Technology and security are inevitably entwined
September 2009, Products
The current socio-economic climate is forcing businesses to fully embrace technology in order to strengthen control over resources.
Service providers operating within the local HR, access control and time and attendance space suggest that the adoption rate of technology, particularly biometric solutions, has increased significantly across many industries and sectors. The resultant enhanced ability to control resources is considered a main driving force.
Teryl Schroenn, CEO at Accsys, says there has been a sharp rise in general market interest and investment in security-focused technology. This spike in captured market attention is evident by not only the volume of solutions sold and implemented, but also by the extent and proliferation of take up by a variety of sectors.
“Technology is no longer seen as simply being the domain of ICT-focused companies or industries. Solutions are finding a place and adding value in a wide scope of industries and sectors. There are a number of factors behind this scenario. In terms of business continuity and productivity, financial constraint continues to place pressure on companies to use their resources far more strategically and more consistently than may have been the case in the past. At the same time there is a pressing need to maintain the integrity and reliability of resources and this is where access control and security has a significant influence.”
Business productivity requires people to be in particular places and doing particular functions at particular times, even when management is not there to oversee it! Access to high security areas or places where confidentiality is critical is also better controlled by technology. Technology also supplies an accurate method of confirming presence and absence.
While clocking has not typically been a way to control white collar workers, increasingly the needs for security as well as the high costs around white collar absenteeism are driving more South African companies to purchase biometrics in this environment. Absenteeism is a problem for all businesses, unauthorised leave, long lunches, late arrivals and early departures all have an impact on productivity levels.
“At no time in our economic history has it been more important to know that people are on the job when they are supposed to be. Every company has to be at the top of their game right now and how much easier to manage by exception, which is what biometric solutions can give to management,” she adds.
This is the basis upon which service providers are engaging and servicing the market, and continue to do so with success. However, the cost implications are also a significant and ever-present consideration.
Schroenn puts cost into perspective by distinguishing between hourly paid environments and salaried environments.
“In the hourly paid environment, it is easy to quantify that biometric solutions pay for themselves within months. In the salaried environment, better management control is harder to quantify in terms of fast return on investment. But the feedback on issues such as leave indicate that in a company of one hundred and fifty people, savings on unauthorised leave alone will repay the upfront costs in a relatively short time frame.”
Ultimately the cost of investment has to be weighed up against the implications of maintaining the status quo and relying upon the same traditional methods to instil control.
“In today’s marketplace, there is very little room for error in the decision-making process and operation of a business. The pressure is on and technology can make a difference,” Schroenn concludes.
For more information contact Teryl Schroenn, Accsys, +27 (0)11 719 8000, www.accsys.co.za