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Remote Services: Agfa's Connection to a Better Customer Experience

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Shawn Siegel

In this interview with Call Center IQ, Brian Kirkham, Director, Expert Services at Agfa, discusses new technologies, cloud computing, and the "internet of things". Agfa can interact with its customers in substantially new ways thanks to all of these breakthroughs.

Brian Kirkham is part of the panel, "What Comes After the Internet of Things?" at the 10thRemote Services & M2M Summit in Miami Beach, FL.

Shawn Siegel, Call Center IQ: Can you discuss a few ways Agfa’s Expert Services has successfully implemented new technologies in the last few years?

Brian Kirkham, Agfa: Agfa has instituted a combination of proprietary and third party remote support tools to increase our remote problem resolution rate for software support to 99.6 % and our ability to complete remote system upgrades to 83%. These same initiatives have resulted in over a 50% reduction in the resources needed to provide end-user support for our software products. Related to the hardware we manufacture or distribute through OEM agreements, remote support tools have enabled us to resolve 45% of issues without having to deploy a Field Service Engineer. This rate of resolution continues to increase as we develop our products with embedded remote support capabilities. Remote support tools also provide a resource to focus on preventive maintenance through remote system health checks and failure prevention by being able to detect potential problems and to resolve them before they happen.

Siegel: How does Agfa utilize remote services beyond mere wireless communication?

Kirkham: We use remote services to provide 24 x 7 support to our end users and also as a tool to educate our customers. Interactive tools provide a resource for us to engage our customers using standard voice technologies while also controlling their entire system to focus on educating them in specific areas that can improve their knowledge, productivity and efficiency. As a result of using these remote services for support, we have developed specific programs to remotely install and configure systems, as well as educating our customers on how to use these technologies. The result has been a reduced cost for our customers and a reduced cost to Agfa through the use of these technologies, resulting in a "win-win" for both organizations.

Siegel: What value does cloud computing provide to Agfa’s customers?

Kirkham: While it's certainly been started already, the potential for cloud computing and the impact it will have on major industries will be significant as it continues to grow. With capabilities today to virtualize systems and place them seemingly anywhere "in the cloud", users of these systems can reduce their costs dramatically by using system applications over the internet. As a company who has begun to deploy cloud based applications, our customers are assured of redundancy, 24 x 7 operations, and systems and applications that are always current.

Siegel: How do you think breakthroughs in the "internet of things" impact Agfa’s business going forward?

Kirkham: As noted in question three, many of our software products are now being developed to be deployed in the cloud. Accordingly, our support capabilities are also in transition as we develop our personnel to be able to understand and support virtual environments, associated technologies, and the use of remote services to resolve issues with applications that reside in the cloud. This will not only include many of the support tools we utilize today, but also new tools and methodologies that allow us closer and faster interaction with systems and our customers as we're asked to support them in making this transition to virtual systems and cloud computing.