Review the business section of any magazine or newspaper, and you are required to see a story that focuses on one of the following topics: personnel challenges, personalization, or technology-related changes. Prime Communications Inc. has each of these issues in mind, which has allowed the company to experience rapid growth.
Prime Communications made a great leap in the Security business Fast50 – going from No. 31 to the top five after a very strong 2018 that registered a growth rate of 45 percent.
Founded in 2001 as an infrastructure company, Prime Communications diversified in 2006 and made the decision to focus on physical security and IT. At that time, Prime was one of the few security companies focused 100 percent on IP-based physical security systems in their area, which led to significant growth in the early years. The company based in Elkhorn, Nebraska (just outside Omaha) has a global workforce, with remote employees throughout the United States and subcontractors working internationally.
Prime Communications is an IT-centric organization focused on managed services. The unique way in which they solve problems and their incorporation of engineering allows them to offer customized solutions. Customers are attracted to the service and feel confident that their people and assets are protected.
Traditional Markets, Custom Solutions.
Prime Communications focuses primarily on health, retail and education clients. The decision to move to the health industry was a natural thing, since the company had already implemented medical telemetry throughout the country: moving to the safety side of health simply made sense.
As for the educational market, a school shooting in Omaha in 2011 in which a student shot a director and deputy director before committing suicide turned out to be a turning point. The tragedy left the school committed to increasing safety, and they went to Prime Communications for help. Throughout the project of almost three years, the company partnered with architecture and engineering companies to build systems that ensure the school. "From there, we have grown and our team understands how to deal with security issues related to education," explains Jamie Bumgardner, vice president and COO of the company.
The company's entry into the retail trade was organic, says Bumgardner. A large retailer in the Omaha area asked the company to evaluate its safety. "It was a great success story about how we reduce shrinkage," says Bumgardner. "The retail world is small, and people talk … then that sector of our business took off."
Regardless of the vertical, Prime Communications focuses on creating a customer experience that distinguishes them. "We are not attacking all the verticals in the market," says Bumgardner. "For those vertical markets in which we are, we are very present going to industry events and forming part of advisory committees, etc." This presence allows people in the markets to recognize Prime Communications and lead to new business.
According to Bumgardner, the goal of the company is for each end user to feel that "due to the experience of the Prime Communications customer, I am more confident that I can better protect my people and assets, and find more joy in my work because Prime Communications solved our problems. "
While Prime Communications customers often have similar security issues and challenges, Bumgardner says the company goes out of its way to customize the solutions. The security systems created can only happen after the company has a clear and deep knowledge of the client's environment. "We want customers to see us as a trusted advisor," he says. "When we design systems, we review them with clients so that they understand exactly what they are buying."
By creating an open relationship with its customers, Prime Communications encourages customers to be honest about their needs. "We tell our clients to tell us what they want us to do and we will solve it," says Bumgardner.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, the company uses a customized integration group that focuses on the challenge of creating a fully unified platform that integrates security, video surveillance and family access control with other business systems. Bumgardner says that this approach is a differentiator for the company.
"The piece of engineering in our organization separates us, and we invest a lot of time in engineering," says Bumgardner.
In addition, Bumgardner attributes to hosted systems based on the cloud an important driver of business growth. The company has adopted solutions such as video analysis, video storage in the cloud, video surveillance as a service and access control based on the cloud. "We saw a big change in mindset in 2018 with our biggest customers when it comes to the cloud," says Bumgardner. "Even some of the most demanding customers ask about cloud solutions and our ability to host and manage those systems."
Time and again, Fast50 companies, and perhaps the entire security integration industry in general, cite the acquisition of talent as their main challenge when it comes to running a rapidly growing security business. A company can say everything right, make promises and offer guarantees; however, everything is in vain without a work force to convert those words into actions.
Bumgardner also believes that the acquisition of talent is the number one problem in the industry. Three years ago, Bumgardner says that company executives "backed down and said" we have to change our approach to our employees. "
They started by creating a "culture committee" run exclusively by employees, who make decisions related to the company's events and the charity work done in Omaha and the surrounding areas, and contribute to the problems of the entire company.
"Anything that affects their day-to-day lives in the organization has something to say," Bumgardner explains, noting that Prime Communications restructured its employee vacation policy due to the recommendations of the culture committee.
Involving employees in decisions has led to happier employees, which, in turn, has facilitated hiring, as employees begin to spread the word about the type of workplace that Prime Communications is. "People come to us and tell us:" I heard from you and how good it is here ", confirms Bumgardner.
While improving the company's culture as a whole has proven to be a very positive step in Prime Communications' recruitment efforts, Bumgardner admits that it remains a challenge for the company and for the industry as a whole. "We need young people to want to enter this industry," he says. "We need to communicate how sophisticated the systems are and make young people understand what the technology-driven industry is like and let them know about growth opportunities."
Every successful company and industry should focus on the future as much as, or even more than, in the present. With today's competitive markets, this has never been more true; and the change in the security industry is happening at an accelerated pace. With the information available, customers have become smarter and expectations have increased.
Beyond staying at the forefront of technology, a company can not thrive if it is not continually evolving to solve customer problems in new ways every day.
"We try to stay ahead of the curve with respect to the services we offer, since they are much more sophisticated from an IT perspective," says Bumgardner. "We identify areas where we can provide value above and beyond the deployment of systems.
"(Security) is a big market with many vertical markets and an endless technology," he adds. "Find your niche and stay focused."
Larry Bernstein is a freelance writer who resides in New Jersey. Learn more at http://larrydbernstein.com.