Cloud Based Technologies

Recently I read an excellent article on the IoT regarding cloud based technologies and the impact that they are going to be having on all of us.

The cloud is impacting all of us gradually and some of us rather strongly and quickly. The technological capability enabling this shift—often referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT), which is essentially an advanced version of the sensor and gateway combination used for years now in other Industries is changing the OEM business model from one of item-by-item sales transactions to an outcome-based service model.

Amit Jain, senior director of product management at ServiceMax, says it this way. “As the old saying goes, what you want is a hole, not a drill. We’re seeing OEMs move into what we call outcomes-based service models where they sell a service-level agreement tied to the desired outcome the equipment generates. So, instead of light bulbs, a company sells guaranteed lumens as a service. Instead of a jet engine, an airline buys guaranteed flight time. We’ve even seen some printer companies selling guaranteed page output versus ink and the device. Customers don’t care about the [OEM] product; they want the outcome those products provide.”

As most of you realize the traditional reactive service model employed by dealers has not taken maintenance seriously. Neither has the Industry been quick to adapt to standard charges and standard repair times. The customer in many cases views the dealer shop as a “black hole.” A machine goes in to the shop for repairs and we are not given accurate completion dates nor accurate quotations. As a result it appears to the customer that we would rather have them call the service department and a few days later a technician shows up to fix it. Because of this, field service has become the main source of service for owners of construction machinery.

For over a decade now we have had global positioning systems in place and that moved to having electronic control units on the machine. Now, like the Automotive Industry we have fault codes reported on the equipment. Going back to Jain: “the capabilities provided by cloud-based mobile technologies enable remote equipment monitoring, automated service requests, technician dispatching and work order closing, which are creating new revenue streams for OEMs by adding value to post-sale warranties.”

He goes further “The indirect effect of proactive service like this is that OEMs get happier customers, which of course has bottom-line impacts across the board.”

Dealers ignore these advanced technologies at their peril. This is not going to be a passing fad. This will become more and more embedded into our equipment and we will be able to do much more accurate remote diagnostics in the very near future.

Every Dealer Business System provider is going to have to adapt their systems to this New Reality.

Every major company in the capital goods supply chain is going to have to change as well.

This is but one more piece of evidence that “the world around us is changing at a rate greater than we are.” The individual who made that quote famous was Jack Welsh. He went further and said that when that happens “the end is near.”

It is time to pick up the pace of change in our businesses and our lives.

The time is now.