What’s in this episode?

In this conversation with Industrial Talk’s Scott MacKenzie, Accruent CPTO Richard Leurig discusses the path toward innovation and disruptive technology. Specifically, he covers:

  • How Accruent takes a customer-first approach to tech development, looking at recurring patterns and processes and working to create software that truly addresses customer needs.
  • The value of moving from disparate systems – or multiple panes of glass – to a single pane of glass or, better yet, no panes of glass (or, in other words, truly predictive and automated operations).
  • Advancements we expect to see over the next four years, and how those advancements can be facilitated by focusing on ease-of-adoption and change management.

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, a platform, a platform that is dedicated to industrial professionals all around the world. Because you're bold, brave, you dare greatly, you collaborate, you solve problems, you're changing lives, and you're changing the world. That's why we celebrate you on this podcast each and every day. And we are broadcasting on site. It is the Accruent Insights user community conference, for lack of a better term. And it is a bunch of people gathering together solving problems. And I'm telling you right now, it's got a lot of energy, as well as you need to be in this. This is an interesting hotel. It is Gaylord, it is the size of a small state, probably Rhode Island, and everybody has the same story many get lost. And in the hot seat. Richard is in the hot seat. Let's get cracking with the conversation to get lost. But comedian get lost in the hotel?


Because I use the wayfinding that they provided in the app.


See, because you're the Chief Product and Technology Officer. Of course you're going to use that. Not me. I did the classic man thing. I'm going to go and discover. Three hours later, I finally discovered it. And then my wife was going, “Do you really want to continue to do this?” Yeah, yes, I do. Anyway, it's a beautiful hotel.




A lot of people, huge.


It's a half a mile to my room from here. Is it really? Yeah. measured it.


Got the steps? Because it's so fast, massive. And it's never mind. It's pretty cool. All right, for the listeners out there, Richard, give us a little background on who you are.


Yeah, so I'm the Chief Product and Technology Officer at Accruent. That basically means everything from how do we come up with ideas, manage products, through the software engineering and the engineering process to develop them. And then I also have responsibility for the Professional Services team that goes and implements them, configures them and so on. So that's a pretty, pretty broad path for me at Accruent.


See this is you just say like, what, and then are you mowing the lawns too? And it's like, that's, that's, that's big. Yeah. Because all the conversations I've had with many of the individuals here at Accruent, and you got some major plans happening, some really exciting technology, and pulling it all together and keeping track of all that. I just, it must be exciting. And and Oh, no. Mostly exciting.


Yeah, it's very exciting. In fact, I'm motivated every single day that I come in, because there's so many different opportunities in front of us, and so many different things that we're doing in changing the company, but also, in changing the world. I love the fact, that one of the reasons why I came to Accruent and as I love the fact that our customers span everything from manufacturing, to retail to healthcare, and everything in between. And so you cannot touch the world on a daily basis and likely not come into contact with a customer that choosing an Accruent product. And that's awesome.


It is. And one of the things that that that I was amazed is, is all of these verticals that exists within Accruent, and all of this, and being able to facilitate some level of success. And it's solve problems, leveraging the technology. And, and, and then of course, in your world, you have to listen to the end user, the client, the customer, and say, Oh, they're talking about this, or there's this challenge or whatever it might be how take us through that because we're here at this event. And everybody's talking. And there's so many verticals represented here. And how do you take this energy and then begin to sort of distill it down?


I think I think in general, my experience in technology and software is there's always a common theme or a common pattern of what's going on. It could be a process somebody's following it could be. So it could be a process of managing leases for a retail location and contracts and projects seems much different than work orders in a hospital, or work orders in a distribution center.

But the reality is, all of these are connected, because they are processes that people follow there, you want to have the most efficient way to do something. So when we do voice of customer, and when I do, and I listen to the customers and what they're saying, I actually look for these common patterns of things. And you take those common patterns of things, and you apply the technologies to it, not the other way around.

You don't take a technology and try to find a problem, shoehorn it, what you do is you understand what the customers are trying to do, what the industries are trying to do. And then you take the technologies and create the unique differences within each one of those.


Give us give us an example. Just sort of take us through an example of that if you don't mind.


Yeah, a great example is in the in the retail world. There is a process by which we manage leases and projects to build new retail locations, those retail locations are connected ultimately, to the asset or the building, the retail location or footprint that are tied to those retail locations also need work orders on an ongoing basis. So, you take a work order system or a CMMS system that has been used, let's say through some Accruent product, or one of our sister companies ServiceChannel, that's managing a retail location, you take our lists our next product, which is managing how do I build those locations. And you take our Observe product, which is managing, looking at IoT sensors looking at information to to to detect anomalies or conditions by which a refrigeration unit may go down or may go up. And you you think initially those are all disconnected things, but they're not disconnected things. They may be different products. But what we're doing is connecting all of those products together, because there's one workflow, you're building a building, you're managing the assets, you're managing the costs, and the vendors associated with that building, then tactically it is, is something breaking in that building, you know, a refrigeration unit, an age tracking unit, something that might you know, in the case of retail, and especially grocery store chains, it can be perishable goods that are going to cost 1000s, if not hundreds of 1000s of dollars, if not in cases, millions and hundreds of millions of dollars in large chains, tie that into our Observe IoT platform. And you connect all of those things together. And what you have now is an ecosystem that's running. And that ecosystem allows us to really reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Because we're moving data between each of those platforms, each of those platforms are communicating.

So I'll give you an example. When we detect through our anomaly detection algorithms that our refrigeration unit is going down in the grocery store, we can inform the work order system to dispatch a technician before the actual refrigeration unit fails. And at that point, the refrigeration unit can be fixed prior to actually losing any merchandise at that retail location. And so when you ask me, How do I look at that from a perspective of talking to customers, it's funny, you can connect all those work streams together. Somebody's building a location, they want to manage the location, and they want to monitor the location. And those things can be tied together or you can buy individual products to do it. But I look at it as a one large pattern.


Is it possible for me to understand that as let's say, I, I'm a retailer, I get it? Am I in multiple systems?


That's a great question. So here's the problem that most most people suffer from today. The technological advancements are such that a refrigeration company or an HVAC company may be providing a system or will you we call it a pane of glass that you're looking at, as an end user to look at. Does this HVAC system operate? Is that operating? Is it working? Now you go over and you look at our Observe platform and you say oh, is it broken? Is it not broken? And then you look at the maintenance system and say it's not broken or broken. We call this multiple panes of glass. So our goal in our strategy at Accruent is moving users from multiple panes of glass to a single pane of glass. But I'm gonna highlight something of what our vision is. My vision is no panes of glass. So essentially a smart environment that operates on its own and tells you in the morning when you come into work, that we actually detected a problem, dispatched a technician, they turned a wrench and fixed it fixed the refrigeration unit fixed the HVAC unit. It's back online, it never went down in the first place. And oh, by the way, you got to sleep peacefully at night and not get woken up at 3am in the morning trying to find a technician to fix it.


It has to happen that way. Yeah. And I agree with you 100%. Because there are a lot of companies out there and need been exposed to them, these these multi systems, there's always going to be one, one individual is going to rely on one system, and they're just going to constantly live in that system and forget about the other, you know, stepchildren over here, right? It has to be that way. And it's almost like the, like, the SaaS model outside of everything I have, I have my, my application in in the cloud, and it just gets updated. I don't see it. It's just like, hey, there's a new feature, hey, that's great. The same thing can exist for the assets. It's like, I've got my age back. It I don't even have the technology exists in such a way that is going to communicate, you can you can dispatch, no trusted technicians. And it just magically happens.


That's exactly right. That's the way it needs to be. And in fact, the technology exists in most corporate and even retail, and certainly a manufacturing the technology and compute, the computer processing power exists more processing power exists to create what this single pane of glass or no pane of glass, smart, intelligent environment, then exists in an autonomous vehicle that it exists in a Tesla, you know, a Tesla is running on its own without a driver or could run on its own without a driver, we believe a building can run on its own without a driver Orlean.


Really, that's a great analogy. And I agree with you 100%. And I was talking to speaking and speaking to somebody else. And I said, I want my home to be like that, I want my home refrigerator to have that same level of analytics to proactively communicate. Now. Now, there's all this other, you know, challenge with that. But ideally, I want somebody come knocking on my door and say, yeah, the compressor is looking to fail. And we don't want you to lose that we're going on over here. And it's all a part of the the service, part of the program, part of the program. So you're heading down that road, you're heading down that direction, to me that it's exciting. And it's all doable, given all of the machine learning or AI or whatever you want to call it all of the the ability to to collect the data to analyze the data. It's all all. When do you are you're heading down that road? Do you have sort of a timeline in something to that effect? Or is that just


I think, I think what we will start to see because we're already starting to bring together the systems now. And we're actually starting to reach out and bring in to the ecosystem, third party systems and connectors. And what I mean by that is a crew and is not going to solve this alone, we're going to solve it in partnerships, we're going to solve it through integrations to other systems. Because if we were trying to solve for every asset type, every possible piece of equipment in the world, that would be difficult. So what we're going to do is bring in information from all of these things. And we're already starting to do that with our work order system with maintenance connection, we're already starting to do that with our observe IoT platform. So I think what you're going to see as a progression, it won't be flip the switch or snap your fingers. And it's done. You'll see huge advancements between now and through 2024. And I think this is not a five or 10 year thing, the advancement of technologies in the last four years has been tremendous. In the next two, it will be even faster at a faster pace. And so what you will start to see is these interconnected, smart, intelligent environments enabled by a crew and software and partnerships that we have really going into fourth quarter of this year and throughout 24 and 25. We feel like you can't wait to 2030 to make that happen. No, you know, and by the way, when you get to 2030 anyone that hasn't started doing it is going to be too late.


Yeah, I've had this conversation with a number of companies and I said it at a minimum. At a minimum. You got to find those trusted individuals to have this conversation. Just habit, to look at your business to assess that business, and to see if there's a roadmap forward. In light of all of this, this these advancements of technology is it's it's imperative changes happening, but to your point Four years ago, four years ago, I was broadcasting in Barcelona. That was five years ago. And and throughout the year, you could see how quickly the conversation has changed to, hey, this would be great to be able to, to. Now now, what do we got this 27 use cases as whatever it might be. It's that fast. And I don't see how you with the way the with, with the way technology and the speed at which, and the human ability to adopt, like, I'd still sort of a speed bump in the progress where I want to know, I want to know, and I gotta know,


I think there's two things that are happening that are that are speeding this up, and one is going to make it easier to adopt and the other is going to make it easier to manage the change, the easier to adopt as the the cost of these things is going down the availability of open AI, ChatGPT, all of the things people talk about, but IoT sensors themselves have gone down in price and continue to go down in price. You can literally censor the entire world, you can censor your entire house, if you wanted to know, co2 levels, occupancy levels, heat maps, all sorts of different things, you know, on equipment, you can tell whether it's vibrating or not vibrating, you can you know, all of these things exist, and now are at such lower prices, that it isn't just major corporations or big companies that can afford them. Anyone really can afford them that I like. Yeah, and I think the other part is change management, which is, is really using ChatGPT and OpenAI and these technologies to actually facilitate and help users through the transition and progression. And that being is that, you know, we often think of AI as something where we're going to ask a question, and it's going to give us back a reply, and we're gonna go do something. But the reality is, when you're starting to use these newer systems, you're going to want to know, how is the system actually working? What is really going on? And I and you are going to want our asked questions, but those questions are going to be more like what just happened, what happened last night? What's happening to this asset,


and to be able to take that the that solution that technology and to look at data and to provide real, tangible insights? Because it's one thing for me to look at the data and it's like, oh, God, that's a tsunami. It's, it's hard. But to be able to use a leverage a platform like that to be able to create and compress that time say, nope, nope, nope. That's what it is. That, to me is fascinating. I think that that's that that to me is a fascinating solution. That's just me. Anyway. So how do people get a hold of you?




That's right, because they need to get a hold of you. They need to have this conversation with you. Because we've just scratched the surface. And we've already been at 20 minutes. And you have to go yeah, see? How about that. Now deciding stuff, you It's really exciting. You know, it's it's so interesting for me to be on this side of the mind. And to talk to leaders like you and and to see how it has evolved. And like you said, in two years, I It's like a switch with the the chat up to just all of a sudden it's like, bam, that is happening. That's great. You were great. I really appreciate the conversation. Thanks. All right, listeners, we're gonna wrap it up on the other side. We're going to have all the contact information for Richard out on industrialtalk.com. So if you're not you need to reach out to this gentleman. Because fingers on the pulse is an understatement. So stay tuned, we will be right back.


You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


All right, Richard's his name. That was at Accruent Insights. And you need to put him on your bucket list to connect via LinkedIn. Because he's out there I'm looking at his stat card. Yeah, that's a must because it's happening. It's happening as we speak, the technology, the innovation, the ability to be able to see into those assets happening today. And it's only going to get better. It's only going to get more insightful and and individuals like Richard as well as team of Bruins are gonna make it happen. I love the pan of windows or glass that he was speaking up in the conversation that sort of just like resonated with me. All right. Go out to Industrial Talk. And we have some webinars out there, specifically around utilities, specifically around aligning the PF curve with your supply chain strategy. Both are out there go out to Industrial Talk there on demand. All right, people will be brave. They're currently hanging out with Richard. They'll change the world. We're gonna have another great conversation shortly.