What’s in this episode?  

In this conversation with Industrial Talk’s Scott MacKenzie, Accruent CMO Kristi Flores discusses Accruent’s strategic vision, including:  

  • The company’s focus on disruptive innovation, which Accruent will deliver with more integrated solutions like our CMMS and EDMS integration
  • How Accruent works to be nimble and dynamic when solving customers’ unique pain points across various industries
  • Accruent’s focus on continuous experimentation and how to leverage micro-innovations to effectively implement advances like AI and machine learning
  • How the company is leveraging powerful data to help our customers optimize operations in the long-term

Join the conversation!  

Full Transcript


Welcome to the Industrial Talk Podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting-edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go.


Alright, once again, thank you very much for joining Industrial Talk. And thank you for your continued support of a platform that is dedicated to industrial professionals all around the world, because you're bold, you're brave, you dare greatly, you innovate, you solve problems, and you're changing lives, and therefore you're changing the world each and every day. That's why we celebrate you on this podcast.  

If you can hear in the background, we have a buzzy buzz in the background. And we are broadcasting on site. Accruent Insights is the event it is a user community that is – just looking out, people are pointing at the screen they want problem solved. And they are using Accruent to be able to help them create a business that's far more resilient. All right, Kristi is in the hot seat. Going to be talking about everything – might as well, what the heck. Kristi? How are you doing?


Great, Scott. Thanks for having me.


I was excited. I'm excited to have this conversation. For whatever reason. I'm always excited. Just because


There's so much energy here. Yes. At Opryland, it is buzzing in our glossary, you know, a little bit, but I enjoyed it, because there's so many incredible things to look at here. But I think I've got it down. I'm my fourth day in and I've got this place figure out.  


That's right. And then you're, you were pulling out the big log of the map and like this, and then you laying it out, and you're trying to say I'm right here or whatever, turn left at the green shrub, which the whole place is an atrium, and it's a green shrub. It's a beautiful place. It really is. It is hidden every time when I when I have conversations about asset management or whatever the, you know, reliability of and I look at this place, and I think, how are they doing? How were they down to the, you know, change out that shrub, or there's a light over in the north 40 That, you know, is out?


I know, I don't know, we should have scheduled our own tour of this place just to get an inside view of the facilities and operations. One of our customers said that her husband dropped her off. He's in facilities management. And he said, I just want to like come just to see the back side of all of the operations inside peace. So maybe we plan that for next time.


You have to. Oh, and knock on the drag me along? We will. That would be great. All right. For the listeners, give us a little background on who you are.


So I Kristi Flores. I'm the Chief Marketing Officer at Accruent. I don't know about that. But it's great to be here. I've been with the current for nine months. But I've been with our you know, the larger organization at Fortive. Previously at Tektronix for about 15 years. So, I've been with the company for about 15 years, I have always been in technology. Tektronix really develops test equipment for engineers. Being at Accruent has been incredible to spend time, really, with our customers this week has been incredible, especially because the first nine months, you're just you know,


it hasn't happened in four years. Yes,


you're right, you're right. We have not had an in-person Insights event for four years. And so it's been


how you talk technology over a Zoom. And then your face is like the size of a postage stamp, but he can't really just hang out, you know, dig deep, and again, being out on the floor, looking at the multiple tables and the screens. And it's just this collaborative, collegial environment. It's really, it's enjoyable, like, what are we talking about?


I know. I love coming out here every day in between the sessions to see you with your podcast. And also behind us just to see all of our teams, professional services, consulting teams that are just available to our customers. And then just to see our customers engaging in networking, those virtual events are helpful when we needed them, and they were the right place and time. But there's so much more that happens when us just sharing information. The ability to enable our customers to benchmark and share amongst each other is incredible.  


So let's talk a little bit about a strategic vision here. Because one thing that I did glean from the many conversations, the wonderful conversations I've had, is that there's a lot of activity, a lot of movement, and it’s dynamic to say the least. Where is Accruent heading from, from your perspective? What are we trying to accomplish just because I see it, man, there's a lot - that's why you get paid the big bucks, and I just bring the beard.


You know, one of the themes for this week has been innovation. So how we are creating, in some cases, it's going to be just enhancing what we're doing with our products that our customers love and use every day for this industry leading products, even up to really disruptive innovation that we're we just announced this morning, actually. So Richard Leurig, our Chief Product and Technology Officer, announced three big products today. One of them was on integrating our products, especially as we think about workflows of our customers, and it's getting much more complex, and that the pace that they need to go deliver and the productivity they need to go deliver.  

It's very difficult when their systems are siloed. Or they're working across functions. And they don't have the right products or the connected product. So a big part of what we're doing is we're integrating a lot of our products and enhancing them through machine learning and AI just to make them easier for our customers. e continue to hear they're up against challenges on productivity and having to do things much quicker and faster. And some of that means that we can help them with the massive amount of data that we sit on. We can leverage that to make it easier, so big innovations around integrated workflows and integrating our products for our customers. One big example is integrating maintenance connection with Meridian. So how we're integrating our CMMS with our EDMS for, you know, it's


Meridian. That's right,


So electronic document management and CMMS. So, you can think about a technician that's going out to repair something and having to access to documentation on how it might be repaired. Oftentimes, it's going to be two different systems. We're bringing it together so we can reduce downtime, we can make it easier for repair, that the benefits are tremendous.  


How do you take your user community, your dynamic user community? Everyone has a there's some maybe some common threads of like, hey, I got this problem. Oh, yeah, Acme has that? Oh, yeah. You know, those companies have those common threads of commonality of challenges. But how does? How does Accruent become nimble and dynamic enough to be able to satisfy these unique individuals? So now you're, you're pulling it all together? But there's still this, I don’t know, this uniqueness to it? How do you do that?  


you know, when we, as you mentioned, oftentimes, when we look across different industries, oftentimes there are very common problems that technicians are up against in these industries, but then when we actually see them, applying it, there can be very unique needs that they have. And so it's creating enough of a foundation that we can help our customers with those common challenges, but then creating very specific applications by industry or application for, for example, what St Jude who's currently implementing our TMS CMMS, you know, the things that they need in the medical world are gonna be very different than one of our industrial customers. And so there are different applications for that. Whereas ServiceChannel, we're really addressing problems in retail and grocery stores, they're going to be different, but at its core, there's a lot of commonalities that we can repurpose. But there is there's a reason why we have these unique systems by industry, very purpose built,


You know, kudos to team Accruent, because I because when you start talking about medical, and you just look at, right, and you know, wow, yeah, there's stuff going on there. But I don't know what. But there's stuff going on there, versus maybe some manufacturing application or, or fluid applicant doesn't matter. That to me, just speaks highly of the team, because those are so unique. Yeah, I don't know how you. So, we have this, the focus on innovation, which just, again, I had this conversation with somebody and I said, innovation is traveling at 100 miles an hour, which is probably 150 miles an hour, human ability to be able to adopt is at 40 miles per hour. And then the gap is constantly being widened. And it's not the technology. It's always a human equation. Always a human equation. How do you how do you how does Accruent deal with that reality?


You know, we have a culture of experimentation and it's a bigger part. It's one part of our innovation management kind of philosophy and approach. So we have a very strong foundational system around innovation. But we also instill this mindset across the corporation, including when we're developing new products, around deeply understanding our customers and their problems, and then also driving experimentation. And so that helps reduce the uncertainty and fear when our customers are going out to drive those changes and looking at even new technology.  

You know, we've talked a lot about AI and machine learning this week. And it can be paralyzing even, you know, for our customers to think where do I get started? And that's just it, you know, doing oftentimes is the best kind of thinking. And so we're pushing our teams to get started, start integrating AI and machine learning. How can we leverage ChatGPT, even from a marketing perspective? Let's start driving a lot of experimentation. You know, we heard from Josh Linkner, our keynote speaker yesterday, you know, you start with micro innovations, and they oftentimes build up into something bigger. So we try to just


It's a start conversation, just because when we start when you mentioned AI, it was there's this tipping point. And the tipping point was, from my perspective, ChatGPT. Yeah, all of a sudden, there was like, have you heard about that? Have you heard and then all of a sudden, it just, it just grew, it became viral, and it just blew up. And then for companies, large companies, Accruent to be nimble enough to be able to say, Yeah, we better we better jump on board. Because it's just five months ago, it was like, you know, whatever. Yeah.


And it's merging, you know, you start kind of as you go through a lot of the ideation and brainstorming, you start thinking, okay, what are the biggest pain points? Could we potentially use this technology to go solve some of the labor shortages that we have in some of our industries? And how might we make it faster for them to get their work done, so they can actually do more? When we look at some of the new innovations that we've introduced this week, we're doing you know, we're introducing changes that are impacting time by 40%. And in some cases, 60%. So that's material for our customers who are already have too much work.  


improvement? Yeah, compared to, you know, some of the improvements we're making on those products, you know, maybe it took them 10 minutes, and now it's going to take them six minutes or four minutes to do those workers do that change management and leverage some of the systems. So it's we're constantly looking, what are the biggest pain points and then meshing it up with how might we leverage some of the new technology there?


How are you? How are you doing with the AI thread and data analytics? I can collect data off of anything, but is it meaningful? No, I'm not. I don't have the bandwidth to say that that, too, is nice. You know, I don't have it. So how is how is Accruent saying? Okay, data, everybody's saying data, data, data, data, get data. But we've got to make it meaningful.


Yeah. And it's, Scott, it's oftentimes just connecting it to the pain points, we have a great partnership with one of the largest global retailers and grocers, and they're telling us that they're, they've lost about $600 million, because of failures of their equipment in typically around refrigeration. And 200 million of that is because of maintenance failure.  

was still sort of, I know,


$600 million. So you can imagine how big this is for retail.  


one and then I just sort of phased out on what you were saying about


$600 million. Because there and this is typically in our grocery store. So you can imagine, you know, a refrigeration unit fails and everything in there perishes, right? So when we think about, okay, we're talking to some of our customers, and we're saying this is a huge problem, $600 million, if we can go solve that. And then we think, okay, how could we leverage technology? How could we leverage all those data points? And so what we're doing is we're leveraging tools, like our Observe software to say, okay, look, if we've got all these data points, and we could potentially predict when that refrigeration unit, if we’re starting to see indicators of it typically fails when we see these things that can really help our customers. And so those are the things that we're leveraging some of these powerful artificial intelligence machine learning to go do that predictive piece of it.  


And to be able to put into action is saying, Okay, I'm looking at the data, I'm sensing the fact that some sort of, you know, algorithm is in the background, it's saying, it looks like it's trending in the wrong directions or whatever it might be whatever, yes, and then be able to call out and it looks like it's a bearing, it's on this particular unit. It will contact this you know, maintenance individual, and it's almost it's almost invisible to the it just,


Yeah, you just fix it before it breaks. Yes, yes. So, for from a from a cost standpoint, but also you think about the customer experience and you know, you don't you don't want to go buy product that you take home and it's, you know, it's been thought out and then you know not to the quality that you expect


That opens up a whole other can of worms that you don't want to deal with, quite frankly


Yes, from a safety from a customer experience. And so, yes, so it's meshing these big, big problems and thinking, how might we leverage new technology and just getting started?


Where do you find yourself at? Let's say, there's this continuum, this sort of, you know, I see the future, the future is brilliant, but we're right here. Yeah. Where are we at on that sort of that that timeline? I mean, come on. I know. That's a big question.


It is a big question, Well, Richard Leurig, our Chief Product, New Technology Officer mentioned this morning that Price Waterhouse Cooper had a stat that we're going to see 40%, we should see 40% improvement in productivity by 2035. So if you just think about, generally how, you know, society can go drive those type of gains, that's a massive, you know, leap. And so, I think if you just think about that goal, we definitely need to get started on tapping into all of the advanced technology at our fingertips, but also just deeply figuring out with our customers, how we can get them, you know, how can we help them keep up with what's happening.  


They have to be engaged, they have to do it. It's it's a, it's a non-negotiable. If you have a business, if you're if you want a business that is resilient, it is a must conversation. And for me personally, I want to be able to connect with somebody I trust. Because there's a lot of shingles hanging out there, the people that say they can do it. But we understand the statistics, and there's a lot of failure out there. I just want some, I want somebody I can trust, but I need to be engaged. Is that accurate? I just need to.I I don't see any other way around. So we have the innovation, we have all of the stuff that's taking place today. What is exciting for you? What’s like, God, I'm Kristi, and I'm excited about this bad boy.


You know, I am so incredibly excited, inspired to be with our customers. Yeah, it is probably the most energizing thing for me this week for our team. This is the best week of the year for us to be able to gather over 500 customers, for them to join us to dedicate a few days for them to learn, to network. And you know, honestly, just for me to continue to hear what's keeping them up at night. How are they driving their businesses, their universities, their campuses? How are they running things and how can we help? So I continuously get energized and inspired by our customers.


Do you take all that energy, and then you go back to the home office, and you try to really sort of, hey, this is good stuff. This is priority, this was brilliant, this whatever and be able to prioritize how you as an organization strategically tackle these, whatever these insights. Yeah, absolutely. There you go. Got it. You had a barbecue last night? Let's go. We did. So how do people get a hold of you? You know, they and I want to know, I


I'm a very accessible person. So, my team is, can I always have access to me, I'm on LinkedIn, you can reach out to me at Accruent.  


me if I say, hey, I want to be a part of your network out on LinkedIn. I would


never do that. I hope we're already. We'll be connected this afternoon. Let's say that. Yes.


I'm going to hold you to it. In fact, I'll put it in the podcast. She kept her promise. Okay, good. Let's follow up. All right. Thank you very much. This was a great conversation. I really enjoyed it. All right. Listen, this is going to have all the contact information for Kristi out on industrial talk. So, fear does not reach out to her because well, quite frankly, will not be disappointed. You need to be a part of this conversation. You need to be a part of managing your assets for a bright future. Put that on a bumper sticker. I love it. All right. We'll be right back.


You're listening to the Industrial Talk Podcast Network.


All right. Right on our LinkedIn stack guy right there. I see it right in front of me. Easy to get in contact with Kristi. Easy. And, and clearly by the interview. She's an open book, and she definitely has an interest in talking to you. And the reality is, once again, you need some solutions out there to create that business that is resilient, and you're going to have to leverage that technology. What I like about what we spoke on was this, this effort to try to pull everything together the user community, right? Hey, and you just get the benefit from all of those conversations, but then have a strong platform that pulls in all of these solutions so that it's seamless. You know, how do you argue against that? You need it. All right. Be bold, be brave, daring greatly. We're going to have more conversations coming from Accruent Insights. By the way, put that on your bucket list to attend next year. Big time. All right. Hang out with Kristi, you'll change the world. Talk soon.