By Tom Paquin
I’ll spare everyone the cliched overtures about what a year we’ve had. We’ve all been enduring it, but there’s the potential of hope on the horizon. Given that 2020, on the whole, was mired by disruption of business-as-usual, with this wretched year now in the rearview, I wanted to take stock of exactly what it was that I, personally, spilled digital ink over this last year. Sarah wrote a lovely article in which she discusses many of her feelings on the last year, as well as some of her favorite pieces that she produced, and I encourage you to read that, if you haven’t. Here, on New Year’s Day, is my own.
The COVID Stuff
Perhaps unsurprisingly, beginning in mid-March, our year was inundated with content and stories about COVID—what businesses should do, what they are and will be doing, and how we, as a community, are working to make the best of a set of challenges and restrictions that few were adequately prepared for. We have a whole section of the website dedicated to this content, but here are some of the pieces that I think speak to the gravity of the situation, and where we go from here:
- Our First Articles on the Subject (Here and Here): Sarah and I both took different perspectives when first tackling COVID-19, and while they’re now somewhat peculiar time capsules considering the immense speed of change that propelled us through the year, there are constants that run through both into today. At the end of my piece, I promise our readers that Sarah and I will see them at the next in-person service event. That has yet to happen, but I have high hopes we’ll be able to meet again in 2021.
- The Story of Munters: Munters was a topic of frequent conversation for us during the early months of the crisis, as they were the first COVID success story, leveraging Remote Assistance from IFS to quickly keep operations afloat in spite of the pandemic’s restrictions. Even now that we’ve seen other businesses find success, Munters stands out with the speed and forward-thinking they employed to stay on top of things, and use a crisis to differentiate their business for the better (Also listen to Munters on the Podcast).
- The Service Buyer’s Guide: COVID-19 Edition: Typically, when we write about business decisions, all roads lead to software, and that’s naturally adjusted our evaluations when planning for service software implementation. I think that the calculus of what makes service software has been permanently changed by COVID, and I tried to reflect that in this article.
The Weird Stuff
Perhaps as an antidote to the intense anxiety that this year caused me (on top of my, you know, regular anxiety), I had a little fun with my articles every few weeks. I think it’s useful, even with “serious” topics like complex business decisions, to inject a little levity wherever possible. I also like to take things that I’m passionate about outside of work and make them a component of what I’m passionate about at work. That’s what I’ve tried to do, and here are a few of the weirdest ones:
- Finding Opportunities for Servitization in my Christmas Village
- Understanding Optimization Through Super Mario
- Jurassic Park as a Cautionary Tale for Service Automation
- Simulating Service
- Understanding AI with the Help of Video Games
- What Can Netflix Teach Service Managers About Contextualizing Data?
- What Can We Learn About Service from a 1,400-Year-Old Company?
Back to Basics
The SEO-minded cynic in me knows that the most searched-for topic on service management is “What is Service Management?” and yes—that did initially inspire this lengthy series of articles. Moreover, though, I remembered what it was like to not know anything about service management software. Sarah and I both have shared stories about starting out in this field with little to no experience with the technology, and having to build a knowledge base from scratch. More than anything, I hope this series of articles saves someone the headaches that she and I went through a decade ago.
- What is Service Management Software?
- The Key Capabilities of Service Management Software
- The Attributes of Best-in-Class Service Delivery Software
- The Operational Capabilities of Service
- The Building Blocks of Customer Experience Excellence
- Implementing New Service Software
- The Politics and Potential of Changing Service Software Providers
In spite of so many challenges, anxieties, lost sleep, and frustration throughout 2020, there’s still plenty of joy, hope, and thanks that this year has been able to offer. Much of it comes from being able to share thoughts, ideas, and stories here with all of you. In spite of the challenges, being part of the Future of Field Service Community through 2020 has been immeasurably special. Thanks for being part of this journey with us, and here’s to 2021.