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August 31, 2020

Cultural Transformation Live - SPEAKER SPOTLIGHT : Leveraging Augmented Reality in Today’s Post-Pandemic Support Center Plans

 

Courtesy of Ricoh's Dr Marlene Kolodziej, below is a transcript of his speaking session on 'Leveraging Augmented Reality in Today’s Post-Pandemic Support Center Plans' to Build a Thriving Enterprise that took place at BTOES Cultural Transformation Live, A Virtual Conference.

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Session Information:

Leveraging Augmented Reality in Today’s Post-Pandemic Support Center Plans

Description:

In this presentation, Dr. Marlene R. Kolodziej, DBA, ITIL, VP, Centralized Services, Ricoh USA, Inc. will discuss how Augmented Reality (AR) is one silver lining that has come from the pandemic and is allowing for a superior customer experience, despite the limitations of not being able to complete in-person service calls. She’ll also detail how people, technology, knowledge and process play into the delivery of a business continuity plan and use Ricoh’s response to the pandemic as an example of what worked, while also sharing lessons learned.

Takeaways:

  1. Learn about how Augmented Reality can play a critical role in service delivery
  2. Understand the difference between a disaster recovery and business continuity plan
  3. Learn how to build a balanced business continuity plan

Session Transcript:

Excited about our next guest, doctor Marlene College is the Vice President of Centralized Services for Ricoh USA, A recognized Leader in the development, and implementation of customer focused, transformative technology, and supportive and Support solutions. Marlene has over three decades of experience in end user infrastructure, network, data center, programming development. And applications, experience, Marlene. We're thrilled to have you and very much looking forward to your presentation.

Thank you. Just say it's such a pleasure to be here. I'm really, really thrilled that we have the opportunity to speak with everyone regarding leveraging augmented reality in today's post pandemic support.

It's really an exciting time, as challenging as it's been. We certainly want to talk about everything that's going on today, So, truly an exciting time for us, especially with the audience and, and to meet with everyone today. So, without further ado, we'll go ahead and get started.

Hopefully, everyone can see my slides. I want to talk a little bit about Rico and who we are, and what we're doing. You know, a lot of folks globally, think about Rico as a as a traditional print hardware and services company, But we're so much more than that today. Today, we, we provide information management. We really are a digital services company. We service one point four million businesses globally, and we connect technology and process along with people to help individuals really approach their work smarter with solutions in mind, and we make data certainly accessible to peace people faster, and provide that insight around that data more than ever before.

So I want to just at least preface that of how we're transforming ourselves as part of a traditional printer company into much more of an information management and digital service.

That being said, today, we're talking about business continuity and disaster recovery, as well as certainly augmented reality, and the applications augmented reality have within this space for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Now, we're familiar, I think, or at least most of you are familiar, with traditional disaster preparation, right? We think of traditional disasters as being weather related. For those in the US, especially the Southern United States. There's a hurricane that's bearing down on the Texas and Louisiana area. And that's supposed to be a category four, so very significant and very appropriate time for us to talk about some of these concepts around business continuity and disaster recovery. So we think about whether we think about power outages.

Even systems failures can create, you know, the need to have appropriate disaster preparation, fire theft and arson, civil unrest. Again, for those of us that have been experiencing worldwide demonstrations, Certainly civil unrest can impact our ability to provide services.

And I'm not talking about traditional access to IT services, but the people and the processes associated with delivering those services. And certainly strikes or public transportation can cause disruptions as well.

And we want to think about a disaster as being an unplanned event that really has a negative impact on your ability to deliver your core business services with all that being said.

I didn't have a pandemic on my 2020 card I mean I had a few other things but pandemic wasn't one of them. So we think about all the work that we do to prepare prepare for disasters for unforeseen events. I think I would be comfortable with saying that most of us did not have a pandemic as part of our preparations especially this year.

But there's a difference. Right. You think about business continuity, right, and we've kinda wrap that with disaster recovery all in the same sentence. So, I think that there's a, there's a concept that these two activities are the same activity, and they really are different. We think about business continuity, where it's part of a plan of what we're doing, what the action might be. How we are we going to ensure that we can conduct our business during a disaster during an event. How are we delivering those services? Or helping the customer, or selling our products during the event.

Screenshot - 2020-08-31T142040.850Then what resources are necessary to continue the delivery of those services? And then what are the processes we're using to restore those systems, to replace and recover them? It's not the action of replacing and recovering.

It's the process around it, whereas disaster recovery, it's a subset of that business continuity planning. It's a piece of that.

And it really is around, how are we restoring those services. So you think about the process to replace and recover systems. Disaster recovery is how are we restoring those services and those support systems, and how are we minimizing the impact to the business, and any downtime that the business might experience.

Then, how do we normalize those operations? How do we get to a place where we're conducting business as usual, where it's not being impacted by the disaster itself? And we've mitigated that sort of operational impact?

So when we think about balancing business continuity delivery, there's four key areas first and foremost, as people, right? We need for us. We needed skilled customer service resources because they were critical to delivering my portion of the business for Ricoh. My organization is providing the customer facing Call Centers. We are providing not only support for hardware and software of Ricoh based products and services. But, we also provide IT services and cell service desk services for other companies. So, we're providing support for education for businesses, small and medium businesses. We are providing Enterprise Service Desk support as well as providing support for our field, technicians and engineers.

But, if But, if there's a call that comes in to Ricoh, generally, it's my group that's handling that call in terms of servicing our customers, as well as our internal technicians and Engineers. So, when we think about the people we needed to drive business and to drive services and continue to support our customers, it was really around the person around having that skilled resource. And for us, it was around identifying those diverse G geographies and making sure that we had a pull pool of resources that we can use.

And certainly, we needed the technology, right? We've recently moved to a cloud based technology in terms of our automatic call distribution system and our ticketing system. And so, our telecommunications and our software and applications, are ready in the cloud.

And so, we think about using self more self-service, more integrated voice response, Chatbots. And, most importantly, as part of this conversation, augmented reality.

Btog CTAAnd certainly the knowledge, right? If we were onboarding new people, or we have to move people around, we certainly want to have them have knowledge at their fingertips, not just for themselves, but for our customers. And so, we want to reduce or eliminate call volumes to manage the impact from the disaster, and be able to still service our clients to still focus on the delivery of that product to the client.

Then our process, right? We have to develop and it's a continuous process to develop your business continuity plans. It really is not just one and done. You really have to think about how you notify your people, how you escalate, what the execution is, and then how you have to practice it.

I've always said, you have to write your plans as if you're dead. And I know that's not the the cheeriest and brightest thing to say, but someone else has to be able to take what you've done and be able to execute it. And the best way to do that is to write your plans as if you've left this mortal plane. And you have to have someone else have enough knowledge and those plans and enough documentation that they are able to execute the business continuity plan without needing the specific person there.

And I think that's a really critical piece that some folks miss, when they create a business continuity plan, they have to remove themselves from it. And the plan needs to be able to stand on its own.

So this is a little more detail that we're going into around the people in each of these items. Right. So we think about the people where you need to have a business continuity team. And again, these are things that I'm sure many of you already know, but you have to realize that this team is not just a one and done. This team will not only develop and document the plan, and certainly target those resources critical to the success of the plan. But they're responsible to test the plan, to review their findings, and then to update that. And that's where I was talking about before, it's a continuous process, continually learning, because you're not a static business. None of us are. And so, I think, you know, when you, when you start writing these plans, you have to recognize that you're going to be continuously updating it as your products and services, and people change.

Then you want to make sure that your workforce, as best as possible, is geographically diverse. So, not just in the United States where I'm from, but globally, we have to think about where you place people not only to service your customer best and deliver that customer joy, but it's also, you know, working towards making sure that you can still deliver those services, should an event or a disruption occur, geographically specific to a location.

And so, certainly for us, our our main location was in one area in the United States, and we've been working over the last six months to move those resources throughout the United States, as well as look at our opportunities to globally provision those services if only to make sure that we are geographically diverse.

So we still needed to do a better job of that. And while we had no disruption, I will share this with all of you, because I'm just really proud of my team.

In this instance, when when we received the order's back in March, in the United States, for us personally, to move our operations remote, we had been practicing for about two months. Back in January of this year, we had heard about a potential virus that could be impactful and thinking that it was not going to affect us and it was something that we probably don't have to worry about.

No, we're not all right all the time. So we said, this is a good time for us to practice, and to make sure that all of our folks can work remotely without an issue. And that's what we did over those two months, is sending people home on a rotating schedule and making sure that they could work at either another office or at their home office to continue those services.

And so when we received our, our directive to move our services remote, we moved our entire call center on second shift, within two hours, and with no disruption in service, but it was only because we practiced. And I'll share with all of you. It wasn't perfect. And we had some learnings. But the practice allowed us to feel comfortable at least moving those services while still being able, again, as part of the business continuity, to provide those services to our customers without disruption.

So, you know, when you create that geographically diverse workforce, you have to make sure that it's easy to work, remote or home, and that you have to look to start building your staff outside of perhaps your core locations. And making sure you develop your relationships with your staffing agencies, that's really critical as well, is to ensure that you can be very nimble and mobile to, to augment your resources if you need to.

19And that gets into our technology. Like I said earlier, part of our plan and again, I'm not that much of a genius to say that oh, we have to move to our cloud based technology because of a pandemic was coming. We had planned to move to cloud based technologies prior to this disruption. For us, it was part of our business continuity plan. It was for us to become more diversified in terms of our staff and to provision those services anywhere in the world. We just didn't know we need it so soon.

And so our automated call distribution system was moved to a cloud based technology. We're implementing our plans around integrated voice response to provide more services to our customers when they call and to help our call center. Agents provide excellent service. And then our ticketing and incident tool are also our asset. management. Is in the cloud as well, and we have knowledge centered services. While we still need to work at, we utilize a knowledge base as part of that centered service for both our agents and our customers.

And then for us, for our, you know, our agents, we had to make sure they had the technology. They have a laptop and monitor mobile device headset, but augmented reality was key for us to be able to deliver services.

To deliver services to our customers, and to those folks in the field, and to be able to help provide customers with the support that they need, and not have to send a technician there to deliver that service.

Then our customer technology. We talked a little bit about the knowledge base, but that's also for self-service and for our customers. Our web portal and chatbots were critical to us to, to be sure we kept that relationship with our customers. And then our plans for robotic process automation and machine learning. For us, our robotic process automation is key for driving some of the information from those that are still in the office that are printing. And to be able to understand what that print environment looks like for them and the applications that are running on that machine, and to be able to connect and support without having the customer driving that support conversation. So, we have plans again, No, we just never expected to have to have to generate those plans sooner rather than later.

And I do touch on it a little later on how we've had to shift much of our strategy around, as well, where we thought we had the next 12 to 18 months, to deliver on certain technologies and strategies, that's shortened. In certain points to three months. Where we've really had to shift, and to move around some of our processes and our plans of our three year roadmap, and execute much, much earlier than we thought we needed to.

And knowledge, right? We want to have knowledge driven processes. You don't want to depend on people to be the knowledge, you want to depend on people being able to access and utilize the knowledge. And we say people, we mean both internal support personnel and our customers. So, when we connect our knowledge base and our call routing, we want our customers to be able to call us. And let's say they have an error code on one of our pieces of hardware. And we know that error code always requires a visit. We want to route that call directly to a field person and not hold that call in queue.

Whereas, if we know that 99% of the time, we could resolve that issue on the phone with the customer. We want to hang onto that. So we want that integrated voice response to, to get the information from the customer and then to be able to generate an action that best serves the customer and resolve their issue. And certainly the next iteration of that integrated voice response is to be able to monitor the conversation between the customer and our agent. That we can serve that knowledge base, and that knowledge information to the agent during the conversation, based on what the conversation is taking place. So it's really important for us to execute in a way that serves the customer best when they have to call us.

And so the investment in a knowledge delivery system to reduce the human interaction is critical as well, especially in a business continuity or disaster recovery event. So, you might not always have the people available to take a call. You might be not be staffed appropriately, or the customers themselves don't or can't call, but they still need help, So you want to make sure that you're expanding the offerings that they have as they're interacting with us. If they do happen to pick up the phone, we want them while they're in queue to be able to get the service that they need.

We want to make sure that our chatbots are delivering the knowledge, articles and links that the customers also desire as part of that interaction. And we want to make sure that those knowledge management management tools are embedded in every piece of the interaction along the way.

And then we want to make sure that our Quality management program is serving the customer as well as our agents. So, we, we've actually put in place a new quality management program that measures agent performance, and it assesses the entire end to end interaction with the customer. So, now we're able to, to, to assess the satisfaction of the customer during the call. We're able to understand, through speech analytics, how the customer is experiencing that call. So, there's all these pieces in place that we put into drive that quality management, when we do have to interact with the customer.

And then certainly our processes, right? We had to identify our key processes for our support Center operations. And we need to make sure that we were able to remotely off and on board, our folks, and then our workforce management, As well, We couldn't walk the floors anymore. And not that we did. We met, we had used the same tools, Whether someone is sitting two feet from us, or 20 miles from us. And so those tools for us, we're still valuable. And even more so when, when our folks went remote. And so we have to make sure that we're able to provide that workforce management through the tools that we have today, as well as additional modules in our, in our solutions and our offering.

And then, we need to be able to train and assess that feedback, and evaluate that performance. And that's all through tools, and metrics, and key performance indicators, as well as our dashboards.

And one of the things that we also have to manage here, when we think about our Support Center operations, it's not all rainbows and unicorns, right? So, for us, it's, it's creating that remote workforce. Also means we have to build things that we haven't thought about building before.

And that would be How do we make sure that we're adequately developing our folks from a career development perspective, right there. There. Now, a remote workforce. How do we make sure that they have all the opportunities, the training, the knowledge, the interaction, all those, all those things that you kinda traditionally have in the office, but it's not formal.

We have to make sure that we build these programs. So, many of these folks can remain with Ricoh grow, with Rico, and then grow their careers with us. Throughout the organization.

Screenshot (4)Because they have the best knowledge for us, and for the customer to be able to build those relationships and that service, then executing a notification, right? Part of the process that you have to build, is around who the decision maker might be to be able to execute that disaster. For us, you know, it was, it was, like I said earlier, was 10 o'clock at night. It was second shift. I got the call that, Hey, we might have an issue. So, because I own that site, and I own that service, it was up to me to declare the disaster. It was up to me to be able to pull the trigger, and to start the execution of all of our, all of our pieces of that disaster that needed to be executed. And I'll talk a little bit about our learnings from that experience.

But because we had practiced this for two months prior, the folks that needed to execute knew the process of who declares it, who's authorized, What the next steps are, and what our actions are. You know, in terms of notifying all of our customer service folks and to be able to execute accordingly where we have minimal disruption of services.

And so you want to focus on tools and processes that automate that escalation and communication, but you also want to be able to provide updates. It's not just, it's not just a single notification, and then you're, you're just rocking and rolling. You have to be able to continuously communicate to everyone involved, because some people are delivering services, and some people are actually still executing the recovery piece. Remember, business continuity is one side, and then you have your disaster recovery and the restoration of service on the other side.

And you want to acknowledge that, there's going to be exceptions. Right? There's, there's things that either you don't have the tools for, or the people, or even the knowledge that you want to, you want to make sure that you recognize those exceptions, but you have a workaround in place for them, and then you want to understand what your main dependencies are. So, for example, the hurricane that I used earlier, Hurricane, Laura, that's coming. That's definitely a physical impact to a location facility, infrastructure, voice, telecom, and most importantly, people.

And so, and then, then, when we think about people, it's not just our people, but it's our customers and our customers are going to be impacted. So we want to think about, when you have a dependency and knowing Hurricane Laura's, one of them, how do we continue to serve the customer in this event, this physical event? That's happening. And how are we pre communicating to our customers during this event? So they understand what our position is, How we can best serve them and how we are going to together make sure that their business continues to operate as they needed to.

And so, you know, for from a pandemic perspective, certainly for us it was around making sure that we didn't disrupt our service to services to our customer. But we also have to understand what it meant to them.

So, for printing, and for our print services, we didn't have as many people in the Office Printing, but we had an increase on our IT services service desk. So, we we sort of went a little lower in terms of our print and application support. But we had a big increase in our IT support service desk, because we had so many people that so many of our customers were sending their people home or remote to work as well. So, they were just as impacted as we were, when we think about what services we're providing, and what their needs are.

And so, let's talk about Augmented Reality, and what we did to make sure that we could still provide services. So, for us, we have what's called Express Support. And this is just one example of augmented reality. You could talk to a few different folks in the organization, and they've used augmented reality in different ways. For us, we use that in our express support and this this group is designed where they take the expertise and the knowledge and created a center of excellence.

And we have Ricoh trained field technicians that basically provide faster resolutions by using local, locally available resources. So, again, it's about that geography. It's about moving those people where they best serve our customers. And then we also save money by not deploying expensive engineers. We put people in the field, and those engineers, or that center of excellence connect with those folks and provide those type of services locally to the customer. And this increases customer satisfaction and productivity. Because we can get to those calls faster, we're much more efficient, and we can minimize that disruption to their operations. And then it also exposes our field technicians to additional learning opportunities.

You have these, you know, these highly experienced engineers that know this hardware and the systems inside and out yet, you might have field technicians that haven't had an opportunity to be exposed to some of these larger solutions. Or this this, you know, this type of hardware that's takes a very deep and lengthy knowledge. We're able to expose them to this knowledge and it elevates their skill set as well. So, for us, using connecting these two groups using augmented reality, you know, we think it improves the user experience, but allows us to cover those large geographies. There's a cost reduction, there's an increased satisfaction for the customer. And, again, minimizing that, business disruption, and helping those field technicians gain additional experience that they might not have been exposed to otherwise.

And so, for us, though, we implemented this augmented reality back in, earlier in the year. In January and February of this year, we only had about 500 Augmented Reality calls per month, in January and February. For us, this was a culture Shift Challenge. We couldn't. We just couldn't get these engineers these highly trained and highly experienced engineers, to connect with our field services folks in a way that used augmented reality to service the customer. It was just so foreign and it was such a struggle that it really required a culture shift. It wasn't technology, it was culture.

Well, then the pandemic comes, we have stay at home orders and we restricted our travel. So we weren't flying some of these engineers and some of these people all over the country and it forced an increase in augmented reality use by five times. And in April alone, we had a 775% increase in the use of Augmented reality to resolve customer issues.

In this scenario, where we have engineers, and then those engineers are using the people that are already in the field and at the client site to solve that issue.

And then, over the course of April and into May, there was a lot of cross training that was happening with these field services folks. And we increased our dispatch avoidance program as well, where we staffed our hardware or hardware team to be able to eliminate almost a thousand calls going into the field, and being able to resolve them on the phone.

Screenshot - 2020-08-31T142040.850And remotely, these folks are working out of their home offices, so May through July. Overall, it's about a 150% increase in Augmented Reality usage.

Compared to ..., we had the spike to 775%, And then it's come down a bit, and it's leveled off because we've seen an increase in field services skillsets. We've also seen an increase in our staffing at tier one. And at first level, because of our planning really said, we have to do this to be able to be successful. And keeping those calls, instead of sending them to the field, all has resulted in this decrease in the need for these engineers to travel to these customer locations, and we're using resources that already geographically in the area to do that same same service.

And, so, for us, what made us successful?

Well, it's around documenting and practicing. We talked about that earlier, right? It's it's updating our staff contact information on a regular basis.

It's rotating the staff and we have to prepare for the unexpected. So you know it's it's around the potential potential pandemic threat and we acted, never thinking we would need it. Believe me, we never thought we would have to pull the trigger and we never thought the pandemic would be a threat.

But yet, we practice because it was just a good thing for us to do. And then, we had identify and solve for problems, Right? We, we had, when we talk about augmented reality, those regional specialists, those highly qualified engineers, that were providing those services, didn't have the cameras that they needed to to work remotely. They had it in the office, but they didn't have it remotely. So we had to order about 50 cameras. And we actually had to order from Amazon, because we couldn't get a quick enough anywhere else.

They were specialty cameras, but we armed all of those folks, so they're able to provide this augmented reality experience through that, their camera and the mobile devices that are field technicians were using, then, you know, we have to communicate all our information and we have to be able to share and to listen.

That's really critical as well.

And, our learnings were, it was a culture shift, and I touched on that earlier. We had to fill some technology and process gaps. Augmented reality, you know, like I said earlier, just didn't, just didn't work.

Immediately, we had some resistance from a culture perspective, we needed some cameras. We needed some other things. And then automated notification. Our notification to all of our staff was Manual. There's a calling tree.

We know that there's automated software, and we've since approach a number of companies, and we're, we're going to be implementing an automated notification system, but, again, ours was manual, or learning is, we need automation, we're going to implement automation, then certainly, we need to develop different ways to connect, right? We need to make sure video gets used. I can, You know, you can see me and we have video happy hours and informal gatherings. We have to increase recognition for people and we need to combat that loneliness and isolation. This is a change for all of our folks as well. We need to make sure we mitigate that, and then not everyone's ready to work remote, and so, we have to think about that career development, that we talked about earlier. We need to make sure that our remote working environment is conducive to support center work, especially, and our leaders need to be more cognizant of agent service performance. So, it's not only using our, our tools and our dashboards and our walk, the floor type of technology that we've had before this happened before the pandemic.

But, it's around battling some of the, the effects that the pandemic has had on how people interact, or the lack of interaction, and how we ensure the career development for these folks. As they continue working remote, and they're servicing our customers, making sure that we're increasing our quality. We're helping our customers get the information they need. We're doing what we need to do for our customers to be successful. And all of that is a culture shift, within ourselves, and our company, and even for our customers. So we need to make sure that we're driving, and we recognize, it's not just tools and technology, but it's the culture around the people, And how we deliver that service.

So I would open it up to any questions, and some feedback.

Terrific Marlene, thank you so much. I'm gonna bring my camera back up here. So we had, we had items that came up as you're speaking, and the complete continue to provide your questions as we have them in the Q&A with Marlene here. And then submit your questions. I have another model here that will allow me to keep track of your questions. First one, Marlene. If you can tell me a little bit more about just the context of the of the employment of the implementation and the applications here, Kind of like the size of the staff, the geographical locations where they work they'll just a little bit more on the background about where this was done?

Oh, sure. Thank you for that. You know. We, we, we have about 600 people in the organization.

And that organization is primarily located in Georgia, in Virginia, in Texas, in the Austin area, as well as just outside of Minneapolis and Langhorne, Pennsylvania. So, my core groups are located in those areas, our primary areas in Georgia for all of our call center and warehouse and, and, and services. And then we have about, you know, small portion of the organization that's providing IT services in those other locations. And then we have people who are remote anyway because they're providing application support at the customer site.

19Very good, in your typical customer, what type of our type of operations they have, and what type of support you provide to them. So, for our customers, you know our customers, Brian, you know, from from large, multinational companies to small businesses and educational systems, and so for the support that we provide, we might have a large customer that is, using our print services are hardware and software. So, we're providing that, that type of print service and that could be production print as well. You think about those large, you know, businesses that are producing some of those prints. But, you know, we also have managed services, where we're riding people, and people on site for male and other type of physical people type access.

And we also have our professional services, and then especially our field services, So, for all of those folks, I provide the support, when we think about all those groups, I'm a part of all of those groups, which is why we're called centralized services.

Very good, Very good. And then the, Marlene on the, on the AR application itself. Cookie can give us some color on what they look like. What does what does the AAR component of the service that maybe it did the new component that was introduced as, as part of your service. What does that look like is in terms of the, it's, it's like an engineer that is, is there with the technician on the field? Is that an overlay of some documents? What does that look like? The actual, That's a great question because there are, as you just described, many different ways to provision augmented reality, depending on the product and the service and and what we're, what we're using it for. For us in, particular. Especially with these engineers.

We might have an engineer who's on site at, one of our locations, like in Georgia, we have all of these large printers and these large solutions. They have a camera that they're using, and the field technician would have, say a mobile device, and they're, they're filming the: the, the, the piece of equipment at the customer's site.

And so, when our technician, our engineer, is pointing to something on his machine, the field technician is seeing the hand, come into his, his video to point out that machine or to do that work, or to help them understand what their next steps are. You know, one example is we had a field technician that had a visit a customer and had never worked on this particular device, had never seen it. And when an engineer connected with him, he was able to help the field technician build the confidence. And, and the knowledge to be able to resolve that issue at the customer site. It was resolved.

So I think that there's, there's, I mean, that's a small example. But we have many opportunities for us to connect across the nation, to these folks in the field, with these engineering knowledge up here to be able to solve customer problems without sending an engineer to the site.

Wow, that's, that's really fascinating. I can only imagine that there There are probably variations of equipment and the, you know, different models that you can create right for this type of training. Or support. How did you prioritize how to go about this AR initiative? How did you kind of start, and how did you grow? And prioritize where you focus the AR applications and that, and that would create value.

Well, I know, and that's a great question, because for us internally, we knew that we needed to be able to provide solutions for the customer without the customer waiting on us to resolve the issue, right. There's a problem or a service call. We know we needed to be much faster and much more efficient, and much more cost effective for us and the customer to solve that problem as quickly as possible, because if they are not up and running there, if they're not making widgets, they're not profitable. They should only be concerned with making widgets. We need to make sure that they can make the best widgets. And so, that was one of the drivers for us. Certainly, there's another component of this, where we want to be able to bring the customer into it, and we want the customer to be able to utilize this augmented reality for their own problem solving than their own self-service. We're not quite there yet, but it's on the roadmap. But for us, it was really around how do we deliver this great service.

Our challenge was culturally, our folks just couldn't make the shift. And we talked about that earlier. It is difficult to use. It takes them a long time to resolve the issue. It's almost like, Oh! I'm better off doing it myself. It takes too long to, to show you. And I don't know. I will say, I don't think we would have been as successful. If we didn't have the pandemic and I've said this before, I hate to use the word pandemic and silver lining in the same sentence because it really is, you know, just this. There's no words to describe the impact to the world, right? But yeah, for us, and I think for many businesses, it forced us to find a way to make it work for the customer as well as to make it work for us to continue delivering those services.

That's right. If it offers you any support, I often say here that I have some allergy organizations I work with that had been on the digital transformation for five years and could never do certain things and then the pandemic happened and then in five days they did all the things. They could not doing five years.

Can play a role for or against it, but But I understand absolutely what you're saying. I agree. And I said that earlier. Yeah, we have. We have things on our roadmap that we thought we'd take 12 to 18 months that we actually did in three months. So, it really is incredible. Now, and we acknowledge that, that we think that certain things were now done out of order. We're going to have to go back and sort of fix that up and change the change our plan a little bit, But, in the end, the customer benefits the most. You know, we want to, we want to keep them in business. We want to make sure that they are successful. We want to make sure they can keep making widgets. You know, we're here to serve. So whatever we have to do to make that work is really critical.

I really enjoy your session because it brings together a number of different components we have been talking about in this conference. So of course, the main theme of this conference is cultural transformation. And of course a major forces depend dynamic. There is Ed, but there are if we put the pandemic aside, which is of course a major one. So, we covered that. If we talk about technology being a force that already existed and to a certain extent has been accelerated the digital components of technology be accelerated by the pandemic. When you look at exponential technologies, the value creation, and then the impact that that has on professionals and the culture of organizations. So, I'm curious about bringing it all together in your perspective, are very, I love your perspective, because the very practical perspective, doing this things, you're, you're seeing what works, you're seeing what doesn't work. You're trying to understand why it works so that you can scale that.

Screenshot (4)Now, the question is, what have you learned from cultural transformation perspective? Pandemic aside, what have you learned from cultural transformation perspective on bringing new technologists to the workplace? What, what have you learned there? Maybe what advice from your lessons you would provide to us, based on based on these experiences so far?

I thank you for that question. I would say two things, and, and what I'm going to say is probably what everybody realizes. But change is scary, right? Change is hard. If we could all change, we would all have done it already. So, let's acknowledge that, first, that for us, the force, that change is very difficult, but if we don't change, we're not going to be successful. So, for us, it was around moving our workforce remote Ricoh traditionally did not support remote workforce for, for a variety of reasons and this force that.

And now, we're at the point where we've not only moved our workforce remote that we're keeping them there, but we're looking geographically to bring on folks that are part-time, not full-time, looking at different, different geographies that are going to provide the best local service. It's changing how we're servicing the customer. And it's really forcing us from a transformation perspective around people and process. And just how we deliver services. What does that look like now, and in the future? And what can we implement that best serves our customers, and gives us happy employees that can follow the process and to help deliver that solution to our customers.

That's fantastic. What a great way of wrapping up a tremendous session. Thank you, Marlene for taking the time to share your experiences. I mean, I have so many more questions, I'm sure the audience does as well, about where you're gonna go with this and this exciting journey I had. Thanks for your leadership. Thanks for taking the time to share this with a global audience and and help us all understand better how technology and cultural transformation can work together.

Thank you, I'm humbled and I appreciate everyone's time, Have a good day.

Thank you, Ladies and gentlemen, that wraps up our final session for today.

But tomorrow, we have for outstanding sessions. Let me take a look at the schedule here and share with you. So, as a reminder for what we have going on tomorrow, we're going to start the day with doctor Karen ... from Advent Health Healthcare, and she's going to talk about creating cultures that create, doctor ... is an expert in innovation and transformation. And she's gonna go deep into How do you build a culture that creates, and which I think all of us, can see the, the value of having a culture of life that based on a lot of discussions we've had. Alright.

Now, after doctor Karen will bring in from Indonesia. Risky, Mohammed read one, and the mister Reid one is the vice-president of Group Operational Excellence for in those set already do. And he is going to talk to us about the Regional Agile Digital Squads that the company has created, and has that, is a, that has that become a new, normal way of working cultures. And so, very interesting sites. He's going to be broadcasting directly from Indonesia to us. And follow that up will come back to the United States. And we'll come back to financial services.

And the Bill Mohammed, who is a leader at Wells Fargo, is going to talk about moving at the speed of business, how Wells Fargo has adapted as part of the pandemic and moving things forward, and transforming its businesses in, adjusting and adapting to these new realities. So we're going to have that as our third session, and we'll wrap up the day with a broadcast directly from Europe and the Leader for Business Transformation and Operational Excellence from Lego.

Lego has an incredible system for, for their business, for their culture, and the for the transformation that's ongoing for them. and Peter Evans is going to be sharing that directly from Europe with us tomorrow. So I hope he had some good insights today. It's always a blow up, a privilege, and a pleasure to be here with you, and talk about culture transformation, and we will follow back up tomorrow. For those of you who have questions, commentary, go to LinkedIn and post your commentary. Post your question there, and the both myself and speakers will be scanning and looking for those. And we'll provide answers as as, as, as many answers as we can. So thank you again for spending your time with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Bye, Bye.

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About the Author

more (4)-Aug-31-2020-12-39-20-69-PMDr Marlene Kolodziej,
Vice President, Centralized Services,
Ricoh USA Inc.

Dr. Marlene Kolodziej is a recognized leader in the development and implementation of customer-focused transformative technology and support solutions, with over three decades of experience in end-user, infrastructure, network, data center, programming/development, and applications experience. Formerly the Assistant Vice President of End User Services for Northwell Health, Marlene has recently taken over as Vece President Cetralized Services for Ricoh USA.

Dr. Kolodziej has broad industry experience, including chemical, publishing, finance, data retention and storage, and healthcare, with a focus on leading and directing global technology and business teams to implement innovative client support solutions that increase standardization, strengthen the organization, and decrease maintenance costs. She has provided strategic worldwide client support services, call center, operations, disaster recovery, and infrastructure management, with a focus on driving operational excellence to ensure that service levels and performance are met or exceeded.

Dr. Kolodziej holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Sciences, and has both her Masters and her Doctorate in Business Administration.

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