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Are Field Service Innovation Managers really ready to embrace digital transformation?

As Livemote works with augmented reality, we set up alerts for related news and see new applications of the technology come across our desks every day. A headline caught my eye a few weeks back and I can’t stop thinking of it.

The 5 Most Innovative Augmented Reality Products of 2018

  • The first three products are glasses.
  • The next one looks like something out of a sci-fi movie where you become an avatar and can manipulate a digital environment around you.
  • Finally, bringing the power of AR to the Cloud is highlighted.

I finished reading and thought a huge opportunity was missed. While these are very cool and interesting for consumers, not much is said for industrial applications (which are often overlooked). A search for AR brings similar results. Why?

AR for industrial applications has only scratched the surface of what can be done. Instead of talking to gamers and consumers, we believe the future of AR is in field service. Having spent a large portion of our careers on the industrial side, we know that to fully embrace innovation we have to get to the core of what the word means: and that equals embracing change.

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Digital Transformation: from analog to digital

Digital transformation isn’t just a phrase that marketing came up with to sell more widgets. It is a real and impactful way to shift a company and its processes to keep up with – or stay ahead of – industry developments.

There are lots of definitions of digital transformation, but at the core it comes down to one principle: moving from analog to digital. However, that doesn’t accurately capture the seismic shift that needs to happen for the transformation to occur. According to salesforce.com, digital transformation “is the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements. This reimagining of business in the digital age is digital transformation.”

Reimagining business.

Yes. This isn’t just moving from postal mail to email, or from landlines to mobile phones, or even adding sensors to machines. This is a mindset, and the actions that follow must fully align with the mindset. It’s as if you lived you whole life in Antarctica and made a conscious decision to move to the equator. The “old way” of doing things no longer applies.

Innovation managers have a really tough job. Change – welcomed or forced – is difficult. So what is needed to ensure success?

It all starts with a vision. In our opinion, the keys to innovation without risk are minimal investment, clear ROI, and the ability to scale without limitations. This enables you to improve your service processes, drive industry innovation and create new revenue streams. Give yourself permission to explore ways to have a competitive advantage. Plus, remember that internal audiences are as important, if not more so, that external. After all, if you bring new things into your organization yet no one uses them, why bother?

Which brings me back to AR. In our market space – primarily people in field service and facilities management – we are clearly seeing the benefits of implementing AR. In order to embrace change, people need to see relevance and value. Cutting service call time, reducing errors or delays, and tracking all the data and activities all enable smarter and more secure ways to share company knowledge. Positive side effects for your team could be virtually eliminating “fire drill” emergencies and making it home for dinner. Service management embraces cutting costs and optimizing service calls. Sales loves the new revenue opportunities through value-added proactive maintenance and customer loyalty. Across the board, this change is being embraced.

Exploring further, you gain a competitive advantage by putting the power into the hands of every team member, unlocking the value trapped in your organization, and enabling new business and revenue models.

As innovation managers you know that your organization is only as good as the people and tools you have supporting your customers. Ask yourself: Is your team properly equipped? Can I show ROI? Will the team adopt and use it? Can I introduce the latest advanced tools and eliminate risk? We understand that deploying the latest technology can be expensive and a risk. At Livemote, we are committed to bringing about digital transformation with innovative tools to transforms field technicians from just a “fixer” to “trusted advisor” allowing them to complete interventions quickly and efficiently and help remove risk for our customers.

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Francesco Marcantoni
Francesco Marcantoni
Francesco Marcantoni is Livemote CEO and co-founder

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