In the first post of this blog we talk about the key question that originated our business venture: why do you need a software for servitization?
Before answering this question let’s make premise: what do we mean by servitization? It is important to clarify this term because it can be interpreted in many ways, each of which can generate different projections and expectations.
By servitization we mean the transformation of a business to compete through a combination of services and products, rather than products alone (see the definition given by Prof Tim Baines, from Advanced Services Group, in this article). Services can have different levels:
- basic services, that complete the product offer
- intermediate services, that support the operations of the product
- advanced services, that offer the customer “outcomes” instead of products and that, by matter of fact, transform a product into a service.
When a manufacturing company wants to undertake this transformation it certainly needs software too. The role of digital technologies in the servitization journey is indeed fundamental. Precisely the increasing accessibility of new digital technologies (such as IoT) has favored the large-scale dissemination of servitization initiatives.
What should a software for servitization do?
So what should a software do for you, if you want to offer basic, intermediate or advanced services to your customers?
Let’s try to list the main points:
- collect, normalize and organize real-time data from your connected products
- transforming real-time data into useful information for all the people who operate on your product: helping the user to use it more efficiently, helping the maintenance technician to optimize the assistance activities, helping the suppliers of consumables to better plan shipments, etc.
- allow users and maintenance technicians to perform remote programming or parameterization of the product, respecting all the safety criteria
- automate the order of consumables and integrating with suppliers’ information systems (or the company itself if it supplies consumables directly)
- manage the post-production life cycle of the product (we prefer to talk about post-production and not after-sales or post-sales, because in a servitization perspective the sale is continuous)
- efficiently manage all field service activities performed by internal staff
- offer external service centers access to information to optimize their support activities
- optimize and monitor general service costs and calculate the overall margin of the service, globally
- calculate and send to the ERP system the data needed for the invoicing of the advanced service (pay per use, pay per outcome, etc.)
- offer customers clear information on the services purchased, the parameters guaranteed, the current and historical operational status of the product and its performance levels (its “outcomes”), the logic behind the price of the service, etc.
- compile statistics useful to your company for a continuous improvement of the product-service system: index of product defects by type or geographical area, analysis of the actual use of products by customers, analysis of the activities carried out by the service centers and their result, service profitability by level, by type of customer, by geographical area, etc.
This list could get longer, but we stop here.
Which software for servitization is currently available?
The question at this point is: what software is currently available to do all this?
Some of the above needs can be effectively covered by FSM (Field Service Management) softwares, well represented by a Gartner Magic Quadrant, such as ServiceMax, ClickSoftware, IFS, Coresystems, OverIT, etc.
Then there are IoT platforms, which allow the collection and management of data coming from connected products. There are now hundreds of them, and given the extreme dynamism of the market, even analysis companies like Gartner struggle to categorize them in a crystallized way. IoT platforms alone, however, can not satisfy any of the points listed above. They are a starting point, but then companies must face a substantial work of analysis and development of custom applications and integrations between systems.
Our software for servitization
And here we come.
We finally answer the initial question: why do you need an iot software for servitization? To start immediately with a ready-made, stable, scalable and tested software, as an alternative to the development of custom applications, which responds to your servitization needs and which easily integrates with your information systems: CRM, FSM, ERP, etc. and the most popular IoT platforms.
Is this possible? You can ask it directly to our customers or you can request a demo to see by yourself. Our answer is: yes, for sure!
And how could we call this kind of software?
- TRM (Things Relationship Management)?
- CRM of things?
- Service ERP?
- EAM (Enterprise Asset Management) for OEMs?
- Manufacturing Customer Engagement Portal?
We will discuss this topic in a future post, for now let’s stop here and let the analysts do the job 😉