I am excited to be spending this week at the PTC LiveWorx event in Boston. The Servigistics Symposium kicked things off today, which brought together leaders from a variety of industries to discuss top-of-mind service trends and to share success stories. Leslie Paulson, General Manager of PTC’s Servigistics Business Unit, delivered the keynote address along with Marne Martin, President of Service Management at IFS, and David Williams, Principal at Capgemini.Leslie first discussed that in order to reap the rewards of service being recognized as a competitive weapon rather than seen as a cost of doing business, companies must embrace the digital journey. She outlined three phases: to digitize (the data phase), to digitalize (the process phase), and to transform (the business phase). While companies seem to universally recognize the need to digitally transform, many struggle to execute their vision (or, in some cases, even to develop and articulate the vision). Why is this? As Leslie put it, “Digital transformation is critically important, but it is not simple.” Service organizations feel the pressure to get this right, and that pressure alone can cause confusion and fear that prevents necessary progress. “The stakes in service are higher than ever,” says Marne. “The reality is, all service has become mission critical – whether you’re sending rocket ships to the moon or providing equipment to customers. Customers want outcomes – they want seamlessness. And those demands are only increasing.” It’s become impossible to deliver the kind of experiences customers want without a well thought-out, impeccably executed digital strategy. This strategy must be built on a foundation of deeply understanding what it is your customers want and need from you, aligning your resources to work collectively toward this vision, and investing in the technology that will enable you to achieve your desired outcomes. As emphasized in today’s sessions, and as illustrated by the partnership between IFS and PTC, the ability to get the right person, with the right skills, with the right part, to the right job, at the right time, and at the right cost, is what it takes to provide the experiences customers are seeking. If you’re off on any one of the criteria, the customer experience suffers. “Customers want asset availability and readiness – they want outcomes,” says Leslie. This is entirely true, and your customers don’t care what behind-the-scenes blood, sweat, and tears it might take to provide those outcomes. They want what they want, and they want it to be effortless. Which is why it’s critical to overcome this complexity of digital transformation in order to better equip your organization to deliver. Keep in mind, as Leslie said, “the goal isn’t to become a digital company, but to leverage digital technology.” Luckily for today’s service organizations, there are a multitude of options to assist you in mastering your own digital journey. Leslie discussed the need to “stay ahead of the digital curve.” I’d argue that many organizations have already fallen behind, and if you feel you’re in that boat then the time is now to overcome the obstacles holding you back from achieving your digital transformation vision. The pace of change is only intensifying – a quote was shared by Ray Kurzweil that says, “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century – it will be more like 20,000 years of progress.” I’m looking forward to hearing more this week on how PTC customers across industries are working to master digital transformation and I will of course report back with my findings!