Link everything to everything

... or why connected information makes a service technician happier.

Link everything to everything

t is 6:30 in the morning and I start a new working day feeling a little overtired.

At breakfast, I read the latest news from around the world on my tablet, have a quick look at my emails, and check what has happened on Facebook and Twitter. Before I get in my car and make my way to the office, my mobile tells me that this month’s wages have already reached my account.

Looks like it will be a good day.

As my wife shares her location in real-time, I know that she has arrived at work safely.
So once we finish work there is nothing stopping us from spending a pleasant evening at our favourite restaurant.

I set off for work and avoid a few traffic jams, thanks to my intelligent satnav.
When I’m almost at the office, I illegally quickly check my mobile while driving to see what appointments my wife and I have today. I look up too late, so I am unable to brake and rear-end the car in front of me.
While my car has already called the police, I am annoyed with myself and doubt whether I will be able to get to dinner this evening after arriving late at the office.

When I get to the office I switch on my computer and log in to the network.
Then I get a panicky call from a customer: “My machine has stopped... nothing is happening... you must come immediately!”

So I get all the things together I’m likely to need for this crisis.
After searching through the ERP for a while, I find a parts list for the customer’s machine.
After searching even longer in the (probably) right spare parts catalogue, I find the (probable) culprit and, with the help of a colleague, am even able to find out from our warehousing software that we have the relevant spare part in store.
To make sure that I am taking the correct part with me, I ask my colleagues if they can send me a matching 3D model of the machine. It’s probably no longer up to date, but what can you do?... I don’t have anything else at the moment and it would take too long to look further.

When I get to the customer, I discover that the machine has been completely converted and that my preparations are now completely useless.

What a great day... and I can certainly forget about dining with my wife.

On my way back to the office I wonder why everyone is somehow connected to everyone else, but I still had to search umpteen programs in umpteen different departments to get the information I needed for my crisis deployment.

Why don’t we have a brilliant network like we do everywhere else, and why won’t the machine just tell me that something is wrong, just like my car does?

When I get back to the office I need to go for a cigarette, and I share my frustration with my colleague and friend from Marketing.
We are joined by colleagues from the design, sales, and documentation departments, and I realise that I am not alone with my problem.

Over a cigarette, I learn from the head of the documentation department that the company is already working with a service provider across departments in order to resolve the problem.
Talk turns to central metadata and PI classification... and to the fact that we will soon be conducting surveys regarding the ideal informational worlds for individual target audiences.

This sounds very interesting, and I ask whether I can get involved. Creating a new world sounds very tempting, and I am certainly exasperated enough (as is my wife).

Luckily, the managers at my company have recognised the huge potential of providing information in a central and system-independent fashion, and creating and managing these informational modules with a focus on target audiences.

I’m already looking forward to the prototype of our new world of information... and having that dinner with my wife.

Thanks to my current location and the questionnaire from the car insurance company she received via email, my wife is already well aware that we won’t be having dinner this evening.

Actually, our customer’s machine could have told us that yesterday... or not?

Christoph Beenen
Blog post Christoph Beenen