Service Lifecycle Management (SLM)

The Conjurer (School of Hieronymus Bosch, after 1500)

Predictive Maintenance: Myths, Promises, and Reality

By | AI and Machine Learning, Field Service, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Service Technology | No Comments

The industrial Internet of Things and its Digital Twin surrogate are fueling exciting conversations about business process innovation on the factory floor and in industrial equipment manufacturing. One hot area in particular is the broad and often loosely-defined practice of Predictive Maintenance (PdM) of complex machinery. As is frequently the case when technology innovation is trying to penetrate (should I have said “disrupt”?) an established business practice, there’s a good dose of hype and optimism on the side of technology pundits, countered by skepticism and resistance to change from maintenance organizations and experienced field service technicians.

A business associate sent me an article written by a technology vendor seeking to debunk what the authors deem to be myths about PdM (try searching for “predictive maintenance myths” and you will find a few on the topic). That article and recent vendor presentations I attended suggest that further examination of misunderstandings and perhaps exaggerated expectations from PdM technology is in order. Read More


Telematics Helps JCB Ride Market Growth

By | Internet of Things, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Telematics | One Comment

Earthmoving and construction equipment company JCB has high aspirations. The world’s third-largest construction equipment manufacturer by volume, is banking on the strong Indian construction and agricultural sectors to drive market growth.

JCB India’s 2016 revenue and sales volume grew almost 40% over 2015. With the Union budget of India for 2017-2018 focus on additional investments in farming and infrastructure building, the company hopes to experience strong growth in 2018, albeit not at the same levels as a couple of years ago. Read More

Help! Movie Poster (The Beatles, 1965)

IoT and Software Support

By | Internet of Things, IT Strategy, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) | 4 Comments

You think IoT has Nothing to do with Software Support? Think Again!

You cannot escape the onslaught of breathless headlines about the rapid proliferation of the Internet of Things (IoT). You hear and read ad nauseam about a brave new connected world that is threatening to change all businesses as we know them.

These stories are usually accompanied by images of complex industrial equipment, giant oil rigs, and highly sophisticated jet engines.

If you are in software support you may dismiss these as not quite relevant to your business and daily activity. Some of you may even sigh in relief that you do not need to get to the bottom of the 4th Industrial Revolution and that your job is not threatened by these new technologies.

But if you do, you’d be wrong! Read More

Elevator Out of Service

An Elevator Pitch: IoT Improves Elevator Service

By | Internet of Things, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM), Service Technology | 3 Comments

The Risk of Market Commoditization

For companies that operate in a commodity market, competing on price alone is usually a stressful and futile business strategy. When the only protection a company has against competition is lower price, an aggressive new entrant offering an even lower price for the same product or service can disrupt the business overnight, luring customers away from an established business that had nurtured customer loyalty for decades. Indeed, low-cost products and services often mean subpar quality and poor customer service, and by the time the newly-recruited customer realizes it, the damage has already been done and is difficult to reverse. As the old adage goes, it costs much more to regain a lost customer than to keep an existing one.

McKinley Elevator Corporation is a family-owned business that specializes in elevators, accessibility lifts and car lifts for homes, public facilities, and businesses. Even with reputation for top-notch customer service, the company is constantly at risk of losing market share to lower-cost competitors, and under pressure from elevator manufacturers seeking to drive down cost in a highly commoditized and price-competitive market. Read More

Laughing Fool (Possibly Jacob Cornelisz van Oostsanen ca. 1500)

Artificial Intelligence or Real Stupidity?

By | AI and Machine Learning, Service Lifecycle Management (SLM) | No Comments

Some years ago, I was involved in developing artificial intelligence (AI) expert systems. I built expert systems to troubleshoot failures in highly engineered systems such the General Eclectic T700 turboshaft engine, a commercial high-volume photocopier, a blood chemistry analyzer, and similarly complex and difficult to diagnose and repair systems.

Xerox Corp. was looking for an artificial intelligence solution to support field service operations. The finalists were my company and another diagnostic expert system company that used similar AI technology.  Unable to determine which systems offered a better solution, Xerox decided to conduct a rigorous and objective evaluation by holding a double-blind face off between the two expert systems. Read More