In his leader for this issue, Kris Oldland discusses the challenge in finding a metaphor powerful enough to reflect the potential transformation that is happening in field service organisations across the globe...
The title came to me easily enough and it is in evidence all throughout this issue. Advanced Services is a field/movement that is advancing at rapid pace.
But how best to convey this in the artwork?
In my mind the shift towards Advanced Services is growing in momentum and as it begins to hit the tipping point it will become an unstoppable force, driving into every corner of business, across every part of the global economy.
Well as ServiceMax CEO Dave Yarnold comments in our exclusive interview on page 24 “Of course outcome based services makes a ton of sense to customers. It’s far more balanced, it’s what customers want.”
Ultimately, this is why Advanced Services will flourish. Because it brings balance to relationships between service providers and their customers, and in doing so brings benefits to both. I remember someone telling me once that a good negotiation is where both parties feel like they have lost something. Where both have had to make some concession to the other.
Advanced Services is perhaps the first business model I’ve come across where that actually doesn’t hold up.
So one of my first thoughts around the artwork was something like a tidal wave or tsunami. A great unstoppable force of nature that would sweep everything before it, leaving space in it’s wake for rebirth - rebuilding and replacement of the old ways with something new.
However, I felt that this imagery was to destructive, to uncontrollable, to urgent. One thing about the Advanced Services movement is it has been patient. Patiently waiting for cultures and technologies to catch up since at least the mid 60s when Rolls Royce were forced by American Airlines to come up with a new business model because the old one wasn’t working.
Now that the time is finally right for Advanced Services to take hold it will be much more of a steady march ever onwards than a flash in the pan incident.
Which lead me to the imagery that I settled on, although I still had considerations around whether the image of an army walking across a battlefield was right to convey something that as I mentioned previously, is a movement that brings balance to the force provider/consumer relationship?
After consideration I realised that of course an advancing army isn’t always one of invasion and oppression but alternatively can be one of liberation and freedom.
OK maybe I’m taking the metaphor too far here, but essentially the companies that have pioneered the SaaS model in the software industry such as Salesforce absolutely broke the chains of monopoly that were restricting all but the biggest players.
Whilst the likes of IBM, Microsoft and Oracle mocked the Cloud, innovative start-ups were getting a head-start, reinventing the game so both they and the customer had more control and freedom than ever before- which ultimately pushed the need for innovation across the whole industry, leading to mass disruption.
You can bet that large manufacturers and others have watched this development across the last decade and a half keenly and are looking to see how they can be sure they are on the Advanced Services train, so they don’t get left behind playing catch up, like the big players in Software had to.
Of course, that’s the other flip-side of the cover image I opted for. Ultimately it does invoke thoughts of a battle or war and in such conflicts there are always winners and losers.
I can’t help but feel that right now we are at a pivotal time in the history of enterprise.
I see us at a fork in the road where those companies who take the right path now, those that embrace technologies like IoT and business concepts like Advanced Services will truly flourish across the next decade.
And as for those companies that don’t... I have just one word of advice.