PSA TEC 2019 Guest Blog: The Digital Transformation of Security

March 2, 2019

TEC 2019 is the premier education and networking event for all professional systems integrators in the security and audio-visual markets. This year’s event pivots around a changing market and ways to stay relevant within the industry. 

By Kelly Lake | Director, Strategic Alliances | Zenitel Americas

Kelly Lake | Director, Strategic Alliances | Zenitel Americas

The Customer
For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s Hospital has specialized in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, the hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, emergency and outreach services. In 2018, U.S. News & World Report ranked Seattle Children’s among the nation’s best children’s hospitals for the 26th year in a row.

Seattle Children’s is committed to the safety and security of its patients, families and staff. Over the course of its history, the hospital has leveraged a wide array of tools and processes to ensure the highest levels of protection

Security and safety were important for Seattle Children’s, but it did not have a compelling vision and strategy that aligned with the organization.

As a result, they reacted tactically to the needs of the organization, but the way they deployed people to perform roles in a process using technology was highly inefficient.

Seattle Children’s Hospital

“In 2007, we had technology silos with a combination of analog and digital devices with little or no documentation”, said Dylan Hayes, who, at the time was the Physical Security Program Manager for Seattle Children’s. “There was a home-grown incident reporting system, standalone emergency call stations, standalone panic/duress buttons and an un-scalable access control system.”

“Our IT department was not much better”, said Jack Jones, Manager of IS Strategic Relationships. “We had no overall strategy or planning meetings, no documented system architecture, no failover for our network and no collaboration with our security and safety department.”

At that time the security industry was also in flux. “We were still in the beginning of the transition from analog to IP”, said Tim Palmquist, Vice President Americas, Milestone. “Network bandwidth requirements were still being vetted.”

“At the time, we were only an integrator”, said Larry Minaker, Client Manager for Aronson Security Group. “We were being asked to take on a larger role within Children’s; one that included strategy and planning and technology road-mapping. The client was in a building mode and it was critical they had the right partnerships and program management to help them make the strategic moves necessary to support the organization.”

ASG knew it had to take its methodology called the ASG Path to Value, to a higher level. “We would have to integrate into a new model of relationship with IT, Security and our chosen technology vendors”, said Minaker.

According to Hayes, the roadmap elements for Seattle Children’s needed to include:

  • Alignment with the vision and mission of Children’s
  • Sustainability: the framework for continuous improvement
  • Mission critical key performance indicators around availability, reliability, scalability
  • Escalation protocols around security and safety

ASG Path to Value

Children’s TQM Process

“We worked alongside security to develop key stakeholders in the organization”, said Jones. “We focused in on disaster recovery, network performance, availability through our data center as well as our total cost of ownership.”

This provided a strategic platform for an execution plan that IT could use to provision the mission critical components of Children’s, including security.

Security began to formalize their internal and external team. “We determined our pain points and began to evaluate and then benchmark the technology options”, said Hayes.

The teams patiently documented the gaps including the fact that:

  • Patient care operations needed improvement
  • Investigations were not efficient
  • System performance problems diluted our trust with the organization
  • We did not adequately understand the business processes that we were supposed to secure

“At ASG, we were mustering expertise around IT infrastructure, device vendor solutions, and software vendor solutions”, said Minaker. “Children’s and ASG needed to elevate the conversation and have the discipline to follow the ASG Path to Value and align it with Children’s Total Quality Management (TQM) approach to ensure we covered every detail.”

“As Children’s moved forward, our role was to provide the documentation and proof points needed for ASG to fulfill their needs, said Palmquist. ‘Milestone had to provide a road map that mapped to Children’s needs.”

Children’s recognized that TQM demanded they assess, strategize, plan and then implement. In the past, they did not have the strategic compass and discipline to do this. “Once we put the team together, we enforced a discipline to take this approach every time”, said Hayes. ‘As a team, we took the assessment data, developed a strategy, then formulated a functional specification that included how people would perform their roles using the new technology. We measured each vendor against this specification which included a use case for doing a proof of concept.”

According to Hayes, every technology must have an objective scorecard that fits the use case. “We began to assert certain standards from our relationship with IT that would apply to all vendors. We knew we were not buying just a solution. We were buying a part of our information architecture. We were creating the platform for the digital transformation of security.”

Children’s prioritizes solutions that have an Open Architecture program and technology. “The program is important, because it established design criteria in the development process as well as program criteria for maintaining that integration within the ecosystem of security solutions”, said Hayes.

Jones illustrated ITs impact on the implementation plan by outlining key success criteria for a Highly Reliable Organization (HRO)

  • Executive sponsorship of desired outcomes
  • Governance structure to remove road blocks and provide clarity of direction
  • Conformance to the standards and policies of the IT architecture documented and supported
  • Project Management: manage internal and external resources to established time, cost and quality outcomes
  • Identify Post Implementation support. Security traditionally lacks the foresight of IT which needs to maintain and sustain mission critical applications for the organization. “If security is mission critical, it must have a managed service budgeted and defined by either the vendors or internally”, said Jones.
  • In the Performance Support Plan, define owners and responsibilities at each level of support.

Palmquist provided an example from Milestone of the key elements of an Open Platform Program:

  • Application Program Interface (API) that is intentionally built for integration
  • Software Development Kit (SDK) to encourage and foster an ecosystem of integrations
  • Open Platform Program: formalized to ensure a long-term approach to all integration partners
  • Certification: To ensure quality and performance. (A trusted seal of approval)
  • Managed and Reviewed Performance: Walk the Talk

“Our vendors all need to put a stake in the ground like Milestone’s Open Platform Program and create the infrastructure and measures to follow through”, said Hayes. “We need the entire ecosystem to:

  • Ensure their supply chain is robust and dependable from design through to manufacturing, distribution, implementation and support.
  • Learn the language of our business and support the values of our business
  • Ensure the ‘ilities’ of a mission critical business solution: availability, defensibility, reliability, maintainability, and sustainability.

Today Children’s has begun, brick by brick, to establish a roadmap for their future. With a keen eye to their IT architecture and the alignment of their risk with the opportunities and goals of Children’s, security is planning and securing its future.

“We will have 600+ beds by 2030”, said Hayes. “We had 336 in 2012. This growth will stretch our capabilities and our budget. Therefore, our needs analysis and our spend must show discipline and planning. This will require a high degree of commitment with our chosen vendors like ASG, Milestone, Axis, Zenitel and Lenel. All of them must stay at the table and continue to foster innovation and care.”

The key lessons derived from the Children’s path to value include:

  • Seek Alignment. Understand the key organizational initiatives and integrate your value into them
  • Seek Strategic Partners. If you assess your vendors this way, you will move from simple features and function analysis to an innovation scorecard based on your current and future requirements
  • Team Optimization. Design your teams, internal and external for optimum performance.
  • Continuous Collaboration. This is not project centric. This is a critical trait and performance measurement.
  • Seek Synergy. Relationships matter. Seek alignment and the right placement of people on the bus. Make the tools work for the people who use them.
  • Own the outcomes. Measure frequently.

The scorecard for our vendors has adapted to include a stronger collaboration between our chosen platform providers. Lenel, Milestone and Zenitel have proven they rise to this challenge.

And we are driving the IT scorecard against all vendors.

  • Scalability: We have over 40 buildings and growing in our enterprise security risk management purview. It is critical we can scale this application to meet our ever-growing needs.
  • Intelligibility: Like most security organizations, we depend on timely and clear communications to ensure we have the information we need to provide an efficient and accurate response to any situation. Ultimately that scorecard influenced our choice of our communication platform and our video platform. With Zenitel’s Turbine product, we could literally hear the difference from our old analog systems. The key point: Intelligibility can be measured. It is incumbent we do so before we purchase.
  • Interoperability: We realized that just making two products work together is not enough. We had to be confident there is a program with and between our strategic technology partners. This is the foundation of the integration and ensures scalability and maintainability. Lenel, Milestone and Zenitel have a history of creating powerful integrations with core application providers and sustaining those integrations through their individual program management.
  • Availability: This is paramount. We take our role in the organization seriously. Our technology platform is mission critical and must be measured to a 99.999% performance. Seconds matter when our people and our assets are threatened.  Downtime is unacceptable.
  • Maintainability: our IT and Security staff will have to be able to provision and maintain systems across a wide spectrum of environments. It is critical we have an efficient means to do this.
  • Defensibility: We are asking our technology vendors and integrator to ensure the cyber hardening of the systems before we implement. We must have security over our security.

Attend Kelly’s Session at TEC

The Digital Transformation of Security

Tuesday, March 12th 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Systems integrators are improving value to their clients by evolving their business model from a focus on technology silos of excellence to one that captures the hidden costs of the security program. Those costs include lack of a fully integrated and maintained business intelligence platform for security. This platform will create a force multiplier in capabilities, risk mitigation and budget optimization. The new category of “Intelligent Communications” refers to communications between systems and within business processes, and encompasses all forms of communications, not just voice. When leveraged within a business intelligence platform like access control, an enhanced level of interoperability between people, processes and technology is possible, and the stage is set for the age of voice and machine learning. This allows integrators to provide intelligent and sustainable solutions that optimize their customers’ systems, improving response time, situational awareness and accountability.


Moderator; Kelly Lake, Director, Strategic Alliances, Zenitel, USA
Panelists: Jim Hoffpauir, President, Safety & Security Sector, Zenitel USA
Tim Palmquist, Vice President, Americas, Milestone
Chuck O’Leary, Vice President of Sales, North America, LenelS2
Dylan Hayes, Manager, IT Security, Enterprise Security Technology, Seattle Children’s Hospital – Research – Foundation

Register Now!

Visit the Vingtor-Stentofon by Zenitel Group’s Booth

Booth # 212

Thursday, March 14 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM

View the Floor Plan

About Kelly

Kelly’s mission is to create a highly differentiated value proposition for Zenitel’s Strategic Alliances by articulating the value of intelligent communications in an integrated risk, resilience and security model.   Through close collaboration in research, development, marketing, and sales, the partnership with Zenitel’s Strategic Alliance Partners offers clients unmatched value by embedding highly intelligible voice communications into their command and control solutions.  Kelly is also an accomplished musician, which infuses her perspective on sound quality and voice intelligibility.