This issue is focussed around what connections can mean in field service as Kris Oldland explains in his Editor's leader...
Connections are everything...
I firmly believe the above statement. Connections are everything.
But what are connections? It’s such a broad term isn’t it? I mean connections of some form or another are all around us each and every second of our lives. From the tiny electric sparks connecting the neurons in our body through to the gigantic gravitational pull that connects the planets of our Solar System together all revolving around the sun.
And then everything in between.
OK so perhaps a little bit melodramatic, a definitely a touch off piste but the thing is that when I was pulling this issue together all could think about were connections, and how important it is for the field service industries to make sure they get there connections working, and also keep there connections happy.
Of course perhaps the most important connection of all is the connection between your company and your customers. I’ve said it once and I’m sure I’ll say it a few more times in my lifetime - the customer is the heartbeat of every organisation. Look after you customers, ensure that connection is a good one and you can be fairly comfortable that your business is on a decent path. A sentiment echoed in two of our expert view features this month as Bill Pollock explores the difference between customers’ wants and needs, whilst Paul White extols the virtues of putting the customers back in control.
Of course the other heartbeat of field service (OK for the sake of the metaphor lets just assume field service like Doctor Who has two hearts) is of course the mobile workforce. Again there are vital connections that need to be maintained across our the relationship between field worker and company.
The Internet of Things, remote diagnostics and machine to machine communication are all trends that have moved from interesting concepts that could shape the future of field service to ground-breaking developments that are being adopted and implemented today.
Of course, as I alluded to in my grandiose opening of neurons and planets, not all connections involve people. In fact some of the most important connections that are at the forefront of our minds right now are digital connections. The Internet of Things, remote diagnostics and machine to machine communication are all trends that have moved from interesting concepts that could shape the future of field service to ground-breaking developments that are being adopted and implemented today. The market for IoT may appear slow and appetite is not quite as advanced as it should be, something ServiceMax CIO Scott Berg agrees with and refers to in our interview in this issue, but it is there and some companies are already embracing it fully.
One of those companies happens to be Elekta, who as well as being thoroughly set for remote diagnostics and the Internet of Things have also successfully implemented an excellent means of sharing the knowledge stored amongst their engineers across their entire global network. Yet another example of connections being of the utmost value. This knowledge sharing program not only has the benefit of improving engineers efficiency, it is also a powerful tool for the Service Desk who are able to in turn improve the leves of service they are giving to Elekta’s customers.
Whilst Elekta’s focus has been on knowledge sharing across their network, Pitney Bowes focus has been on connecting their disparate working processes across Europe. An equally daunting task and one where yet again the objective is to attain maximum connectivity between divisions, locations, and countries. Such a task is always going to be a significant challenge, but when some of your countries are operating on manual processes and others are using a whole plethora of different systems that cannot connect ot each other, it really requires a methodical approach, and a team with the vision to see the whole operation holistically.
The response we had from you our readers on building this list was fantastic, so thanks to each and everyone of you who made nominations
And in these two features we find yet even more connections, and deep lying ones too...
For both of these examples were presented at recent Service Community events and whilst that connects the two in one way, it also leads us to The Service Community which is a perfect example of the power of connections. After the sad loss of founder Steve Downton, The Service Community’s future was far from certain, but the mantle has been picked up by fellow members of the community (expertly marshaled by Chris Farnarth) and through the exchange of ideas from one set of connections to another the community continues and it continues to be something very special. A community run by service executives for the service industry. You’ll find no sales pitches and advertisements at a Service Community event, just excellent presentations and the opportunity to widen your network of connections amongst your peers.
And the Service Community connects me neatly to the final part of this leader, where I wish to focus on this months special report, The #FSN20 - The twenty most influential people in field service.
For there are a few of the prominent members of The Service Community sat amongst this elite band of 20. The response we had from you our readers on building this list was fantastic, so thanks to each and everyone of you who made nominations. Of course we had to whittle the list down and we have tried to take a fair minded approach that was reflective of the many different corners of the field service industries. The good thing is even if you don’t agree with our final twenty it means you are thinking about who should be in there.
Which means we have acheived our objective - to get people thinking about all the good things going on in our industry today. We’ve also included twitter handles for each of the #fsn20 so you can follow them and further your connections yet another way!