In all the chatter over Hurricane Irene (which, thankfully, left everyone I know as well as myself more or less unscathed), a hurricane of its own tore through the public relations world on Friday: VMS (Video Monitoring Services of America, LP) has closed its doors.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with it, VMS was the dominant video monitoring service for years. And I mean years.
Now there are several, probably the most well-known of which is Critical Mention (I have friends who work/ed at both companies, have used VMS in the past, am a former Critical Mention customer, and have no vested interest in either.)
I don’t know if this can be called a hurricane, though, since it seems to have come about with very little warning. Maybe a hurricane waiting to happen?
This is the message that was posted on VMS’ website on Friday:
The VMS Board with the input of qualified professionals have elected to close VMS.
Unfortunately almost all VMS personnel have been terminated effective today.
The decision has been made after exhaustively evaluating many different options and with sadness for our loyal staff and customers.
At some point in the very near future a Trustee will be appointed to liquidate VMS. We anticipate the trustee will make future communications with customers.
VMS thanks all customers for their loyal support.
PounceNow equates VMS to Blockbuster in the wake of Netflix’ ascendant star. And it’s true, once Critical Mention came on the market, its real-time alerts, aggressive sales staff and affordable pricing did make it more attractive, even to solo practitioners like me.
But did I think VMS would close its doors altogether? No, that I didn’t see coming.
What happens now to its 200+ employees, some of whom are absolutely stellar, is anyone’s guess. And I imagine this leaves other firms offering comprehensive monitoring services in partnership with VMS, such as BurrellesLuce (disclosure: former client), in a bit of a bind.
But this I do know; if this isn’t a sign of the times – where the ability to adapt is critical to survival – nothing is.
And to all my friends who have had their careers yanked so rudely from under their feet; I am thinking especially good thoughts for you and hope you emerge from this hurricane relatively unscathed as well.
Image: rubber bullets via Flickr, CC 2.0
@JGoldsborough Yup, it is. It’s kinda like a piece of history sinking into the sand, isn’t it?
@dskaletsky I think it’s both. It’s sad for all the employees, and it’s definitely an opportunity for its competitors. It’s still a little stunning for those of us who’ve seen it around for so long. I don’t know what went on internally but I did feel they were a little dinosaur-ish, while having great people on staff. That’s why I do think – and agree with you – that adaptability is key.
@jocmbarnett Thanks for sharing. :)
I really, really feel for the employees during a story like this. I can’t imagine they had much notice either. They all have a tough transition ahead and here’s to hoping maybe we can help any of the folks we know from there out. Layoffs suck.
I too don’t really know much about the company . Thanks for the share and came to know what it really is…..
Shilpi Singha Roy
I don’t know. Is it sad or is it exciting? I know it’s never good to see people lose their jobs (especially if it weren’t due to their own complacency, but rather bad corporate strategy/leadership), but isn’t it good to see progress dismantle stagnancy? Do you believe in too big to fail?
“It’s not the strong that survive, nor is it the most intelligent, but the the ones with the greatest ability to adapt.” – Darwin
@KenMueller Yes, it is!
@bdorman264 Exactly. We’ll probably never know exactly what went on inside…
@HowieSPM It’s true; I did stop using VMS because their solutions weren’t as cost-effective or as customizable as some of the other services. I still wonder what exactly went on inside the company, though, and it’s sad to see a once-dominant player close its doors.
I see so many stories like this, and it still surprises me. haven’t we learned? I talk a lot about the Yellow Pages…and they are trying to adapt their model, but I had a client relate a story to me the other day about meeting with two different Yellow Pages folks in just one week, and how they are trying to adapt, and not surprisingly, they are barking up the wrong tree.
It’s going to be really interesting to see what newspapers and TV and Cable do over the next 2 or 3 years.
Too often sign of the times right now; the big question is do these jobs get absorbed elsewhere, does something new and innovative come from this, did they take their eye off the ball.
Everything seems to move so fast it is hard to always be pro-active enough. Sometimes you are on your heels being reactive and that is never a good place to be, especially for strategic thinking.
@HowieSPM I knew you were a geek…………you can call it business if you like………….
As you can tell I LOVE CASE STUDIES good or bad. I know I am a business geek.
I don’t know the company but I know the symptom. And it is something that is not just the Management winds up the problem but the workers too. And there is nothing that isn’t normal human nature. Your lead your industry or niche. Life is good for the employees over a period of years. You get complacent. Competition comes. Eventually the writing is on the wall, and the smart ones leave. The rest cling to a past world belief of being invincible even though everyone knows what is happening. It is human nature. And interesting enough their industry/customers also had this belief too.
I don’t know either company but just your post said everything. You left them because the competitor had better technology and affordable pricing.
Which really comes down to something I bet would be a fun college study in social psychology. What if everyone leaves for the up and coming competitor. But each person believes the company they leave will keep the rest of their business just because of their reputation.
As to the closure and the loss of jobs I do wish good luck and hopefully it turns out to be a positive in the long run..the Taoist in me believes it for you.