Can We Centralize Decentralization?

Having worked together on an exclusive new Field Service News White Paper, Kris Oldland joined Martin Knook, CEO of Gomocha, to discuss the benefits and challenges to the centralized and decentralized approaches to field service 

In this engaging, long-form discussion, the two discuss the modern tools available to field service organizations as we see the emergence of next-generation field service management software and how combining both centralized and decentralized approaches to field service is increasingly possible.

In this excerpt, the two assess whether it is indeed possible, given the modern tools now available to field service companies, to bring together the benefits of both a centralized and decentralized approach to field service delivery.

This interview is part of the FSN PRO library of premium content. It is available in FSN’s free subscription tier FSN FREE. Make sure you log in to view the complete whitepaper and videos.  


The following is an excerpt from Field Service News’ video: Interview: Centralizing Decentralization, featuring Martin Knook, CEO, Gomocha

Kris Oldland: Yeah, I agree. I agree 100%. I think that’s something that, again, you can embed that stickiness. I still 10 years on, I need a better word for stickiness, people who’ve watched this a lot, and watch me talk and will know I still struggling for that word. But it is that stickiness that is really valuable. But then at the same time, it’s the loss of potential, right? How we’re going to work somewhere, and those relationships too tight, where are we going to be? They’d like you say, from the top down, every layer of conversation, and approach this before that. And now just to throw things, a further [explainer] in the works. The complexity, or not the complexity, but the understanding of that top-line governance, and how the business is structured, where we’re going centralized or decentralized. And now we’ve got this ability to almost marry these two worlds together. And I suppose the first question I’d say, around this concept of centralizing decentralization, or vice versa. Like I said, when I was writing the paper and putting the headlines together, I kept bouncing back between Are we are we centralizing decentralization, or decentralizing centralization? Because they flow when we start peak taking these pieces of art, they flow over direction. But we’ve not really been able to do this before, because of some of the technical elements, technologies [that] are in play now. We’re seeing the next generation of FSM tools, like Gomocha, having a much different capability. What there now is, when I started reporting on this space back in 2010, or when I was a service manager way back when, this was something from the Jetsons, where we are today. So, I suppose it’s a technology piece, the easy bit when it comes to this concept of being able to bring these tools together, let’s talk about the technology. Put your technologist’s hat on and talk us through how we can join the dots.

Martin Knook: Yeah. We are looking for that balanced approach.  And, I was just thinking, listening to your question, it became a little comparison on a highly sophisticated, extremely technology-oriented environment and operation. I’m referring to the first missions and we can argue if it happened or not, but I believe it happened. But the mission to the moon, right, that was cutting edge technology. I think it’s still a miracle that we did it and everything seems to be centralized and planned out. And technology really runs that whole mission, right? You don’t send a rocket to the moon with some kind of liberty on the decentralized astronauts there. But in all fairness, if what history tells us, is that everything is planned out and centralized in that mission. But in the end, Neil Armstrong had to decide in just 20 seconds to abort or land on the moon. So, before we go into that technology layer, there is always in my vision, there is always an element that in the end, someone that is on a location in the kind of situation, knows the right environment and the risks and can make an assessment, needs to have some of that kind of influence over what technology is doing to us.

So that’s a starting point for me to go into the beauty of AI. Augmented reality and IoT, there is always a certain amount of local knowledge required for someone to look not for simple things, but definitely for more complicated assets to operate and run. But, in that kind of technology space, it is not real rocket science. For new assets that can clearly talk to a centralized organization to know exactly its status, its maintenance needs. And, can report this health and condition, it’s something that’s been done for already two decades, with some of our customers. But it’s just a level of sophistication. And the predictability of the behavior based on all the sensors and the combination of all these kinds of potential scenarios that we have kind of modeled out into artificial intelligence models, that will help us to make the best decision in the end. And that will drive the benefits from a centralized approach, because there’s nothing be centralized from that, and what’s decentralized is the set of sensors and the communication equipment and the health checks that you receive from there. And, that whole set up, it’s an interesting company that has small robots that can be deployed; the company’s name is Keiko and they operate like a cargo and they go and inspect with little robot assets, for utilities for example. So even if those sensors are not there, we can have external observations from cameras and sensors and all kinds of great, great content that we can kind of detect and translate that into actionable maintenance schedules or the predictability of maintenance. And those kinds of technologies are available and not for every situation that business model works, but if you have a lot of assets in a condensed space, there’s definitely a lot that technology that’s out there that will help us to kind of centralize those kinds of positions to send someone for a fiscal check or a technician with specific knowledge to inspect or fix, or repair or service. The kinds of capabilities are there and, in my description, here. We still believe that there is a need for someone to visit on site. But, you know, there are there are more and more remote capabilities, where the need for someone to physically be on locations are becoming less.

End of Transcript 

This blog was originally posted on the Field Service News blog, Can We Centralize Decentralization