The era of conversation

What is a Bot? It is a program that can imitate the typical human being way of talking, answering and providing information. In other words, a program that can trace information from the systems and the machineries to which it is connected and communicate it in natural language. BOTs, together with the instant messaging platforms, are one of the main revolutions in the field of communication among people and between machines and people in recent years.

BOTs make it possible to speed up internal communication between the operational staff, the various company functions and also between men, machines and information systems. According to a research by Motorola, improving company communication is the major challenge in recent years, affecting 75% of manufacturing industries.

That's why, tools have been created to support all communication needs: the so-called enterprise collaboration and execution platforms. By simplifying and speeding up interactions, these platforms positively impact on productivity, reducing waste of time and increasing efficiency.

The era of conversation has begun. But what are the benefits of simpler and faster interactions? How to orientate yourself in the market of collaboration platforms? Let's try to answer these two questions together.

At work and at home: collaboration platform

In an increasingly digital world, every day we exchange lots of information via messaging platforms. The latest data tell us that, in everyday life, these platforms have surpassed social networks by volume of information exchange.

There are two risks at the workplace. In some cases, communication tends to remain static, limited to e-mails; in others, employees tend to use the applications they already know, as the Consumer ones.

In the first situation, the potential of faster communication and the extremely positive impacts that they can have on productivity and on processes simplification are underestimated.

Even using apps that are not suitable for business contexts can be limiting or even dangerous, for example due to security risks and data privacy. Another problem may derive from the lack of structuring of the information and consequently from the traceability of the same and the analysis of the events. For analysis of events we mean both an analysis of shared production system data and data related to the same chat, such as the number of people involved and response times.

For this reason, on the market there are different platforms designed for different companies. In the case of these applications, communication is not only facilitated between the people involved in the various production and organizational processes, but also in the interaction with machines and IT systems. Today, conversational and collaboration platforms are one of the main technological trends; as per the most reliable international analysts (Gartner among all). We only need now, to fully understand the potential and the motivations for which many companies have already chosen them to improve the performance of their business.

Which are the right industrial indicators to monitor? Find out the main ones in our glossary of industrial KPIs!

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The impact of collaboration platforms on productivity

Coordinating processes through traditional methods of communication can sometimes be extremely complex and ineffective. This complexity often causes to the company inefficiencies and loss of productivity. In one word: costs.

Through the collaboration platforms, communication is facilitated by virtual spaces (workspaces), environments created specifically for the group of people involved in a given process. Workspaces can be described in simple words as dedicated chats where you can neatly interact with machines, systems and people. They allow you to share a wide variety of data formats (videos, photos, documents, guides, machine data, etc ...) in a simple and intuitive way. This feature allows you to engage the right person at the right moment, in real time, so that the shared information is always complete, clear and understandable.  

Let's have an example. Let's just assume that we have created a space for the mechanical maintainers of a particular line. In a conversation you need to understand why a machine is not operating properly and you also need to consult the operating data. By asking the application in natural language: "Show me the data of the motor driver", the data will be automatically made available.

But what kind of data? And in what format? Probably a maintenance technician will only need to see the macrodates (and not the completeness of all the measured values), as the electricity absorbed, to understand if the motor driver is under stress. In this way you will avoid wasting time on information that is not necessary and not useful for diagnosis. If the machine does not present mechanical problems, other specialists can be involved, and they will see in their own virtual space all the information necessary for their field of specialization. This is possible if you use a collaboration and conversation platform.

The same system can be adopted in a scalable way at any company level, based on the processes to be managed: from maintenance to production, from laboratories to any process that requires an orderly and fast flow of communication. In each of these situations, in fact, a collaboration platform simplifies interactions as much as possible, speeding up processes and allowing visibility of the process at any time and in any place.

The collection and the registration of all data in a single repository is another aspect sometimes underestimated. It will allow you to analyze the production process much more easily and to constantly measure the main KPIs, thus having a clear and detailed idea of the performances and how to improve them. It will also allow you to memorize how each problem has been managed and to retrieve this information if a similar problem occurs again, greatly reducing the resolution time.

With collaboration platforms, processes are also remotely controlled

The question of the simplification of interactions can not, then, exclude another fundamental plants topic: distances, often big even within the same plant. We also have to add the possibility that some people involved in a given process can be called to work temporarily on other activities. This is even more true if we consider figures such as those responsible on various processes, or those of maintenance personnel and technicians, who are required to intervene on different machines and then take part, in the moment of need, to different processes already started.

How can all these figures communicate real time with the colleagues involved, without slowing down the processes and having full visibility of them and of any possible problems? The virtual workspaces are accessible and easy to use even remotely and via mobile: the presence on site will not be required to give feedback, suggest an action to be taken and discuss the progress of the activities.

Collaboration and execution, two sides of the same coin

To maximize the benefits, some platforms also add a part of execution to the collaboration component. In addition to allowing faster and simpler communication, therefore, this type of platforms, called collaboration and execution, allows the processes to be made more fluid and simple thanks to the creation and management of workflows. These last are a constant support in the performance of each job, since they indicate to the operators the steps to be performed.  

If this is not enough, please consider the convenience of being able to run from the virtual workspace, where you can talk with your colleagues and view data coming from the machines, a workflow that guides the actions to be performed. This is undoubtedly the most convenient way to work efficiently and collaboratively.

What characteristics to look for in a collaboration platform

At this point, it is now clear that the benefits deriving from the adoption of a collaboration platform (especially if it is also an execution one) are certainly significant. The most difficult question therefore is: which platform to choose.

The ideal platform should represent an essential support to teamwork, and help to:

  • simplify man-machine interaction;
  • accelerate il decision-making;
  • increase the visibility of production processes;
  • allow the execution of guided workflows;
  • make it possible to command systems or machinery.

Keethings, a collaboration and execution platform for the industry, allows to drastically impact on the simplification and the speed of interactions and consequently on the increase of the efficiency and on the reduction of the costs.

Collaboration and execution become so simple, immediate and above all integrated.

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