A New Digital Mindset Needed for Equipment Companies

April 20, 2022

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Industry change in the last couple of years is causing a shift in priorities for equipment rental, sales and service businesses. Mobile field service management, asset management, predictive maintenance, touchless and self-driven customer scheduling, paperless workflow management and AI/ML technologies are driving new requirements for data delivery and cross-silo integration. In order to increase productivity, drive new revenue growth and improve customer service, these solutions now require a new Digital Transformation mindset. 

To deliver best practices and results, there are a few important baseline considerations for operational digital transformation.

Increase Technology-Fueled Experiences and Modernization

Technology has been a great enabler for organizations and individuals. Many analysts and growing operations organizations foresee accelerated technology adoption continuing into the near future. Forrester analyst firm stated in a recent report that on the tech front, every company will double down on technology-fueled experiences, operations, product, and ecosystems.

IDC predicted that 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies, transforming existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.

Technology is also seen as a key factor in the global recovery, via accelerated adoption that supports business growth beyond the pandemic.

What this means for Field Service and Asset Management

“Users of mobilized field service management (FSM) solutions are demonstrating an increasing level of interest in cutting-edge technologies as they can offer a differential advantage in highly competitive sectors,” states Janine Sterling, Frost & Sullivan analyst in their recent report, North American Mobile Field Service Management Market Continues to Offer Expansion Opportunities: Forecast to 2025.

Sterling explained, “For example, the escalating deployment of machine learning and artificial intelligence in the FSM space alongside the integration of mobile FSM solutions with Internet of Things (IoT) platforms enable a more proactive and highly valued approach to both machine maintenance and technician workflows.”

As reinforcement, Devin Partida stated in her article on 6 Emerging Technologies in 2021, “While Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a new innovation, it is one that still has to reach its full potential. Applications for AI are increasing in variety and capability. These integrations are only going to grow from here, in every aspect of life.”

At KloudGin, we hear more and more from equipment dealers that they are looking for AI-based solutions in their field service and asset management operations that can offer the ability to manage all work whether it be short term or long term.

These organizations want to move  to a predictive and proactive approach, which will optimize the service experience, deliver a truly customer-centric model, and increase profitability through improved productivity. They demand applications that can predict future needs and improve decision making with real-time visibility into financial and operational metrics. Powered by AI and analytical information, it is possible to be in a constant-learning state with real-time data from daily operations and user interactions.

Leverage 5G Connectivity in Operational Field Service and Asset Management

The arrival of 5G has paved the way to a new level of FSM apps and capabilities. 5G delivers a more reliable experience with faster speed than ever before and means more can be achieved. Data can be downloaded much faster and resources and applications which previously may have not been easy to access remotely, can be downloaded instantly. Field and office-based teams can share information in real time, and with speeds 100 times faster than 4G, 5G will bring connectivity to people in innovative ways.

5G speeds will mean that video calls, conferencing and streaming can be lag-free, and the remote use of augmented and virtual reality will be achievable. These applications have the opportunity to transform field service and asset management operations in critical ways. For example, mixed reality applications can identify an asset, then retrieve manuals, specifications, and video instructions to perform a repair, service, or installation in real time. The application can also overlay the content on the physical asset to check accuracy. First time fixes are achieved without the need for follow-up visits or additional input.

The increased speed means that transfer of vast amounts of data becomes possible too. This allows IoT and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies in FSM and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) to become more viable – even large amounts of data capture can be quickly processed in real time. For equipment, sales and service technicians, this means they can resolve issues more quickly, ultimately delivering a better, more productive service to customers, even in remote locations or at peak times in busy places.

Cross-Silo Data Integration is Key to Digital Transformation

With faster connectivity and emerging technologies coming into their own, cross-silo data integration will be critical. It’s pointless having AI-based applications delivering business intelligence through the fastest networks to date, if only half of the available data is accessible due to siloed technologies. 

Any new solutions must work alongside existing software. In the Advanced Trends Report research, survey respondents stated that the ability to integrate solutions is most important when developing and adopting innovative technologies. It was felt that as many organizations are still deeply entrenched in legacy systems, limiting the options for digital transformation.

One of the biggest challenges facing rental, sales and service organizations is unifying siloed solutions so that the end-to-end workflow and single view of the customer can be successful. In an ideal world, organizations are looking for something easy to deploy, integrate, maintain, and use. They are looking for the best possible solution for their workers in the field, as they realize that their work output is typically the first-line interface with their customers.

To make it as straightforward as possible for the technician, one easy-to-use and easy-to-access solution is highly desirable. Ideally, field teams should have access to  one cross-silo solution that combines field service, asset and inventory management, customer portals, scheduling, mobile field execution and IoT integrations.

Plan for Ongoing Transformation and Mobile Field Service 

Businesses have achieved benefits in an unprecedented way from cloud-based solutions over the past few years. Equipment Rental and Sales Business leaders are now positioned to take those  cloud-based technology advancements and  apply them to their business strategy to drive this transformation further.

In addition, as more and more new people enter the Field Service and Asset Management workforce, the requirement for simple, easy-to-use, any device, anywhere data delivery will be mandatory. End-to-end Servitization and Predictive Maintenance will help manufacturers and industrial equipment sales and leasing operations refine the way they do business and maximize the uptime – and safety – of the products they offer.

In closing, the Digital Transformation process requires imagining, planning and mobile field service and asset management integration. These are easily implemented with a proven, cloud-based solution that enables automation of operations including scheduling, billing acceleration, preventive maintenance and keeping technicians informed at all times.

For advice on your cross-silo integration planning and how to accelerate your digital transformation, contact us today.

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About the Author

Vikram Takru

Vikram Takru is CEO of KloudGin, Inc. He co-founded KloudGin with the vision of creating transformative field service and asset management technology that eliminates silos, connects people, process and technology, and creates access to information where and when it is needed. He is committed to delivering solutions that work for field crews in the toughest conditions.

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