The evolution from Visitor Management Systems (VMS) point solutions to broader integrated security and risk management platforms is happening in today’s world, as businesses address increasingly complex security problems that touch on broader stakeholder groups. Global enterprise organizations require a more robust automated system in place to handle health, safety and security issues for employees and visitors that return on their investment value.
A typical organization runs on a lean budget, with an estimated security spend equaling, on average, less than 1% of overall company budgets. However, with improved demonstration of benefits, this can double or triple over time. Additionally, while ratios may vary by industry and business priority, historically, security teams have allocated on average 20% towards access control, 15% for mass notification systems, 10% for VMS, and 5% for other systems such as AI.
Traditional VMS point solutions can be limited in their scope. Today’s platforms can directly provide, or can integrate across, multiple functions to offer scalable, customizable solutions of greater value.
Perhaps the biggest consideration is not the cost of action to implement a security solution, but the cost of inaction. Is your organization willing to settle when it comes to protecting its most important asset—the workforce?
As you read on, consider your own organization’s needs and possible investment opportunities. While we offer industry benchmarks and general guidelines, the specific costs and benefits will vary by organization.
The ROI Calculation
Before undertaking a new technological or organizational change, it is essential to consider the return on investment associated with the initiative. When implementing a new workforce security solution, executive decision-makers need to know exactly where the money is being spent and what cost benefits can be expected. This exercise can be broken down into two basic components: the investment and the return.
Historically, organizations have focused on point solution VMS offerings that addressed administrative efficiencies. These often resulted in more direct, but lower investment value returns. We will focus more broadly on systems that address workforce security, the evolving category that encompasses next generation Visitor Management Systems, as well as, Health/Safety Controls, Critical Outreach/Alerts, and Auditing/Analytics capabilities.
As this is a new approach, many of the benefits are still being explored by leading organizations and require blue-sky thinking. As such, while we will reference the broader workforce security benefits, our calculations will anchor itself, where possible, in industry-established, historical, Visitor Management Systems (VMS) deployment data.
Quantifying the resources and investment needed to implement a new solution can seem daunting. After all, some costs may be unforeseen and are intangible. However, it is crucial to understand the total investment of an initiative before getting started.
An easy way to begin is by listing the organization’s needs and cross-checking this list against the investment. Consider the specific license level that incorporates your organization’s “must-haves” which can range from SMS text message alerts to region-specific data ownership. Be clear when discussing your organization’s needs with your solution provider, so you fully understand all of the associated costs.
Next, you will want to consider implementation costs, including the time, money and staffing required to roll out a Visitor Management System. Your provider should be able to provide you with a project plan and estimated timeline, so you can allocate these resources accordingly. Take note of any training or onboarding services provided by the vendor, either included or as an add-on.
Lastly, don’t forget the cost of hardware that will need to be included in your VMS rollout. Items such as tablets, printers, stands, electrical cabling, etc. A healthy estimate for entry-level hardware is approximately $700 per station, but this will vary by the complexity of the station, number of stations/kiosk per location, and the use of mobile/flexible stations.
Like the investment costs, returns can vary widely based on an organization’s size, industry, and aforementioned “must-haves.” Not only are there quantifiable savings, but most organizations find value-added benefits from intangibles including reduced opportunity-costs and risk of inaction. These often prove more significant when evaluating potential ROI of a robust workforce security program.
Upon completion of a VMS implementation, organizations should expect some early savings. These can be broken down into two general categories: administrative and strategic benefits. The administrative benefits are tactical in nature, and will often be clear and quantifiable. For example, consider reduction in administrative costs, headcount reduction, and saved labor hours.
Strategic benefits can be more abstract, however, as they have the most potential for broad application. Many of these are represented as the ‘hidden costs’ below the waterline. For example, standardization across all locations reduces training costs, and the need to manage multiple processes/systems simultaneously. Additionally, a flexible ‘low-code’ system requires minimal outside support to make changes to support adjustments in guest management protocols, therefore mitigating additional costs.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog, where we’ll dive into the benefits a company can expect from their VMS.
Learn more about the value and benefits of a next generation Visitor Management solution.