ClickConnect 2014: Hot Topics, Current Trends, And Key Takeaways
Guest Author: Sarah Nicastro, Publisher and Editor In Chief, Field Technologies
Last week in sunny San Diego, hundreds of service professionals gathered to share their experiences with field service automation and to learn from their peers at ClickConnect. Organizations of all sizes were in attendance, and ClickSoftware provided some great speakers to provide industry thought leadership. For those of you that may have missed the event, here are some of the topics and takeaways that I felt stood out most.
The IoT’s Impact on Field Service – the Internet of Things is everywhere today, and ClickConnect was no exception. From attendees talking about how they’re using IoT within their organizations today as a means to collect real-time and even predictive data to enable proactive service to others simply seeking to learn more about the role IoT could play within their organization, it was a hot topic at the event. IoT is going to have a big impact on the field service industry, and the time to begin understanding how you’ll leverage the technology is now.
Wearables Put To Work – with the announcement of the new Apple Watch recently, the buzz around wearables is only increasing. There were a number of sessions at ClickConnect that explored how wearables can be used specifically in an enterprise setting – and the argument can be made that wearables will take off even faster in the enterprise than with consumers due to the impact they can have. While there aren’t many completed enterprise deployments to learn from just yet, there are a lot of pilots and projects in the works that will soon show just how you can put wearables to work. If your employees could benefit from communicating hands-free and have a need for real-time data, wearables could bring added efficiencies and value to your organization.
What Role Will 3D Printing Play In Field Service? – Inventory shortages in the field can cause major pains for organizations. You get a tech to a job on time, but he doesn’t have the part he needs to complete the work – costly return trips and irritated customers ensue. What if your worker could simply print the part they need in the field using a 3D printer? At ClickConnect, there was a 3D printer set up showing just how this could work. The relevance of this trend obviously depends on how parts-reliant your service operation is, and the cost/benefit trade-off, but it’s an interesting concept.
Customer Is King – this sounds like common sense, right? To a degree it is, but optimizing the customer experience isn’t as simple as it sounds. First, you have to understand exactly what it is your customer wants, and then determine where you’re meeting expectations and where you’re falling short. Assumptions here won’t cut it – you need real input and insight from the source. Only from there can you develop a clear strategy for improving your customer experience. Numerous presentations at ClickConnect emphasized how crucial it is that you focus on CEM (customer experience management), and it bears repeating: no matter how efficient you are, how automated your processes are, what technology and resource investments you’ve made; if you’re not delivering what matters most to your customers, you’re failing. You must understand what it is they want, and leverage all of your people, process, and technology resources to deliver just that. And keep in mind, your customers’ expectations will change – so this is something that needs to be a constant focus.
Predictive Analytics Are Changing The Game – the bad news about technology? It changes so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with what the latest capabilities are. The good news? It is evolving in ways that are incredible and can really help your organization. Predictive analytics are a great example of this. It’s one thing for a software solution to be able to operate intelligently based on information you’ve built into it and criteria you provide; it’s a quite another to have software tools that can predict patterns, behaviors, and needs on its own. And that’s the direction the industry is headed in – so expect tools that far exceed the basic “getting the right tech to the right job on time” functionality.