Bats, Squirrels, and Onion Peeling Take Center Stage at ServiceX 2019

To our customers, prospective customers, and all other ServiceX 2019 attendees, thank you. It was so good to see all of you at our annual event. ServiceChannel prides ourselves for delivering unprecedented transparency and visibility in how our customers and their many providers interact with each other. While our platform is world-class in this area, sometimes there is no substitute for interacting with each other in person. A friendly smile, a firm handshake, or even a difficult discussion face-to-face all help build trust in each other, which is foundational to good business. I said as much on stage because it’s the truth.

What is also true is that the joint mission all of us are on, the reason we gathered this week to discuss, is transformational. This mission is not about creating incremental change. A tweak here or there is not going to cut it as the digital and brick-and-mortar worlds become increasingly entwined. No, what we are looking to accomplish is to change the way things are done for the better and forever. This is the core benefit of our service automation platform, an online marketplace where customers and providers can find, connect, and transact business together more efficiently. What ServiceChannel brings to the table is our ability to drive down costs, provide more services, and deliver a better experience within this marketplace. This is what I meant about ServiceChannel enabling “and, and, and” for our customers. In this regard, I view “or” as a four-letter word.

I got a hand at playing a competent HVAC technician during our CMO Seema Kumar’s “Day in the Life of the Facilities Manager” presentation.

I hope you all heard and saw this in the many product introductions we made this week and all the compelling demos we had in our booths. More importantly, I hope you heard and saw this as you mingled and networked with your peers who came from companies from far and wide and of all sizes and industries.

ServiceX by the Numbers

By all accounts, ServiceX was a blowout event. There were more than 350 attendees this year compared to just around 120 last year, or almost 200 percent more. There were also almost 60 prospective customers “kicking the tires” on our company and our platform, compared to just two last year. You can do the math on the growth rate but it’s a big number. 

What is also impressive is the scale and scope at which some of our customers operate. For example, we heard from Deb Millette from CVS Health who relayed the fact that her company supports more than 200,000 users on ServiceChannel across 12,000+ properties including more than 1,000 stores globally. I know there were a few jaws that dropped at this number; I know mine did. More importantly, ServiceChannel is used heavily at CVS Health across multiple departments including Loss Prevention, Operations, and Merchandising in a way that improves collaboration and communications across these normally disparate teams.

I was also impressed with the scale of Wal-Mart’s enterprise-wide asset tagging and management initiative. A company of Wal-Mart’s size and stature does nothing small-scale and this initiative is no exception. In fact, I bet a few more jaws dropped when Andrew Millest from Wal-Mart told the audience that the goal of this project was to tag 900,000 fixed and movable assets and equipment. When completed, the company will be able to easily look up data on each tagged assets such as brand, make, detailed service history, etc that will all be processed through ServiceChannel. This will enable the company to do trend analysis on all of its assets to make more informed and timely decisions on all sorts of operational use cases including the repair-or-replace decision familiar to all facilities managers.

The Importance of ‘Peeling Back the Onion’

I didn’t see jaws drop but did see a few raised eyebrows when I asked the question “bats or squirrels – which critter has generated more work orders for ServiceChannel customers this year”? The answer is bats, by a wide margin, not that the number actually matters given that it was only 600 or so work orders out of more than 10 million work orders processed through ServiceChannel in 2019 so far.

My real point was that this statistic was just one example of a rapidly increasing and diverse data set available to our customers through our platform. If a facilities issue were an onion, each of these data points is another layer that customers can peel to get to the core. In this data-crazed world we live in today, peeling back the data onion is a must-have for facilities managers (and even providers) to stay ahead. It’s the only way actually for FMs to rise above the reputation of the fix-it team to being regarded as stewards of business operations and customer experience.

The example I used to highlight this was a simple comparison of two contractors with the only available data being average cost per work order. But through ServiceChannel, our customers can peel back this onion more such as asking questions like “which provider resolves the issue the first time more often than not”? Another onion peel can reveal “how long it takes each provider to resolve a similar issue”, and so on. After enough peeling, the customer can find out that the supposed higher-priced contractor is actually the better value overall. More importantly, the FM can be armed with this data to make a compelling case to Procurement or Finance to go with that provider vs. the “low-cost” option. That’s the power of analytics.

At ServiceX we introduced a number of new products and features in the way of analytics and business intelligence. Real-time information on weather, connected devices, data visualization, asset management, AI-enabled pricing analysis are just a handful of examples of what we’ll be rolling out in our rich, detailed analytics roadmap. Who knows, we may even have a few more fun facts about other facilities pests I can share next year.

See You in Vegas Next Year

Speaking of which, we announced the venue and dates for ServiceX 2020: Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on Oct. 26 through 28. Scottsdale was an amazing host though the thunderstorms and flash flooding was a bit too apocalyptic for my taste. I hope our hard-working staff did right by you all and made your stay enjoyable and productive. If you have any suggestions on how we can improve, please share these with us. This is the way we peel back our own onion in order to serve all our amazing customers even better.

I wish you a wonderful rest of 2019. I hope to see soon, but certainly at next year’s ServiceX.

Thank you, ServiceX team!