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IT Life: Taking Service To The Max

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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Dave Hart, VP of Global Transformation at ServiceMax chats sharks, fear and the connected lipstick

Tell us a little bit about your company

ServiceMax’s goal is to empower every field service engineer to deliver flawless field service. We are a cloud-based company and we sit natively on the platform. We are growing rapidly as we are the only company that has a complete ‘end to end’ solution that encompasses everything that a company will need to drive its service business to become a profit powerhouse.

Dave Hart, ServiceMaxMy expertise lies in my 30-plus years in field service, I am passionate that our field service solution delivers genuine benefits, so I bridge the gap between functional needs and the business benefits, challenging both the IT function and the business to work together.

What technologies were you involved with ten years ago?

Being a field service veteran – I ran a large field service business across Europe in my previous role – I used many disparate systems all of which I found thoroughly underwhelming!

What do you think is the greatest challenge for an IT company or department today?

IT departments are changing, the cloud has seen to that. I meet smart IT professionals who really get the value they can add to a business. They are enablers, they introduce solutions that can radically make a difference, that drive a competitive edge, that influence both the top line and bottom line.

Sadly I see the other side of IT who don’t embrace change, act as blockers don’t add value and still act as custodians of ‘the way it used to be’. I fear for those individuals.

To cloud or nor to cloud?

I guess it depends on what you are trying to achieve. I would find it very difficult to understand why any company would not embrace cloud though.

Who is your tech hero and who is your tech villain?

I don’t believe in heroes. Most of them turned out to be flawed. One person I do admire is Kevin Ashton, who in 1999 coined the term, ‘the Internet of things’ or IoT as we now know it.

Kevin added RFID tags to lipsticks and saw the huge potential in having an Internet of ‘things’ where virtually any device could be connected and become smart. His vision is coming alive.

As for a tech villain I guess it would be the guy who coined the phrase ‘plug and play’. Plug and play is the most over used, hyped statement I have had the misfortune to hear…

What’s your favourite device ever made and what do you use the most?

I am not a ‘gamer’ but when Sony launched the Play Station I bought my first game, Colin McRae rally (I am a big rally fan) I loved that game. My wife accused me of making her a Play station widow!

I use my iPhone 6+ a lot, I would be completely lost without it as I run my life on it.

Apart from your own, which company do you admire the most and why?

Given my above statement I would have to be really cheesy and say Apple. I remember going into my first genius bar and had a Eureka moment, what a tremendous idea! They are a company that demonstrate such a passion for their products, which is reflected in their customer base. What other company has people camping outside the store for two days when it releases a new product? Everything they make is just beautiful, practical and frankly their products have changed the way I, and I would guess many others, operate.

What did you want to be when you were a child?

I have a passion for sharks so I really wanted to be a marine biologist. Pity I was lousy at Chemistry, Physics and Biology then! In 2011 I achieved one of my bucket list items and whilst holidaying in Australia I got into a shark cage and stroked a 16-foot great white shark. It was just as cool and exciting as I imagined it would be.

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