s hard to give an ROI, right? It’s hard to say that if you put in a panic button system, you’re going to save $5,000 a year in paper procurement cost or something. It just doesn’t work that way. But yet there is an immense reputational and people-risk to something failing and you having an incident. And unfortunately more and more of these type of things are becoming a reality and we’re actually seeing even flowing down… into the way insurers provide insurance and what are you doing mitigate risks of these types of instance. The cost of failure is so astronomically high, there has to be some safeguards in place around it.
So, I guess on one side, altruistically I’d ask folks to think about ultimately your responsibility to your employees and those you serve and then to your investors. You have a responsibility for their safety, especially if you’re looking at the education side of the house. I mean, these children are entrusted in your care. Or if you’re in public safety agencies where you’re paid to make sure the people in your communities are safe.
Even in enterprises where increasingly the argument of saying, “We didn’t know.” or, “That’s outside of our realm of responsibility” doesn’t really hold water anymore. You are responsible for your employee’s safety. And frankly, the dollar investments in many of these solutions are pretty small in compared to a lot of big capital purchases. I mean everything we do is fast-paced and it’s pretty cost-effective for those people to implement something that ultimately makes happier, safer employees.
What advice do you have for fellow CEOs?
Everyone’s situation is a little different in terms of the industry dynamics and markets. But from my perspective, it’s always about the people and just making sure your people are treated well. And if you do that and you kind of set the example for how you treat your people internally, they’re gone in return treat your customers with that same level of respect and you’ll retain customers and grow. So, it’s really just about making sure your people are properly motivated and empowered.