Manufacturers and Customers Need a More Intimate Dialogue to Keep Staff Skill Levels High
Blog by Simen Frostad, Chairman of Bridge Technologies
The past few years have seen the rise of many new industries – many of them recognising that “one size fits all” is no longer a workable marketing approach. Increasingly, we want those who supply us to recognise us as individuals with needs that are unique to us. We want bespoke holidays. We want customised cars. We want our lounges decorated in our choice of colour, and not be forced to choose from what the manufacturers offer us.
That’s a phenomenon that has, in many ways, given rise to the 3D printing industry – an industry that will be worth, by some estimates, $25 billion by 2025. One of the big attractions of 3D printing is that it makes it cost-effective to create unique – or, at least, ‘more unique’ – items. It’s the antithesis of the mass production that has characterised consumerism for many decades. (Think of how Henry Ford’s Model T could be available in “any colour you want – so long as it’s black”.)
That new individualism has also given rise to new industries such as those that provide unique services geared towards the specific needs of individual clients. Think of personal shoppers, who will understand your unique preferences and needs – and help you choose the right clothes. Think of concierge services: companies who exist to enable discerning clients to get exactly what they want, when they want it. Think of high end credit cards, with personal advisors committed to making your life easier with advice tailored to your needs. We’re entering a new era of services being created that are designed to precisely match the unique needs of individual customers.
It’s that kind of thinking that has led to Bridge Technologies introducing Omega.
When it comes to training, it is often said that if you give a man a fish, you will feed him for a day – but if you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Training unquestionably has a vital role in today’s media industry, as does ongoing support. It’s not, though, without its limitations. For many of our customers’ people, for example, that ‘lifetime’ may be only a matter of months or years before trained people move to new assignments – inevitably so, in a dynamic industry – leaving behind them a requirement for more training for more people. What’s needed is a service that recognises this reality – but on a customer-by-customer basis.
That service is Omega. It’s designed to overcome all the drawbacks of the old pattern of support and training, ’re-engineering’ it as a continuous and proactive service that is an integral part of the product for its entire lifetime. This re-engineering of the post-sales relationship transforms it into one that maintains continuing close contact between manufacturer and customer – in the interests of both.
A fundamental premise of Omega is that, for each customer, there’s a direct connection with a dedicated expert who knows everything about the customer’s configuration and can intervene remotely to resolve problems. So even though there’s a knowledge deficit at the customer site, when support is needed, it’s provided by an Omega expert who knows what’s happening there. To keep up the required level of knowledge, the Omega expert will visit the site regularly to update and evaluate the operation.
Equipped with this level of knowledge, the engineer can then progress confidently to the more intensive tailored sessions provided in the Omega package. These go far beyond just product training, and are really more about educating the engineers to understand the deeper technical issues of digital media technology. In-depth knowledge about these issues is in short supply, yet engineers are frequently called upon by their management to advise on decisions about which formats and standards to support. These are very important strategic decisions, and without a good level of in-house knowledge, mistakes can easily be made.
Underpinning all this, Omega’s Automated Services component is a continuous, proactive way to help the customer avoid future difficulties. To achieve this, the Omega technology collects statistics from the customer system, and performs predictive analytics on system health, including CPU usage patterns, load peaks and variances on the probes and servers. Omega staff can then make recommendations on where strains are being felt, and where failures may occur, and can guide the customer’s technical staff on optimisations to the system so that problems are headed off before they occur.
In a similar way to the way in which personal shoppers, concierge services and high end credit cards develop an intimate dialogue between supplier and customer, or that 3D printing can create items that are exclusive to us, so the Omega program is a framework for a dialogue that responds to the unique relationship we at Bridge Technologies have with each individual user. It’s a dialogue designed to ensure that each customer’s technical staff will always be able to get the best performance from their systems.