G4S Academy: bringing intelligence into the future of security
“It’s essential that our customers get knowledge, from a global perspective, of the newest, most sophisticated solutions that cover these threats,” said Ole Knudsen, Managing Director of G4S Denmark.
Creating an intelligent culture
Intelligence not only means creating a culture of awareness, but also connecting security with core business strategies, making it an integrated and active part of a company’s operations. The G4S Academy, an initiative developed by G4S Denmark, was set up with this in mind.
According to Steen Brahe Bonke, Director of Strategic Solutions at G4S Denmark, many organisations are not getting enough out of their investments in security because of a fundamental lack of knowledge around threats.
"Security managers often experience pressure to focus on specific threats, and then concentrate on specific measures against these threats,” said Bonke. “This means that organisations often use a lot of resources on hedging solutions that really don’t create any commercial value.”
“We know a lot, and to bring that to our local and global customers, that’s very important,” explained Knudsen. “It’s all about training our customers and giving them the knowledge on how they should manage the different security solutions they have, or the needs they have.”
Through the Academy, customers have access to the most innovative solutions and the most skilled people, who can advise them based on their own specific requirements. At the heart of this is threat assessment. “Regardless of business type or industry, it can be an advantage to get an overview of current threats,” said Bonke. “Increased security is not necessarily achieved by installing new security solutions, but through a basic understanding of the real security needs of the company. Knowing the current threats to your business can help maximise your investment in security.”
To help manage risk and determine where a company should focus its security efforts, the Academy has developed the G4S Threat Radar, which can be used to categorise, define and rank threats (see ALK-Abelló case study). This focus on threats, as opposed to precautionary products or services, ensures an outcome-orientated approach to security management. Specialists at the Academy use the Threat Radar to help customers review threats that are not adequately addressed, strengthening their overall security programmes as a result.
Putting people at the heart
The G4S Academy is made up of more than 45 specialists, selected across numerous disciplines, business units and professional functions. This way, G4S can provide expertise across best practice, technology development, customer insight, business model development, and marketing and design, and guarantee that customers receive information from someone that knows and understands their industry.
To ensure our consultancy services are of the highest standard, every employee is examined, skill-mapped, ISO-9001 certified, and must meet a strict set of minimum requirements.
The Academy specialists are divided into three categories aligned with the strategic framework of the G4S Academy and are determined by the unique competencies of the specialist:
- Solution Specialists - Possess thorough expert knowledge on specific security solutions, including security measures, standards, laws and guidelines.
- Integrated Solution Specialists - Possess product specific knowledge across multiple fields, and are experts in integrated security solutions.
- Strategic Solution Specialists - Possess unique security knowledge from a business perspective and are specialised in combining business strategies with security management.
Academy specialists work within a holistic framework, where they are encouraged to collaborate on projects. Bringing together people across the business, from sales, technology and operations, helps to break down silos, boost knowledge sharing, establish clear goals and build a more flexible, project-oriented organisation. It also works to enhance employees’ capabilities in the areas of consulting, education, information and networking.
Knowledge sharing behaviours
This concept of collaboration is fundamental to the functioning of the Academy. On an internal level, there are various initiatives in place to make sure the knowledge captured by individuals and project teams becomes ‘community knowledge’ shared across the organisation. These include a sales training programme, which focuses on consulting tools that can be leveraged in a sales context, and Knowledge Sharing Days, where employees throughout the business are invited to participate in topic-specific events.
Externally, specialists actively seek out opportunities to spend time with customers and learn more about their business. Developing customer relationships not only helps them to understand their requirements, identify opportunities for improvement, and develop the most unique and tailored solutions, but also open up discussions about new business opportunities. Putting the customer at the core means the security solutions become much more valuable.
“What we do here is develop new products and services, but also new business models and ways to operate together with customers,” said Knudsen. “Some of this is the basics, but a lot of it is new ways of thinking.”
Bringing intelligence into the future
While the G4S Academy is still in the early stages of development, the wider business and customers alike are starting to see the impact of this change. Over the last year, a number of tenders have been put forward by businesses that are supported by the Academy’s approach.
“We have seen museums (see Louisiana Museum case study), pharmaceutical companies and universities adopting our way of thinking, and they have reacted to it and responded to it in a positive way,” said Knudsen.
As technology continues to develop at a rapid pace, the Academy will remain at the forefront of up-to-date, tailored security solutions for customers. “In the future, technology will meld, even more so, with our manned services,” explained Knudsen. “It will move from what we see today, being very responsive to information, to become more ‘predict and prevent’. We’ll continue to help our customers remove the pain from all this risk around the world so they can concentrate on doing what they’re doing. That’s the best part of it.”