IoT, Connectivity and the Industrial Internet are the buzz at Field Service Europe 2014

by NIck Frank on November 3, 2014

RemoteServices_600xI attended the Field Service Europe Conference at Amsterdam last week. An interesting line up of speakers, most of whom were very informative.

The topics definitely catching people’s imagination were the Internet of Things, Connectivity and the Industrial Internet. I cannot say that I am surprised as the technology of Internet Connectivity has fast become part of our everyday lives and simply everyone is talking about it. Now I will try to refrain from the new jargon being incorporated into our lives and try to stick to basics, as this for me will be the key to success.

But behind the hype, I feel there is a massive shortfall in understanding of how the technology can be incorporated into businesses to add value. My own feeling is that the real challenge is not so much the technology, but actually lies within company’s culture and processes.

In a very active round table discussion I attended (TNT Round Table discussion), we saw that most companies are still in the early days of adopting these technologies. Healthcare equipment businesses such as GE and Philipp’s, have adopted the technology to reduce service operating costs, developing pretty impressive propositions and supporting processes.  But even these perceived leaders have yet to really leverage the new data being created for new innovative services.  The more I hear these highly professional organisations talk, the more I realise how far Rolls Royce are ahead of the pack in terms of their service thinking approach and in particular how they perceive customer data.  (see my interview with Dave Gordon from Roll Royce’s defence business)

But for me, John Cullen, a senior VP from Metso cut through the hype and summarised how companies can start to leverage these new approaches. He said yes, companies have to first position themselves to collect the data through their back-office and equipment infrastructure. Yes they have to find way of analysing the data and handling the very large volumes they can now generate. But the real challenge is getting that information to the person who can make a change as to how the business is run. Be that locally at the customer touch-point  or in the head-office at a strategic level.

In fact it really comes back to mastering good old fashioned change management and the impact of people. If you want to be successful in what is fast becoming the new age of data, maybe this will be the hardest obstacle to overcome. To be part of the discussion, you might be interested in Noventum’s Service Innovation Programme starting in November, which will be exploring how to achieve World Class Remote Services

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