Posted by Sameer Mahajan, Senior Associate Consultant, Oracle Practice, Manufacturing Unit, Infosys
There are two things which ensured that everyone in the next generation is a gamer: Increasing penetration of mobile Internet & smart phones. Many Companies having already envision this future made a move towards the gamification to hook up this next generation. Even though many companies took up the gamification recently; gaming has always been such an intrinsic part of many areas of our lives that sometimes we wonder what took it so long to arrive as an engagement & motivation tool. Wikipedia defines gamification as 'game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems' so let us go down the memory lane to ponder when we were first exposed to gamification:
A few years ago when I bought my television, I thought that I was buying it for viewing entertainment. Picture quality and sound system were of paramount importance to me and if these two parameters were fulfilled, I was sure that I was making the right purchase decision. Same is true for my other purchasing decisions when I either purchased a washing machine, mobile phone, watches, AC, refrigerator or any other electrical/electronic gadgets. I was always more concerned about the basic functionality that these machines provided while making my purchasing decision. No doubt that other value added functions of these machines always added to my delight.
While purchasing these machines I always thought that these are independent items and decision of purchasing the one is an isolated event. But after learning about "Internet of things (IoT)", I have begun to realize that this approach needs to be given a second thought going forward. With the "IoT" technology evolving at ever-increasing speed, homes are becoming "connected homes", vehicles are becoming "connected vehicles", TVs are becoming "Smart TVs", mobiles are becoming "Smart mobiles" and customers are becoming "Smart Customers". Every "Thing" is getting appended with word "Connected" or "Smart". These two words: "Connected" and "Smart" are changing the basic definition of everything around us.
If your TV is just providing you a traditional viewing of few channels, it is considered obsolete now. Here word "Smart" is a reflection of the value added services that your TV can provide other than showing your favorite shows like surfing the websites, shopping online, doing banking transactions, bill payment, watching YouTube video and posting updates on social networking sites. Going forward, you will have the ability to buy the dress that your favorite actor is showing off on the screen by pausing the TV and placing the order just by clicking on the dress which will take you to the site of the vendor providing that dress. Recently I read a good news in this direction where Twitter and Facebook are testing "Buy" button functionality for the advertisement they present to the user of their website. This means that user of these social networking sites will be able to buy a product being advertised from their web sites with the tap of their fingers in just few clicks using their smart mobiles.
With Internet of Things at helm, your connected home will keep informing you on your mobile device or may be on your car dashboard about the kind of activities that your children are involved at home. Your connected home will talk to you when you are at a remote location and will let you know if entry of an unknown person is to be allowed in the house when your children are alone. Your watch will let you tune the on and off timing of your TV.
Days will be gone when you were going on a highway and your vehicle had a breakdown. Your "Connected Vehicle" will ensure that it takes cognizance of any fault before it occurs and lets you know that you need to fix it before you go for a ride. Your vehicle will be smart enough to let you know the optimal speed that you should drive on an incoming twisted road. With the help of "IoT" your car will be connected with your home and other appliances. Once your car enters the building wall of your home, your AC or heater will be on to ensure that you get a comfortable and cozy atmosphere once you put your first step in the house.
All above examples that I am highlighting, points to one thing that with the convergence of sensing devices and telematics technologies (which are basic backbone of "IoT"), as the cost of sensing devices becomes more affordable for the masses, customers will prefer to buy such products which not only provide them basic functions that they are meant to but also provide them valuable advice throughout the product life cycle.
In a world which is driven by "IoT" where everything is going to be "Connected" and "Smart", the smart consumer will also like to take smart purchasing decisions. He will understand that purchasing of one machine is not an isolated event; it will have implications what he purchases next. The consumer will no longer see such machines as a cost but as an investment in "Machine to Machine (M2M)" technology and will build an ecosystem around him which will make his/her life a lot easier. For example, decision to buy a TV will not be driven solely based on the "entertainment" factor as this is the bare minimum feature expected from a TV. What will drive a customer to invest in a TV is how well it can become a part of the overall "M2M Ecosystem" that a consumer wants to build around him. If the next item in his list is to purchase a refrigerator, he will buy it only if it has capability to talk to other machines that he has in his "M2M Ecosystem".
Now retailers will have to position their products in such a fashion where their products can become a part of this M2M ecosystem so that a customer will see them as someone who is invaluable to them. Now, the smart consumers will think twice before purchasing a product to see if the product is a part of a "solution" that they are trying to build around them in order to make their lives simpler and better.
There were around 800 Apps in iPhone App Store in July 2008. The count was close to 1.2 Million Apps as on June 2014 (figures as per Apple Announcement*). That is a mind boggling 0.15 Million % increase in the growth of iPhone Apps, in just 6 years! The number of android apps as on June 2014 was around the same figure.
Posted by Javed Shaikh, Senior Consultant, Oracle Practice, Manufacturing Unit, Infosys
Some time or the other, we all have faced an issue with a product. Familiar reaction to such situation is that first we check the user manual, call the manufacturer's call center, and some enthusiast will jump to internet to search for a solution. The customer will find hundreds of pages thrown at him for the search he made. He might stumble upon the right page which might resolve his issue or he might not. In case of unsuccessful search, the customer will revert back to manufacturer for resolution.
Once issues start to crop up for a certain product line, the service\call centers are filled with complaints and the brand is affected with negative publicity. As a thumb rule, when products work as expected or satisfactorily, we do not see many positive reviews for the product, but a bad experience spreads like wildfire in the connected world. It's the manufacturer choice either to act reactively and resolve issues as and when raised or act proactively and let the customer know the issue and resolve the same.
Most of the times, there are minor issues which can be resolved with some change in settings or some workarounds. There are scenarios where manufacturer is aware of the issue and has resolution for the same. There are also cases where some end users find resolution or workaround to a common issues. One will find lot of independent forums where customer share their product experiences as well as resolutions to commonly occurring problems. The solution can exist anywhere on the World Wide Web other than the manufacturer's official website. Now as a manufacturer, it is of paramount importance to have these solutions collected for their products and pushed to customers when required on a real-time basis.
To achieve the same, the customer needs a web crawler to constantly monitor webpages which has any mention of its product and problems on the web. The manufacturer needs to identify and verify useful information regarding the product and update knowledge base. This information would form a library that it contains all possible errors the machine can face and all possible resolution to the same.
Going further in the interconnected world, when an error occurs on one of the customer's machines, the machines should be able to access this content using key words or machine inputs, follow the steps as per content to resolve the issue, which would be a case of Self-Service. This would mostly be applicable to software related issues or minor setting changes.
In case the machine decides as per prewritten algorithm in the content management tool that it is a simple issue, but needs human intervention, the machine should be able to communicate with the customer either through screen alert or voice alert. Once attended, the system should guide the user to perform tasks as per steps provided by the content management tool to resolve a problem, which would be a case of Assisted Self Service. This would be applicable to cases where a novice end user can follow simple instructions as presented by the machine and resolve the issues.
In third scenario, if as per the algorithm the issue is a bigger one and needs an expert for resolution, the machine directly communicated with the manufacturer's system and creates a service request. Service request resolution should follow a typical field service management life cycle. This would be applicable to scenario where an expert intervention is required and normal users would not be able to complete the required task.
For above to work, the content management would be of outmost important. The steps towards problem resolution would need to be appropriately aligned such that it should be able to nail down the exact problem area and resolution for the same. As discussed in the earlier blog, the intelligent machines should also need to provide correct inputs to the content management tool. The marriage between machines and the content should help the manufacturers to resolve a reasonable number of issues cost effectively, which should lead to high customer satisfaction and less load of service\call centers.
Posted by Javed Shaikh, Senior Consultant, Oracle Practice, Manufacturing Unit, Infosys
With the world changing so rapidly, it's no wonder that services would continue only in traditional way. This blog will make an attempt to visualize how service management would change and respond as a result of changes in the external environment. In this context, I shall talk about intelligent machines and its impact on service management.
In the changing world, we are already witnessing machines becoming more intelligent and less mechanical. With the constant falling prices of electronic components, we should be having increased number of machines connected with the world we live in. We already have a boom in internet connectivity across the globe and unimaginable internet speeds with the developed nations leading from the front. The convergence of machine intelligence and spread of internet connectivity would definitely open up more opportunities in the area of field service.
Intelligent machines would be able to capture their health and operating details pretty easily. With connectivity reaching all the corners of the globe and everything being made available on a global network, it should not be a difficult task to capture/send the machine operating/health details to the manufacturer's system in the near future. In today's world, most of these details are captured manually and most of the servicing events are reactive of nature than preventive/predictive. With the changes we are witnessing in today's connected world, the need for human intervention to capture details would be abolished and the machines would directly interact with the systems.
There can be innumerable scenarios across verticals which would get benefitted with direct conversion between machines and systems:
1. All machines which have malfunctioned and need repair.
2. Scenarios where there is need for replenishment for engine oil, refrigerants, coolants, ink cartridge, filters, etc.
3. Early warnings signs of an impending failure due to ageing or abuse of components
4. Regular maintenance at life milestones of the machine
Let's take an example of a simple water purifier filter change event: For a water purifier, when the filter in the purifier has passed its life and there is need to change the filter. In today's world, there are machines which indicate the customer to change the filter, but the customer has to react to the information provided by mostly visuals and replace the filter. In the connected world, when the filter is nearing its end, the purifier directly connects to the manufacturer's system, creates a lead in the system. A call center agent calls up the customer and checks whether he wants to change the filter. On confirmation with the customer, a service request is created and a field technician is dispatched to change the filter.
Another scenario, where self-service is an option, the machine checks with the customer if he wants to order new filter. On confirmation, an order is created in the manufacturer's system, order is processed, customer is charged, and item is dispatched. Filter reaches the customer address and is replaced by the customer.
Below are some of the benefits accruing to the manufacturers when the intelligent machines seamlessly integrate with the manufacturers CRM system.
1. Increased revenue and profitability for the manufacturer
2. Real-time asset operational data availability in the manufacturer system
3. Increase in customer satisfaction
4. Increase in longevity of the machine
5. Barrier of entry for third party services
6. Change of parts/consumables when actually change is required rather than a time based or cycle based service call
In the next edition, I would try to focus on content management and its impact on the service management.
This is part 2 of two part series blog. The first part is available at this link. Part 1 covered the overview of the needs for multiple ORGs and the case for both single and multiple ORGs. This part covers factors to consider and recommended steps, should the organization proceeds to consolidate multiple ORGs.
Corporations often go thru' consolidation in the form of mergers and acquisitions and business functioning have a direct bearing on IT operations. If the organizations had adopted CRM / Salesforce.com before consolidation, chances are that one ends up with multiple instances. Although not unusual, bigger organizations often have multiple autonomous divisions that may be managing its own CRM operations without centralized IT governance, which leads to multiple instances. In some cases, customer facing operations (viz. Marketing, Sales, and Support) between divisions are very unique and custom tailored, again leading to multiple instances. The question often comes up is, should these multiple instances be consolidated...