The Syncron team is here at Field Service USA 2017 live blogging some of the keynotes, panels, and breakout sessions throughout the event, and today is the big day!

Gary Brooks, Syncron CMO and trailblazer for the improvement of after-sales service operations, took the big stage to deliver a passionate keynote to the event’s field service professionals, after-sales innovators, and solution vendors. The motivation behind his passion? Innovation.

There has never been a more important time in field service to embrace innovation. The world is changing at a fast rate, if you don’t innovate the way big industry leaders are today, you’ll get left in the dust.

“If there has ever been a time in the evolution of field service where innovation is mandatory for survival, IT IS NOW! » –Gary Brooks

The biggest area of innovation lately? Service. Modern service expectations have been shaped by companies like Amazon, where consumers are saying “I can have it when I want it,” and Uber, who lets me track the progress of my driver, and Zappos, who lets me shift the blame of my shopping errors to them.

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The Perfect Storm

Customers’ expectations often are misaligned with your capabilities to deliver. The world is changing, with technology, social communications, economics changing at an incredible rate. By 2030 millennials will make up 75% of the US workforce. Millennials have a reputation of being demanding, addicted to technology — and it’s a generation that we need to pay attention to, because they’re a generator that will take their complaints to social media in a heartbeat.

2030 will also have 60% of the population moving to major cities, which has a huge impact on the way we deliver field service, and two-thirds of the world’s population living in China and India. And, thanks to medical advancements, 2050 will be the year we see the number of people over the age of 65 double.

At Syncron, we call this grouping of trends The Perfect Storm—a storm that will create both massive opportunities for some and business disasters for others. Those who don’t heed the warnings and prepare for the storm are the ones who fail to embrace innovation.

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Economic Shifts

A recent report by World Bank and IMF forecasted that the economic power in the world is shifting – a big economic power shift.  In the not too distance future (about two decades), Russia will no longer be in the top 10 global economies, and the US will no longer be number one.

We’re seeing a big shift in the way that things are sold. Think of Tesla: they are going around the dealer, they are going direct to the consumer.  Tesla is leading the way by having a direct relationship with the customer, which is impacting the way we deliver service. By cutting out the middlemen, manufacturers sell straight to customers creates an intimate and immediate feedback loop that leads to a better customer experience.

In line with this change, the new US Administration is promising to overhaul our national infrastructure. Think about all the pieces of equipment that need to be sold to embark on this journey – once again, putting all the pressure on our organizations. With all the new aircraft, construction equipment, mining equipment that will need to be sold and serviced to pull this off, will this test the capacity of our after-sales service organizations?

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Social Media and Emerging Technology

And then there’s social media: If Facebook were a country, it would be the largest in the world. 96% of millennials (you know, the aforementioned future of our workforce?) are on some form of social media. Social media is not a fad, it’s here to stay and it can be a service organization’s best friend — or worst enemy.

Finally, the emerging technology of today has people intrigued, like tech that transform field service. But people are still skeptical. There’s a lot of talk and speculation about how a variety of emerging technology will fundamentally change field service as we know it — from drones and driverless cars to augmented reality, wearables and IOT. How and when will you embrace technology to improve your ability to deliver exceptional and profitable service?

Embracing innovation is no longer a luxury in field service.  It’s a necessity. And while we all want to be better leaders, the best leaders, as it turns out, are the most insatiable learners. How are you learning as fast as the world is changing?

Stay with us as we continue to live-stream the content from Field Service USA, and make sure to follow us in the app and on social to get the full event experience!