How to Gain Executive Support for Connected Services

Written By: Greg Gies
  • Industrial Internet of Things
  • 9/4/2017
With the Internet of Things (IoT) comes an array of new, exciting opportunities for the service department. They not only have the potential to increase your company’s revenue but also change the way you deliver customer service.

As such, you would think selling IoT-powered, connected services to the executive team would be easy, right? If only that were the case. Even solutions with tremendous potential upsides have their own risks and liabilities. So how do you convince the upper brass that connected services are worth the time, talent, and investment?

Identify how the IoT can address a key pain point

Begin by identifying a pain point that the IoT can rectify. Revisit your meeting notes with the executives: What service challenges have kept them up at night? Do field technicians order the wrong spare parts? Could you, theoretically, handle a fair portion of service visits remotely but lack the infrastructure to do so?

Once you have a list of pain points, select one that’s easy to address. It should require minimal investment, deliver relatively quick ROI, and fit within a scalable business model.

Acquire cross-departmental evangelists

You’ll want to get your IT department, engineers, service technicians, and sales team all on board with your connected service initiative. To achieve this, demonstrate how each department will benefit from the IoT.

For example, when conversing with engineers, discuss how connected services will inform product design. As maintenance personnel address specific issues associated with particular parts, field technicians can send sensor data associated with those parts to engineers, who may use that information when redesigning components.

IT, for obvious reasons, may be a tougher sell. Gaining their support entails showing them connected service solutions that:

•    Are compatible with your existing IT infrastructure.
•    Comply with your company’s security standards.
•    Come with reliable, responsive support staff.

Convince your customers

It’s simply wrong to assume that your customers will welcome connected service solutions into their business operations. Focus on how asset monitoring and performance analysis can benefit their bottom lines. Ask your customers how much unplanned downtime costs them per year, and show them how gaining visibility into their asset performance is conducive to anticipating and preventing downtime.

Your customers may have concerns regarding data security and privacy. Gain their trust by explaining the security precautions and certifications your IoT solution has. Finally, clarify that connected services enables you to gather asset performance data, not customer files. If you manufacture cancer treatment devices, for example, you won’t collect information from patient appointments.

Measure success

Decide which performance metrics you want to go after, and make sure these are truly valuable to both your organization and your customers. Examples include:

•    Customer downtime costs per hour
•    Operating margin
•    Service contract renewal rates
•    Sales growth year-to-date

By measuring and then showing your initial successes, you can continue your IoT service transformation by showing continuous growth. You’ll want to measure financial KPIs such as service revenue or savings, process KPIs such as improved MTTR, and customer KPIs, such as contract renewals

Before even speaking with your colleagues or the executive team about connected services, assess your current service capabilities to determine if you have the infrastructure and talent needed to support them. The tool below will not only give you this insight but also reveal how you perform against competitors:

PTC Service Performance Assessment

  • Industrial Internet of Things
  • Service & Parts

About the Author

Greg Gies

Greg Gies joins PTC as the new Sr. Director of Service Journey Marketing with 15+ years of experience marketing software to businesses. Most recently Greg was the Vice President of Marketing for DataXoom, a start-up wireless provider for cellular-enabled IoT devices. He has held a variety of senior marketing roles at Boston area software firms including Nuance, eCopy and Brooktrout Technologies. Greg holds an MBA from Babson College and a Bachelors in Economics from Indiana University.

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