Field service technicians have powerful digital and mobile tools at their disposal, from computers in their pockets to internet-connected machines that allow them to monitor — and even to repair — machines remotely. But what if techs could create their own apps to solve niche problems that they encounter in the field, without waiting on corporate IT?
That’s the idea behind Turbo Systems, founded by Hari Subramanian. (Subramanian co-founded ServiceMax and is the company’s former CTO.) It’s part of a trend called no-code development, and similar to the digital and mobile innovations during the past decade, Subramanian sees field service as a perfect fit.
Field Service Digital caught up with Subramanian to hear how service organizations could use no-code development to move fast and to allow their techs in the field to develop apps they need to do what they do best — solve problems, whether it’s a broken X-Ray machine or an app they need but don’t have.
You co-founded ServiceMax and held senior roles at the company for nearly a decade. Why did you decide to start Turbo?
Hari Subramanian: In my 30 years of delivering B2B solutions in a wide range of industries, I observed a frequently repeating pattern that inspired me to start Turbo Systems: a multitude of forces that require businesses to change how they operate, colliding with inflexible yet mission-critical IT systems. My experience at ServiceMax further reinforced my belief that businesses are better served by a new approach. Businesses need a system where process owners and users can function seamlessly across any data source, with greater agility and productivity, and not be fazed by the ongoing need for change.
Why is field service a target market for Turbo?
Field Service is a highly strategic and rapidly evolving business function. With the influence of newer technology, modern workforce demands and market dynamics, service organizations are not only changing operations more frequently, they need to realize the changes more rapidly than before. Turbo’s central mission is to enable organizations to embrace this kind of change, not once but on an ongoing basis.
How might service organizations use Turbo — and who would be involved in creating no-code apps?
Turbo is particularly geared towards empowering field service workers with a comprehensive mobile work experience, irrespective of which IT system is used to drive field processes (for example, Salesforce.com, ServiceNow, SAP or Microsoft, among others). Service managers and business/IT analysts can use Turbo’s no-code platform to create rich apps for field users to manage appointments, routes, inventory, work orders, time cards, parts & returns, asset tracking, checklists and dynamic workflows.
How would Turbo apps tie into service organizations’ existing backend systems? Could you talk a bit about Turbo as a ‘universal engagement platform’?
Turbo is a cloud-native and mobile-native platform, designed specifically to support multiple IT systems through a layer of abstraction and purpose-built connectors. The platform delivers a seamless experience that both engages with business’ existing systems and data, and creates applications that solicit engagement from end users. Turbo’s platform is thus universal since it can be deployed on any business process and IT system, and also comprehensive since it covers the entire application lifecycle — including design, deployment, documentation, communication and measurements.
In your view, are service organizations getting savvier about IT trends like agile and no-code development? How does Turbo support the future of app development in the service industry?
Field service is absolutely adopting new technology, as service and IT leaders see the strategic benefits of quickly embracing new technological and workplace trends. However, they find the prevailing way of evaluating, buying, deploying, implementing and scaling enterprise software to be time-consuming, expensive and binding. With our fast, flexible and affordable platform, Turbo Systems is on a mission to make the future of software experience frictionless.