Throughout my career, the most exciting investments have always been in companies that operate in traditional industries and are shaking them up with cutting-edge technologies. But great tech is not enough. To transform a conventional industry, one needs to have a deep understanding of the market, the customer needs, processes, work habits, or consumption patterns. Such understanding is achieved through the collection, aggregation, and smart use of data. Fortunately for us, crunching data, using AI and deep learning to analyze behavior and drive efficiency, is at the heart of Israeli startups. It’s our secret source of innovation and it’s what makes us not only start-up nation but also the data nation.
One of the few industries that still lags, is Field Service which has largely remained the same for decades with very little innovation. Field Service is now at a turning point. Traditionally relying on technicians memory, or names of parts or processes scribbled on scattered bits of paper, used to be enough, but it simply can’t cut it anymore. Nowadays, organizations are expected to deliver an outstanding service experience, one that makes customers happy and differentiates the brand. One that is proactive rather than reactive, so it is obvious that the methodology needs to change. It needs to employ technology. Data-based technology.
I dived into the use of AI in the service industry through my acquaintance with Aquant, Qumraʻs most recent investment. From the company’s CEO, Shahar Chen, I learned that to win the service game today, it’s not enough to just properly solve problems, the process needs to be frictionless and basically amazing. Well, easier said than done…
Aquant belongs to the large and growing market of the Service Cloud where service organizations shift their entire operations to the cloud. This transformation is led by large companies like Salesforce, ServiceNow, SAP and others. This market, estimated at $20B in 2021 is expected to grow to $32B by 2025. Using deep service expertise and specialized Natural Language Processing (NLP), Aquant algorithmically mines, aggregates and analyzes data from multiple sources to learn patterns, maps customer problems, and offers custom solutions. It extracts insights from the best field service and call center agents, siloed in multiple data platforms up until now, combines it with huge amounts of tribal knowledge, validates it, and extrapolates context, providing service leaders and technicians, with the most current and accurate solution they need, in the most critical moments. How is that for service?
By leveraging its service AI , Aquant “clones” its best field service agents, eliminates “guesswork” and makes critical insights available to everyone across the service organization, shrinking the skill gaps. Suddenly a dream team of expert problem solvers, ranging from months of experience to decades of experience, has just been formed, reducing the load on the service desk improving end-user interactions, and creating increased efficiencies. Say that again without the marketing fluff? The improvements enabled by Aquant; reduction in the number of technicians visits, shortening the time to fix malfunctions, and decreasing cost of spare parts, can reach 10% -15% of savings translated into 2-3 months of ROI!
I realize now that great service is no longer about solving problems and about putting out fires. Great service is about creating new opportunities which are now available due to the AI revolution. AI positions the service department at the forefront as it can increase the scale of what the organization can accomplish. It’s a change in mindset and leaders need to reorient their own thinking and then move every mindset in the organization to think in these terms. Service is anything but a dormant sector.
And as for me? I started out by saying that I get excited when advanced technologies drive genuine change in existing infrastructure. When this change involves a huge and growing market, it gets super exciting!