When your business is built on security, trust is your biggest asset. Securitas has been a respected name in physical security services for more than eighty years, providing on-site, remote, and mobile guarding; electronic security, risk management and more to customers around the world. It promotes a culture of “integrity, vigilance, and helpfulness” among its employees, who must all pass a rigorous background screening process. The company’s approach to hiring and workforce management has paid off: the average tenure of Securitas employees is 21 years.
But one of the obstacles that staff faced in their jobs was outdated technology. Over many years and acquisitions, Securitas’ IT portfolio ballooned, resulting in multiple systems that weren’t well integrated and led to a lot of manual processes, often done on spreadsheets or even on paper.
“When you think about all the hoops that our staff had to jump through—all the manual processes and trackers and spreadsheets—it's pretty amazing that we got the job done,” says Brett Rosen, division controller for Securitas North America. “People that came in from the outside were completely amazed at how successful we were in spite of all of the roadblocks and inefficiencies.”
Getting rid of those roadblocks was the major incentive behind the company’s decision to launch a digital transformation project. Access to a modern interface where employees can track their performance, time off, and schedules gave them better visibility and more control over their work-life balance and improved the overall employee experience. “This technology aids the relationship that we have with our employees,” Rosen says.
Over the years, Securitas accumulated a variety of systems that included 26 scheduling programs and three instances of Oracle PeopleSoft. Jeremy Brecher, chief information officer (CIO) and chief technology officer (CTO) of Securitas, knew they needed a foundational approach to fix the underlying issues. “It's easier to add fancy things,” he says, “but you need to go back and get to the core.”
“Getting to the core” meant a single, unified system for finance and HR in the cloud. Securitas decided to move from PeopleSoft and Hyperion to Oracle Cloud Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Oracle Cloud Enterprise Performance Management (EPM), and Oracle Cloud Human Capital Management (HCM). All the Oracle Cloud Applications are pre-integrated, built to work together. They share a common data model, creating a single system of record across finance and HR. Securitas also adopted Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI), which allows them to scale quickly without disruption to services.
“Consolidation was important for us,” Brecher says. “Completeness and robustness of solution was important, too. Otherwise, you’re maintaining too many systems and you’re developing too much—it gets complicated and expensive.”
Another factor behind Securitas’ decision was their relationship with Oracle and their implementation partner, Deloitte. “Success isn’t a straight line,” Brecher says, “it’s a journey. We needed a partnership that was committed to that journey with us.” That commitment extended up to Securitas’ board of directors and to Oracle’s CEO. “We felt that Oracle was responsive and nimble. They listened and supported us through it—and we still have that today.”
Brecher adds that the first go-live in the United States was incident-free. “There was no impact to the business,” he says. “That’s the way I measured its success.” And those successes have continued as the company becomes more data-driven at every level.
Before the implementation, the HR department processed paper time sheets for 100,000 people every week. Managing that volume was tedious and time-consuming. Executive vice president of human resources Rod Musser says, “In the past, it would take us three weeks to create a monthly turnover report. Now, it takes about two minutes.” That switch to digital reporting not only saved time, but also offers a new level of visibility that delivers real value.
Musser says that better data has helped Securitas navigate the current labor shortage. “In March of 2021, our job applications dropped 50 percent—which is massive. It could have been catastrophic for us, but we maintained our hiring levels because of the data that we could mine. We had visibility into the entire hiring pipeline. For example, we could see what recruiters were doing—what, when, who was performing, and who wasn't. It let us get to the issues with a surgeon's scalpel.”
While systems need to deliver information at the global and divisional levels, data at the local level helps leaders identify problems, patterns, and solutions. Musser and his team used analytics to retool the hiring process. From application to orientation, each step of the process is now tracked and optimized, resulting in a 70% improvement in time to hire.
As they use their new platform to improve operations, a clear competitive advantage is emerging. “I’ve heard from our global colleagues that they have ‘data envy’ of us now,” remarked Musser. “When you can capture that data and analyze it easily, it gives you the power to understand what's happening in your organization.”
Another success relates to employment diversity. In 2021, Forbes named Securitas one of America’s 500 best employers for diversity. Musser says the new system has helped them uncover career roadblocks. “We built a whole diversity dashboard that shows us what the career paths are—from an officer to a VP, for example. It shows us diversity at all those different levels, so we can zero in on where the barriers and blockers might be,” he said.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is not just a series of data points; it is an essential element of good human resource management that impacts corporate culture. Musser sees DEI efforts as another way of ensuring employees are valued and their priorities are considered. “People want to work for a company that makes a difference,” he said.
In 2020, Securitas CEO Magnus Ahlqvist charged his team with finding a way to give back to society at the local level. With thousands of security professionals monitoring locations across the U.S., the company could make a substantial difference in the effort to recover missing and exploited children, so Securitas teamed up with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to do just that.
NCMEC was founded in the 1980s. Back then, “it was easier to find a missing pet than it was a missing child if they crossed the jurisdictional lines of police departments,” Musser explained. Agencies were not connected, and communication was limited; NCMEC has been working to overcome those challenges for more than 30 years.
The partnership with NCMEC takes advantage of technology and vigilance. Securitas currently distributes electronic posters from NCMEC to their mobile officers, who are trained to recognize missing children. “NCMEC may say a child was abducted in Boston, but they think they're heading to Florida,” said Musser. “We have those alerts sent to our mobile division along the most likely route, and it comes up on our officers’ screens. They're made aware of whatever details NCMEC may have.
“By May 2022, all our officers will be trained to look for something different,” Musser adds. “Technology gets the information out quickly, and speed is really important in any kind of missing person case. Our breadth and our technology can get information out very, very quickly. It's a great combination.
“We believe that we need to show that Securitas isn't just a job. It isn't just standing posts. It's not just opening the gates when trucks come through, or when people need access. We have a larger part in society,” Musser says of the partnership with NCMEC.
In addition to helping children and communities, this partnership deepens the commitment of Securitas employees. It is one of the reasons Rosen believes employees value their work and the company. “I think people find a strong connection to our purpose in the world, making society and our world a safer place.”
As a global company, Securitas needs a system that can expand with them at scale. After going live on Oracle Cloud across North America, the company is expanding into 40 countries in Europe. “It’s a little more complicated,” says Brecher, “but they’re building on our success.”
Now that Securitas is on Oracle Cloud, it can take advantage of the regular updates that Oracle rolls out quarterly. “The world's evolving,” says Brecher, “and the threat landscape is evolving. We need to use modern tools that can help us stay up to date.” He says that Securitas uptakes all the new enhancements in Oracle Cloud. “We have a backlog of hundreds, if not thousands, of things we want to achieve. Just to give you an idea: we're building new client portals, new dedicated apps for our officers, we're building more and more reports—there’s so much to do now that we’re live.”
Brecher continues, “We don't have to reinvent anything, we don't have to go out and discover everything and learn it all; it's all there for us to consume.” He says the toughest parts of continuous innovation are implementation, change management, and deciding which new capabilities to prioritize next. “It’s endless,” he concludes. “Endless amount of new stuff we have on our plate.”
Regardless of which initiative they choose to tackle, Securitas’ infrastructure and information mean their employees have more time to support customers, and leaders have the vision and visibility needed to spur innovation and drive growth.
Lynne has 25 years experience in journalism and marketing. She spent the first 10 years of her career at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, covering major news events such as the Quebec referendum, two federal elections, and the crash of Swissair flight 111 - coverage of which won a Gemini Award for “Best News Special Event Coverage.” Since then, Lynne has worked in marketing and communications for high technology companies such as Whitehill Technologies and Skywire Software. She currently works at Oracle as managing editor of The Modern Finance Leader, winner of a 2018 Killer Content Award from Demand Gen Report.