Condition Monitoring Podcast: Episode 3, Quickstart

Accelerate Innovation Engineering | Podcast 3: Quickstart

In our new 3-part podcast series, “Accelerate Innovation Engineering,” experts from CBT and HPE will talk about how industrial IoT contributes to building a successful predictive maintenance strategy and more. In episode 3, Lonnie Ludwig, VP of Solution Development, and Kendall Johnson, Solution Strategist discuss Quickstart with host, James Hilliard.



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James Hilliard:

Well hello there everyone, James Hill here. We’re back to continue a series of conversations with our team at CBT on industrial IoT. Again, the focus of the team there at CBT is really to bridge the gap between information and operational technology. In this series, we’ve talked about condition monitoring, we had a chance to talk about some of the connected workers out there, and digital twins. But realizing that some of you may be saying, hey, these technologies are great. Yes, we can see it for our organization. But where do we get started? How do we get started? Where do we lie in the process? So that’s where we want to take this conversation to talk about how to get you all started. We’re going to talk about the Quickstart. From CBT, Lonnie Ludwig is with us. He is the vice president for solution development. So glad to have Lonnie on board. Also here, Kendall Johnson, solutions strategist with CBT here as well. Kendall, I’m gonna start with you. And what I want to do is kind of have you give an introduction to this quickstart? What is it? Who does it benefit? Give us that introduction?

Kendall Johnson:

Yeah, so the Quickstart is the first step in your journey with CBT. It really benefits the clients that we’re working with. It’s around two hours, and we just dive into questions. We invite everyone from the team so it’ll be cross-functional. We have people from tech, marketing, boots on the ground folks, managers, anyone, and everyone who really wants to join because we want the solution to benefit everybody. We want to have this be a more collaborative experience for the entire team. We understand that in order to solve your issue or the problems that you’re having, we have to understand your unique challenges. And that’s what we try to get to at the heart of a quickstart is. What are you currently experiencing? What pain points do you have? How can we help? So really diving into questions, and not about selling products. We’re just trying to understand your goals and the challenges that you’re having.


Sounds like you do a lot of listening, and bring so many different folks together to the table. Can you just share a little bit more there? Because one of the things I’ve noticed, especially in evolution in the tech space was that years ago, when you’re talking about tech, you have a couple of tech guys there and that was it. But by bringing in marketing, operations, field techs, you can get so many more questions out there. It might be something someone across the room didn’t think about and really facilitate that early conversation.


We try to provide solutions that really help meet the needs of a ton of people in your organization, not just one or two folks. We make the most impact by providing those solutions to as many people as we can. So having that input, the different viewpoints, and even just making sure the teams are aligned is really what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to bring together different people from different groups within the same organization.


I would think that some folks that might even be listening to us now are saying yeah, we have that challenge of internal communications. So the fact that you can all come in from CBT and really foster that early communication on a major project like digital transformation is huge. Lonnie, I want to jump on over to you. From your experience, you know what the general managers and manufacturers want: a view into their assets and operations. So give us an idea of what it’s like to go through a quick start with teams and how do they start getting that insight and view?

Lonnie Ludwig:

It’s that cross-functional approach that allows that to happen. A lot of times you’re dealing with an IT group or an OT group. With industrial IoT, it’s really both. IT/OT convergence, digital transformation, whatever catchphrase you want to throw at it. And so many times IT/OT are like two ships passing in the night or not talking to each other. They’re looking at their own solution set and that may not be what’s best for the business. So by bringing all the different seats to the table, you really get that holistic view of what’s going on within the organization. But even when you’re talking to just one group, for example, we have a customer that we were talking to their training group and by the end of the call, they said thank goodness we had this quickstart because quite honestly, we thought we were all in alignment. But at the end of the Quickstart, we realized we weren’t, and we were all kind of going in our own little direction. We didn’t realize what the true target was or what the true benefit was going to be. So it’s a valuable process, and it works really well. I like to say that IT/OT convergence or industrial IoT is a team sport. You have to be in this and working together. But gaining that holistic view by having all the different seats at the table, that’s where your value is going to come in and allows you to identify a series of use cases. You can kind of stack them and start ticking them off as they provide value and take the ones that provide the most value quickly. So you have an easy solution, quick ROI, and then you work through the process of delivering value to the company.


Well, for the IT/OT teams, they can get a quick win. And then they can sometimes get quicker executive buy-in to get more budget for those things. I want to go back to the example you gave, where the team realized they were not in alignment. Did that lead to another quickstart for that team to come back together?


It led to quick identification of the solution and helped us to be in lockstep with step with the customer. And so we were able to move more quickly towards getting the solution closed. And now we’re working towards a common benefit within their organization that I think everyone’s in alignment on. And because we were in lockstep we’re able to make that pivot and not delay the solution at all.


That makes sense and good on you for that agility there. A lot of teams have a plan, but if something needs to change, they need partners who can pivot quickly, and you demonstrated that there. So the last thing I want to touch on here is, there is so much technology available that sometimes people get distracted. How have you seen these conversations really help people streamline and narrow in on the right technology, especially to give them this asset management or visibility into operations that so many teams are looking for?


Well, it’s a challenge, right? We do that by not talking about the widget. We don’t get hyper-focused on a certain product, or a certain OEM partner. We approach it agnostically and really take that outside looking in approach. And by us being a partner with our customers, we’re in it together with them. Our tagline is technology with a human touch and we take that very personally. So when you start looking at the technologies, by partnering with best-of-breed companies, we can put together solutions that really meet the needs. Whether it’s a head-mounted compute solution or a dashboard where you’re bringing in multiple different data types, we’re helping executives or management view these different data types in their own context, or integrating data together to produce some new value. I was actually talking to a data scientist professor down in Texas and one of his students was writing a thesis for their Ph.D. And they did an analysis of music in Saudi Arabia that was played on public radio, and how that related to the gross domestic product of Saudi Arabia. And they actually found a correlation when the mood rating of music was high, gross domestic product tended to rise; when mood rating was low, gross domestic product tended to drop. So you never know where the correlation in data is going to come from. And so by getting all the players into the room and getting the use cases and solutions identified, that’s where you find the real value.


Folks, take the two-hour investment in a quickstart to really hash out ideas and get your team talking to each other to make sure you’re on the right page. And if you’re not, then the CBT team can help direct you in that manner. Again, take advantage of this quickstart from CBT. Lonnie, Kendall, appreciate you giving us some insights and sharing. For more info, you can visit CBT’s website at; there are other podcasts, some case studies, and more detailed info about their offerings. You can also email them at to schedule a conversation or schedule a quickstart as well. James here for the entire CBT team, thank you all for joining and listening. We do look forward to talking to you down the road.

Ready to discuss your innovation journey? Schedule a quickstart with our innovation team here!

You can also go back and rewatch the rest of the series here.

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