Think Tank Debriefs: The True Value of Digitalisation

Aug 17, 2020 • FeaturesDigital TransformationThink Tank

In this excerpt of the first Field Service News Think Tank Debrief Sessions we hear from Daniel Brabec VP Global Customer Transformation, ServiceMax as he discusses the deeper layers of value that can be found through digitalisation...

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The multiple touch points of a digital transformation project: 

One area that really came to the fore in this series of Think Tanks was that while at conferences and in the pages of trade journals such as Field Service News we often tend to primarily focus on the efficiencies and the improvements to the bottom line that digitalization can bring, or occasionally we may focus on the other end of the spectrum when we start looking at the various different potential revenue streams enabled by the use of tools such as remote assistance for example.

However, there are so many other areas of the business that digitalisation in the field service operation that connect disparate parts of the business to the field service operation such as marketing, R&D or sales.

As Jason Smith, Director of Field Service, EMEA, 3D Systems Corporation commented: 

"One thing that the embracing of digital and the flow of data that comes with that allows for is the coming together of all of these varous touch points that allows a business to operate as a much more effective whole.

“Everything has to be about data, so we need the best data coming off the machine through the customer to get the right diagnostic in place. Industry 4.0 and connectivity is really helping with that.

“However, we still have a culture amongst engineers where they need to recognise that they are also responsible for the solution. What they have found and how they build up their experience is empirical - they’ve been able to build on that knowledge and telling others, that knowledge capture is key to the whole thing. It’s not just what is wrong with the machine its what did you do to fix it and how can we put that back into a closed-loop cycle so we are constantly improving and evolving the solution.

“We’ve touched on some of the tools to do that and Artificial Intelligence is of course one such tool but making sure that you have that closed-loop in place and its not just one-way traffic is the key to that culture change and so making sure engineers are part of it and recognise it I think is going to be key to improvement.”


And Jan van Veen, Manging Director, MoreMomentum also commented: 

"Data is absolutely important; there is no doubt about that. But the value is not in the data; neither is it essentially in the insight.

"What we are seeing is a number of different mechanisms kicking in that are all related to digitalisation. There are several of these. There is the disruptive element in how we are working, but also in the markets we serve at large.

“Some companies will follow the curve, others will be entrants into the market that drive us as a sector to work in a better way, and others will be unable to keep up and will fall away.

“Also, at some point we begin to see a type of de-materialisation. So we get less products being involved as some are taken out of the equation. For example, we don’t have generally have a need for a camera or a calculator anymore as our phones can handle both those functions.

“Another phase we will see is demonetisation, where digital products become so prevalent that they become much cheaper and then finally alongside this we also see democratisation where digital services become available for everybody at an affordable price point.

“We are in the early phase today as we talk about data coming from equipment and what we can do with that. But I think the real challenge is how are we going to turn it into value. Not insight, but services and value propositions using the data.

It certainly seems evident that companies find more than one benefit when implementing some aspect of a digital transformation. However, do companies tend to go into these projects with one vision of what they they're trying to achieve and then actually discover new potential improvement opportunities on along the way or do they have already have a comprehensive understanding of the many facets of their digitalisation roadmap?

"It's a really interesting question," mused Daniel Brabec, VP Global Customer Transformation, ServiceMax during the debrief session. 

"If you think about where the actual change comes from, where the internal drive comes from, a lot of times, it'll be on some initiative that's been directed down via the executive team that doesn't necessarily have a touch with service. For example, the CFO might come back and say service is costing us too much money, we need to reduce x and y. And we need to make sure that we're cutting all of our costs here and there and to do that, we need to get our first time fixed rate up to X percent because it's currently at 53%."


"There's a lot of really quick wins for organizations to change and do things that are not hard for them in that digital transformation..."

- Daniel Brabec, ServiceMax


'What what we find when I work with a lot of these companies is because they're they're so archaic in nature, they don't have any digital tools, they may still be on on a whiteboard or pen and paper out in the field that they know they need to move the needle in one area. But as we start to discover they have a lot of opportunities in other areas that can make a huge impact on their business as well that they haven't even considered," Brabec continues.

"I think pulling all these different departments together to actually discuss some of the potential solutions is key to understanding you know, how they can collaborate and how they can actually enact some of those changes that we're starting to prescribe for them."

"In fact, one of the things that we do is to help our customers is called a maturity assessment," Brabec explains. 

"We'll work with various individuals in the organisation and get their take on where the service team is across various dimensions to to kind of understand as an organization, are they high or low and where can they really move the needle.

"There's a lot of really quick wins for organizations to change and do things that are not hard for them in that digital transformation. That can really move the needle for them as an organization and free up more opportunity to make more of those changes into the future."


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