Zinc loops in deskless workers with a hook into ServiceMax

Profile picture for user pwainewright By Phil Wainewright April 17, 2018
Zinc, the communications platform for deskless workers, unveils integration with Predix ServiceMax to add application context to messages in the field

Stacey Epstein CEO Zinc 370px by @philww
Stacey Epstein, Zinc

Zinc, the communications platform specifically designed for deskless workers, today reveals an integration with GE Digital's service management platform Predix ServiceMax.

The two-way integration allows field workers to attach messages and conversations in Zinc to work orders, part numbers or contacts in the ServiceMax system, enabling them to report issues or get answers in real-time communications with ServiceMax users. The message thread can be viewed from the ServiceMax record at any time.

When a technician working in the field encounters a question or issue, he or she can easily create a conversation with the relevant people that carries the history and context of the work order or product they are working on. This will improve efficiency and customer satisfaction, says customer Kevin Rusin, CFO of McKinley Equipment, in a prepared statement:

When our field teams are in front of customers, speed and agility are critical. With ServiceMax and Zinc integrated, our technicians will be able to quickly start a conversation with colleagues or product experts and this will improve how work is completed.

What’s more, we will have the history of every conversation about every account or piece of equipment, accessible with just one click in Predix ServiceMax. That’s priceless for any technician who will work that account in the future and will have a significant impact on customer satisfaction levels.

Connect to knowledge resources

The integration allows field operations to harness the on-the-spot expertise of outbound workers and quickly connect them to knowledge resources elsewhere in the organization. Real-time collaboration can bring new efficiencies that have previously been out of reach, says Zinc CEO Stacey Epstein, who briefed me at Zinc's San Francisco headquarters a few days ago:

Traditionally field services have tried to improve their metrics by optimising processes. Not only does it deliver knowledge in real time but it carries the context of the worker back to ServiceMax.

The decision to make its first integration to ServiceMax reflects links between the two businesses. GE Ventures is an investor in Zinc and Epstein was previously CMO at ServiceMax. But Zinc will aim to add similar integrations to other products in the future, says Epstein:

This is just scratching the surface of workflow systems that we can integrate. There's others in field service management but our target market is quite broad. Within any industry there's workflow systems that help workers complete their processes better, and better communication greases the wheels of doing that.

The full list of capabilities included in the integration to Predix ServiceMax comprises:

  • Initiate secure, contextual conversations using text, voice, video, or push-to-talk from either Predix ServiceMax or Zinc
  • Share content files and location for instant answers
  • Create conversations with relevant people and information associated with the work order, account, installed product or contact
  • Access communication history via Predix ServiceMax

My take

I've written in the past about the importance of integrating collaboration into applications — and the headway that messaging platforms are making as the primary vehicle for enterprise collaboration. In that context, this integration makes a lot of sense but must become just the first of many for Zinc so that it can extend its reach into many different contexts.