ClickConnect North America was held in Nashville this year, and I had the opportunity to attend and learn from the 95+ customer organizations assembled there which included Xerox, Pepsi, Carestream, SaskTel, Siemens Energy and more. Dr. Moshe BenBassat, ClickSoftware’s Founder and CEO, kicked off the event with his vision for the organization and the ClickSoftware (Click) community and highlighted that Click’s tools were now being used to manage over 500,000 resources worldwide. I thought that it was extremely interesting that he stated “We are the service optimization company, not a technology company”, highlighting Click’s increasing focus on providing more than just a set of mobility and scheduling applications to customers and prospects, but inherently in providing them the tools and services to be successful. Some takeaways from the event:
Prevailing Theme: Connecting. Yes, I get that the event is called ClickConnect, but I experienced a greater impetus from ClickSoftware and its customers on increasing the connectivity across the service ecosystem. In the traditional Click solution sense this would tie in to the link between schedulable resources and desired business outcomes, or the link between the back end dispatch team with the field workers. However, this year there was an increasing focus on enabling technician-to-technician connectivity via social or collaborative tools, as well as, developing a greater level of integration between OEMs and third parties (evidenced by SaskTel and Ledcor). More so, connecting technicians with better and more contextual information was a key point of discussion and discovery.
Best Practices of Note. There were a number of sessions tied to change management around new technology adoption. Some of the interesting ideas shared:
- Consider a positivity coach to engage employees during a time of change – it helped the team at AutoGlass
- Phased rollouts are a must for larger deployments. These not only enable quicker adjustments and fixes but also reduce the time to value for subsequent phases of the rollout
- Put in an application support team post-deployment. While most discussions focus on the management of change pre-deployment, post-deployment support resources can greatly assist the adoption of new processes and applications
Technology to Keep an Eye On: ClickButler. While ClickButler was mentioned at last year’s event and has yet to see widespread adoption, I believe that the form of contextual guidance delivered via the Butler can be extremely valuable in the field. The hoopla around Virtual Assistant tools such as Google Now and Grokr has dimmed somewhat, but it’s only a matter of time before we see these tools pop back into the limelight to support the improved management of time. As in the consumer space, the path of mobility will take on a contextual feel albeit with a certain lag. Mobile application maturity within field service organizations will lead to this. Stage one of the maturity map involves the replacement of paper processes with mobile devices. While this enables less administrative time for the field agents and reduced errors, the real value seen is tied to back-office metrics around number of tasks completed and improved time to cash. For the technician per se, it’s nice to be less reliant on paperwork, but time spent on paper is quite often replaced with time spent on a mobile device. The next stage in mobile maturity is tied to the provision of better information at the point of service in order to aid better resolution and customer management. TSC’s research shows that 63% and 51% of organizations are looking to enable better access of resolution and customer history information respectively to their field agents via mobile devices. Once again, review of this information can enable technicians to resolve issues more effectively and potentially solve broader customer issues, but this information has to be sought out in current applications and therefore the technician needs to know where and how to find it. The next stage of maturity should involve contextual guidance wherein based on the location of the technician and his/her status, the mobile application can push necessary information to ease travel times, enable better resolution, and support improved customer management.
The Butler, or a similar contextual tool, can also be leveraged to support back-end scheduling and planning strategies.
Other Updates of Note: There were two updates from ClickSoftware that didn’t receive much attention but are worth noting:
- Click’s expanding partnerships with the likes of Salesforce and NetSuite can be extremely powerful in increasing their reach to organizations outside of the utilities and telecommunication spaces.
- Click2Click integrations between OEMs and third parties on the Click platform make the solution more applicable to broader utility networks or those industries that are heavily reliant on a broader dealer or partner network.
Quote of the Event: “Service optimization is about doing the right things, and then doing them right.”
Nashville Note: Goo Goo Clusters are very good candy bars and made in Nashville. I preferred the Original to the Supreme (pecans instead of peanuts). Another interesting treat is that the Goo in Goo Goo doesn’t stand for Grand Ole Opry.
I’d be interested to get the thoughts and comments from other teams at the event? Its an exciting time in field service automation not only due to the innovation shown by technology vendors, but more so, the interesting use of mobile apps and tools by field service organizations.