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SecNet 2010 - 2012


Steps for the Finnish safety and security industry towards networking and internationalisation - Abstract

The project aimed at contributing the formation of international networks of security companies in four business areas which were: senior care, supply chains, situation awareness and built urban environment. Within the project, the areas of significant growth or internationalisation potential in security business as well as product and service packages for identified customer needs and groups were described. Also, the value networks and business models to support them were examined, as well as the extent to which the companies are ready to share their knowledge of internationalisation and what kind of business cooperation models support this. Moreover, the concepts of network leader companies were described.

During the project, seven networking workshops were organized in order to collect research data and to deliver the knowledge produced by the project to the participating organisations. In addition, altogether 62 persons from public and private organisations that are integrally related to the business areas were interviewed. As a result, the actors and roles, know-how and competences, relationships and business models, as well as possible need for integrator concerning the potential networks within the four business areas were defined. A framework of adequate networking forms for security sector was developed, and the operation concepts of a network leader were modelled. In addition, different paths and steps of internationalisation as well as competence needs were studied.

Offering a comprehensive solution consisting of various security products or services was revealed to be the essential form of network cooperation. This requires a uniform view of the client and the client's needs among the network partners. Also, a specific customer order is required before the business potential of a network can be realised. Personal relationships and trust are important when starting collaboration. This is contributed by various network events and workshops, where it is possible to familiarize oneself to the products and services of other companies and establish social contacts. In all of the business areas studied, a common need for such companies that can take responsibility or initiative of the network building was revealed.

Within the international security markets, the recognised competence areas and strengths of Finnish companies included high level of GIS (geographic information system) technology, strong level of expertise in one’s own field of business (resources and efficiency), ICT know-how (e.g. interfaces), Finland's positive security reputation, the neutrality, knowledge of local conditions and customers, shipping expertise in special circumstances and customs expertise, among others. Finnish companies are also considered reliable, which is very important when developing security products.

Special characteristics of security – its immateriality and thereby challenges in marketing, context and culture-specific nature, difficulties in identifying the actual paying customer as well as quantifying and investing in – gives also networking in the security business field a special nature. However, security is a factor that often integrates other product and service elements. This and the growing consciousness about security issues creates a promising starting point for the companies in security business field to look for strategic partnerships in order to utilise the market potential and to create additional value to customers.

The main results of the project were compiled as a toolbox for a security company in networking and internationalising. The toolbox provides knowledge, models, methods and tips for the self-assessment of internationalisation potential and taking the first steps in international markets as well as building international networks.