CD-adapco has developed a digital assistant named Steve. Steve’s job is to assist the company’s customers by providing an on-demand repository of knowledge and greater access to their dedicated support engineers (DSEs). Technically he is a digital assistant, but not like Apple’s Siri or IBM’s Watson. Steve is a customer support portal and CD-adapco believes he is suited to helping the missing middle, the hundreds of thousands of small to medium sized manufacturers.
“Manufacturers who perhaps lack a large infrastructure or commitment to simulation based design, should have increased confidence in taking steps towards virtual product design. The collective knowledge of CD-adapco engineers is available to them in providing a virtual infrastructure as they employ CD-adapco software in their analysis processes,” says a company representative.
Just to be clear, there are no plans for Steve to replace CD-adapco’s dedicated support engineers. In fact, the company believes the opposite will be true. According to an official statement, the portal increases pathways for customers to reach their DSE. Traditionally these communications would happen over the telephone, now DSEs can be reached through the Steve portal. Also, if a customer’s DSE is unavailable, the portal has a chat client with access to more support personnel.
Beyond the knowledge base, instructional videos and chat functionality, Steve allows customers to check the progress of their support cases. This includes request updates and prioritization of cases. As customers create a support case, the portal suggests potential fixes for their problems. This feature will likely reduce a number of “is the power on?” issues. Once cases are closed, CD-adapco customers can rate their solutions.
The portal exhibits a social media twist as well. If a customer is extremely satisfied with the solution to their issue, Steve will ask if they want to share it with the support community. Additionally, users can submit and vote on software enhancements using a feature called Ideastorm!
One of the lesser-touted features is the ability to share JAVA macros. Customers can access CD-adapco’s JAVA Hut using the digital assistant and share their code creations.
The missing middle typically does not engage with digital manufacturing due to lack of finances, infrastructure or expertise. CD-adapco is combating the expertise problem by increasing access to their resources. Between Steve’s knowledge base, instructional videos, and additional services, the company hopes to make digital manufacturing more attractive to this large base of manufacturing companies.