Interview with Tina Osojnik, a mentor in THINGS+ project
24. 10. 2019
"Servitization for me is data processing for a specific purpose, offered to customers," says Tina Osojnik, an expert, who helps companies protect, lead and integrate the development of innovation and knowledge. A founder of a service providing company, familiar with the servitization process and implementation of it in companies will answer a few questions, related to Servitisation - one of the most discussed topics on Industry 4.0.
Is servitization just a name for improving efficiencies in product maintenance and after-sales services, or is there more to it?
In our everyday life, we are considered impatient customers, we want everything on-demand, we have customer support 24/7 for every product that we buy, same-day shipping, last-minute flights, and the list goes on. We need it NOW, yesterday if possible. And “right-now” customers demand “right-now” brands. This is where servitization comes, as a “1+1 offer”. By being a user-friendly, customer-oriented company, focused on what customer demands are, your service comes as a life-changing experience to make your customer life easier.
Imagine a company that offers a product but not the after-service that comes with it, it just wouldn’t be appealing to the customer. And that’s why, servitization is completely the greatest offer that companies can give to customers, for example: in manufacturing companies, it has become the best way for the industry to show their support their customers, not to say the easiest way to create contact with them.
Do you think that the service market should be considered as a next phase in the product lifecycle or a process that goes along with the product lifecycle?
The service market is definitely a phase that comes different in the product lifecycle based on company maturity. Servitisation now is a new concept, new trend let’s say. But here comes the trick. We have start-ups that embrace servitization within the product development phase, as part of it-and we have matured-companies in which servitization develops afterward.
The new start-ups are working on the new product to develop it, so servitization comes of course as part of it. They are more agile and think upfront because they are actually living it.
While matured companies already have a product, a strategy for which they have worked on for a long time. Changing it requires resources, data digitalization, mindset change and not to mention the challenge to implement it.
What is happening now, we can call a “collaboration” between mature companies and startups, in order to face these challenges together.
Mature companies are inviting startups in order to broaden their agility and change their mindset on an organizational and commercial matter. Re-locating the resources, making projections and sticking to it, isn’t easy. For these companies, it can be game-changing to keep the product but also to know that the revenue can come from the service.
Which industries are most suitable for servitization?
There are no limits! Let's say: airplanes, pharmacy, chemistry. etc. I don’t see an industry that cannot be suitable for servitization.
Even the service industry! A very simple example of what they can do: Add a product to their service, do a swap in order to support your customer, to create a relationship.
What are some of the major benefits of servitization for a company?
Well in my opinion, I think that -if managed and secured properly- data that is obtained from servitization, is the biggest asset. The bigger the data the more valuable the assets and the development that comes with it.
Nowadays everyone knows everything about us, we are so exposed that the future can be to protect the data even more. Statistics show that 98% of theft in companies is data theft,” stealing the know-how”.
This benefits the company because a company that knows how to analyze and protect your data, can also offer it as a future service.
How long does it take for servitization to bring income in for the company?
I think that the process of generating income from servitization goes the same way as with a product, you have to know how to market it, u have to let the world know you have something new. I don’t have an answer on how long it takes, because it can probably only be measured on how great your marketing strategy is.
What future do you see for servitization in the manufacturing sector?
I would consider servitization in the manufacturing sector an important part of the revenue if managed properly. Today the products are not enough, they have simply become a commodity. So, you have to add something (a longer return, free maintenance, upgrade of a product if u complete this survey…), in order to make a differentiation.
But this relates servitization directly with consumerism and climate change. Can servitization actually play a role in climate change?
Smart companies are playing with this fear we have with climate changing. This is one big fear that we all have, so the faster a company goes, e. g. plastic-free, the more it will gain. From my latest experience, to make your company go plastic-free is a long and dynamic journey. The problem is that one consumer cannot just exit the system because everything is connected. To make progress we need to change the whole infrastructure which will definitely be one big step on servitization and of course for our planet.
Data is being considered the second element of servitization. Do you think that Data Analytics as part of Digital Culture is the final aspects to be addressed in the servitisation approach?
You cannot have servitization without data. But you have to be careful! That’s because in this sector all is related to data, “data is the new oil”- but it is only valuable if you know how to process it the right way.
Companies first need to learn how to gather proper data. This means that the company has to make a strategic redirection that requires a strategic approach focused on: data research, data knowledge, data analysis and of course cyber data security, etc. First, they have to take care of all of this, in order to “come up with something” from all the data.
Does servitization comes as part of company’s overall digital transformation strategy?
I think that when a company starts a digital transformation process, even if they are not thinking of servitization, it has to pop-up because they are dealing with data. In data gathering, surveys companies ask questions: Why this customer is buying our product? - so they constantly can improve the product. Here comes the service.
But I have to say, it is a two-sided coin:
-Companies go into digital transformation and the results is Servitisation.
-Companies go into servitization and end up with a digital transformation.
And on the other hand, you have companies which are actually doing servitization but they don’t know it because they are not focused on it. They have an app, they offer a product, they call it product support, but it actually is the customer support which equals servitization.
Does servitization increase competition between companies that are in the same niche?
It does! And you know what is more interesting, I remember this quote from a CEO of a well-established company which goes: I’m not scared of my direct competitors, I am scared of the competitors that don’t even exist yet, companies that I’m not aware of. And that's because they come from a new perspective.
What are the implications of the growth of servitization for the global market?
The biggest threat that comes with the globalization of servitization is the usage of the data they have on us-it’s like Big Brother - we are exposed as human beings.
Even your country can only protect you in a legislative matter, so that brings us back to cybersecurity. If you think about it the process starts with Data Research, Data Analysis, Data Science and now it should be Data Protection.