While members of our Global Customer Transformation (GCT) team spend most of their time with leaders of service and operations, they often get the opportunity to discuss the value of service and asset-centricity with leaders from other disciplines. In fact, our message of asset data gravity and asset-centricity is one that resonates with many business leaders outside of service.

The CIO is a persona that is key to business transformation discussions and one that we have engaged with in the past. One could argue that the role of the CIO has raised in prominence given the digital demands on organizations during COVID-19. In parallel, our hypothesis is that innovation agendas have been significantly accelerated since the onset of COVID-19 owing to the demands of the business and its customers. To get some additional information to support our hypothesis, we sat down (on Zoom) with several IT leaders in the healthcare industry at the recent GBI CIO Healthcare Roundtable. CIOs at our roundtables supported organizations across the entire healthcare spectrum, from hospital systems to device manufacturers to insurance providers and more.

A few interesting takeaways that draw parallels to what we see at the service leadership level.

1. The Appetite and Desire for Innovation is Extremely High

At the service level, the desire is focused on finding new ways to engage with and support customers. At an IT level, it is tied to effectively and securely supporting the needs of the business while uncovering new tools and technologies to move the business forward. These tools address primarily the areas of remote work, sharing of information, customer and employee communication, decision support mechanisms, and more. Most attendees agreed that innovation had not only increased in importance, but it had to be pursued as a strategic and cross-functional imperative.

2. Empathetic Leadership is Necessary to Support Innovation

One of the attendees on our roundtables spent part of his time teaching and preparing future leaders for their careers in IT. He highlighted that the IT leader of the future is one that can be empathetic to and understand the needs of customers. For most IT leaders, these customers are both external and internal and an understanding of the customers’ goals, pain points, and language is necessary to truly innovate and deliver business outcomes. This is consistent with what we see for service leaders, who not only have to be empathetic to the needs of their customers, but also have to be able to align their business objectives with those of sales, marketing, product design, and more.

3. Innovation Needs to Involve the Ecosystem

In its Future of Field Service report, Gartner recommends that service leaders work on enhancing the availability of information, knowledge, and expertise across the service delivery ecosystem. This involves manufacturers, service providers, third-parties, customer self-maintainers, and more. In healthcare, the right level of innovation requires an enhanced level of data sharing and collaboration across multiple partners in the ecosystem. This is a highly debated and regulated topic and it is hoped that the shock of COVID-19 will generate some momentum amongst stakeholders to move the dialog forward, both as it comes to the use and access of data, but also the tools needed to ensure the security and privacy of data.

4. Innovation is Most Needed on the Frontlines

During our roundtable, we were fortunate to be able to listen in to the perspective of two separate MDs, both of whom have worked on the frontlines of treating patients and families impacted by the virus. Their general thought was that while innovation has taken place in healthcare, most of it has been incremental and focused on efficiencies in the back end. What they would like to see is innovation that is focused on the needs of those responsible for patient care and patient outcomes. In particular, the following areas were highlighted:

  • Predictive tools to help doctors prioritize patient needs and treatment plans
  • Easier access to Electronic Health and Medical Records for healthcare workers to see the information they need without multiple clicks and drill-downs
  • Communication tools that help family members stay in the loop especially when their presence in hospitals and facilities is restricted

To apply this in a service setting, leaders need to continue to focus on making life easier for their front-line personnel as well as their customers. Making information available is one thing, it’s much more impactful to make this information available in a form that is convenient and actionable.

While these takeaways were tied to CIOs in healthcare, we imagine that they are consistent with business leaders across multiple industries. That said, we would welcome your feedback on the broader topic of innovation and if what we are seeing is a period of sustainable innovation or one that focuses solely on incremental gains. Please connect with us at:

On the topic of front-line innovation, we will be hosting a conference call on August 18, where we will interview a panel of technicians representing several of our customers. Innovation will be an area of focus. For more information on this event and to join the conversation, please email Darya DeMaso, Field Marketing Manager at .


ABOUT Shawn LaRocco

Avatar photoShawn LaRocco is the VP of Strategy & Business Development for the Medical Device Industry at ServiceMax. With his vast experience in the medical device field, Shawn acts as a trusted advisor to our customers and prospects; sharing the best practices he has gained to help transform their service organization. Prior to ServiceMax, Shawn led Alcon’s Global Technical Service organization within the Surgical Franchise, where he was responsible for global service strategies, operations, functions, and growth objectives. He previously served as the Sr. Director of US & Canada Service Technologies within the GE’s expansive service organization supporting 5000 employees and a $2.5B business. Starting out as an R&D engineer developing prosthetics and orthopedics for children, Shawn has held many positions across engineering, marketing, and service operations. He holds a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering and an MBA in Global Management.

ABOUT Sumair Dutta

sumair duttaSumair Dutta is the VP of product marketing at ServiceMax. In this role, he helps shape ServiceMax messaging and positioning to support customers and prospects. Previously, Sumair worked closely with leaders of service businesses to define and shape their service vision while working hand in hand with implementation teams to execute on established service plans. Sumair is a thought leader in the field service and service management spaces and has conducted numerous research projects in the areas of field service, customer support and business strategy. He brings more than 15 years of experience in studying, analyzing and guiding field service organizations, first at the Aberdeen Group and most recently as the chief customer officer at The Service Council.