Chances are, you have an HID Global product in your wallet or dangling from your belt loop. HID Global is the market leader for identity and security badges—the kind you scan every day to enter your office building.
That badge most likely came from HID Global to you via the company’s traditional distribution channels—HID makes the badge, a distributor buys it and resells it to a security integrator, through which it makes its way to your office where it’s scanned and issued to you.
In other words, while you are the end-user of HID’s products, it passes through many hands before it reaches you. HID isn’t looking to upend that sequence, however, it is working to have more influence over the process, messaging and in the way its products are represented throughout the sequence. And it is leveraging digital to do so, said Apryl Erickson, HID Global’s vice president of e-business and customer centricity, at the B2B Next conference held this week in Chicago.
“There are many paths to the end user,” Erickson said. “Gone are the days of a monolith, one-size-fits-all strategy.” That’s why her team at HID Global is taking a dual-approach strategy that takes traditional distribution channels into account along with the end user.
But to modify an entrenched distribution strategy, Erickson said you have to start small. Step one for HID Global was cleaning up its data. “You have to start with the incredibly boring stuff. For me, that’s cleaning up your data. But it’s the foundation on which you build and can scale.”
For instance, when HID Global looked at how its products were represented online, it found inaccurate product data, bad photos and abbreviations few end users would be able to comprehend. Erickson’s team set about creating and distributing assets like photos and product descriptions to resellers that represented the products in the way HID Global wanted end users to see them.
It also focused on making doing business easier. For instance, HID’s product catalog was 105 pages long—designed for distributors, not for the end user who wants to buy a security system that fits his needs. So, HID created a product configurator on its public website where a prospective buyer could more easily navigate the options that fit his needs. Erickson said HID uses an “ease of doing business” metric to measure its progress and that the changes it’s made have “moved the needle” for HID.
HID also is working on ways to retire physical badges for some applications and replacing them with digital security badges that can live on users’ smartphones or smartwatches. In this scenario, registration information is stored and managed by HID, as opposed to a third party. It doesn’t make sense for the management of virtual badges to flow through traditional distribution steps in reverse to reach HID. For this, HID has created an online portal where end users can easily manage their accounts.
“We are focused on connecting and digitizing our customer experience from end to end,” Erickson said.
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