Do you get this question often - “How frequently will our customers use the analytics tool?”
And my response is: it depends if you are building a Tesla or a Porsche.
At the outset: I have very high regards for the breakthrough Tesla has brought about and Elon Musk is my most aspired leader. I have their T-shirts, their jackets and caps. Tesla has a formidable technology stack, modern and highly performant, complete with the latest technology components in AutoPilot and battery technologies. The car even does 0-60 in 2.8 seconds in "Ludicrous" mode.
I can build a Tesla. I can put together a formidable analytics stack with the latest and the very best in open source and proprietary software - I throw in Spark, Kafka, Storm, Cassandra, Mongo, CouchBase, Hadoop, Hive, AWS, CloudFoundry all together - and come with a super-cool technology stack that makes me blue with “cool” and satisfies my engineer ego. I am a technologist and so is my stack. Customers take my stack for a spin and they are aghast at the amazing technologies I have used and the power of it. It is the feeling I had after I took a Tesla out for a spin: enthralling technology on wheels. But once I got back home I wondered "but where was the car?"
Or I can build a Porsche - my analytics machine is put together with the sole objective of providing my customers with the best driving experience. My customers don’t see my technologies but the experience I create touches every part of their life. Customers do not “use” my stack - they are constantly engaged with it without even realizing they are using an analytics platform behind the scenes. My stack is the enabler - it still comprises some of the technologies from above, but the technologies are not my focus - I deliver customer experience through specific solutions.
That is what a data driven solution does - it uses an underlying analytics platform to uncover insights that deliver the business experience without making customers feel like they are using one. It is the platform underneath that powers the applications which in turn deliver the experience. A data driven solution delivers information of the right amount and the right simplicity to its point of consumption. Customers continue with their normal interaction with the systems but the data driven solution makes the experience relevant and engaging.
This is really the next evolution in product development - the old way of engineering products is over. The way of delivering the “Porsche experience” is to build an underlying data driven platform and build custom data powered solutions on the top targeted at specific customers and business domains. And open it up to engineers, customers and incentivize the overall developer ecosystem to add more solutions. And we will continue to deliver value through our solutions, not the platform. Platform its the enabler. Several industries have started taking the data-driven approach - Industrial Design, Manufacturing and Content Marketing and Pharma Tech being a few of them. To our benefit we have a more defined market space in Field Service Automation that we can win quicker - key is to remain focused on delivering the experience that the business domain needs through effective use of data. On several meet ups I have discussed with business leaders on how to effectively build and deliver data driven solutions.
I see our analytics platform delivering the Porsche experience - I see an opportunity for us to create a blue ocean from within a red ocean to push the boundaries of Field Service and make an impact (BTW if you are not already familiar, this is a great article introducing Blue Ocean Strategy from HBR: Blue Ocean Strategy). I see us delivering the only data driven solution for Field Service Automation. If we do, we automatically enhance the lives of Service Managers, Technicians and Service Leaders while they go through their daily lives - through delivering insights to points of consumption without them having to “use” our “stack” or “tool”.
We are getting started laying the foundation - it is ok for us to start as a Tesla but our goal is to eventually deliver the experience of a Porsche.