In my prior post, COVID-19 Shows Remote Support Providing Unexpected Benefits, I shared insights that iBASEt has gained while pivoting to a new remote consulting and professional services model. Given all we have learned, it is highly likely the future of how these services are delivered will retain many of the advantages our customers are now experiencing.
Since COVID-19 has impacted all our customers across their entire value chain, most have already adapted systems to support their internal teams, as well as how they now work with suppliers, including iBASEt, while coordinating remote consulting.
Here are a few insights we have learned so far that can help with your transition to providing and receiving remote consultation services:
- The first step you need to do is to make sure everyone’s firewall settings permit collaboration with both external partners and internal teams. Security must be maintained, but the ability to have Zoom, GoToMeeting, or Teams interactions is essential to project progress. In many cases, video and screen sharing is critical to knowledge exchange so network capacity must be adequate.
- For customers that have already moved their systems to the Cloud, many of these issues have already been addressed. For those considering a move to the Cloud, COVID-19 might be the ideal catalyst, along with the benefits that remote support provides, to make the jump sooner rather than later.
- Ask more detailed questions upfront. This included topics such as what is the default time zone that meetings will be booked? When does the “workday” start? How often will you schedule breaks? And what is the default communications platform (as discussed above)?
- Non-verbal communications are often far more effective, which is only possible when video features are enabled; it is very difficult to “read” someone’s face if you cannot see it! Make a big effort to secure approvals for video to be enabled and set the expected default to enable video whenever possible.
- Planning for remote sessions needs to be more detailed. We often provide “homework” assignments as part of ending each call. This sets an expectation of what will be discussed at the next meeting; those doing the pre-work are far more apt to understand new materials, helping to keep deployment timeframes intact.
- Additional demos and playbacks during consulting sessions are time well spent. This can ensure the material is being better and more fully understood, both by customers and partners. We try to be very transparent during our calls and ask a lot of questions to make sure the audience is following, or if anyone has any questions.
- Try to have frequent verbal check-ins during every call. Even with Video conferencing, it is difficult to “read” where a person is at or be 100% sure the content you are presenting was understood.
As iBASEt applies what it has learned during our shift to primarily offering remote support and training programs, we are now expanding our ability to do remote User Acceptance Testing (UAT).
We continue to look for new ways to drive benefits for both our end-users and partners. While COVID-19 has certainly presented significant challenges, the lessons we are learning together will enable us to deliver safer and more cost-effective support going forward.
Dan Miklovic is the founder and principal analyst at Lean Manufacturing Research, LLC. He has a wealth of experience as an end-user, software vendor, consultant, and market research analyst. He led a plant applications development and implementation team at Weyerhaeuser, was a process system engineer at Scott Paper, led the network design team at a large engineering firm serving the pulp & paper and mining industries. His industry analyst experience includes roles at Gartner, Sustainable Collaborations Group, and LNS Research. He is currently a member of The Analyst Syndicate. He has authored dozens of articles, contributed to several engineering handbooks, authored a text on industrial networking, and was a co-host of World Business Review, a TV program seen on public television, CNBC, and other outlets.
You may contact Dan at [email protected].