Customer Collaborations: The Heart Of What We Do

 On this site, we’ve shared thoughts around our company’s culture and commitment to our founding principles, but how does that create an exceptional customer experience? This series of Customer Collaboration Interviews  explores exceptional client experiences as well as challenges – and opportunities for growth.

In the years since Heartwood was founded, we have worked with – and grown along with – some pretty spectacular customers, like Raytheon.

This Q&A with Gary A Beaulieu, Senior Systems Engineer at Raytheon explores that relationship.

Q. Why did you think of using 3D interactivity and gaming tech for training?

Gary: It was a natural progression for us, as we try to keep pace with the evolution of training as it transitions through each successive generation. 3D training was more realistic and certainly more cost effective.

Q. How long have you used this technology – and for what purpose?

Gary: We’ve been using it for six or seven years now to teach the war fighter how to fix and maintain tactical assets in the field.

Q. How are the results? What are your end users/customers saying about it?

Gary: They love it – we get lots of ‘wows,’ even after the initial demos and briefs. And then we move beyond that, providing varying levels of training able to accommodate everyone from the soldier straight out of school to the advanced user with 30 years in the field.

To simulate open-ended training scenarios in a safe environment is pretty invaluable. And being able to train multiple people at once (many more than could fit in a tactical asset at one time) is a definite plus as well.

Q. What challenges have you faced?

Gary: The first demo was very basic – and comparing it to today provides perspective of how much Heartwood has helped the program expand.

Transitioning from the traditional learning approach where everything is written to more of a gaming environment was not easy. We knew what we wanted, but we didn’t know how to get there – and would get requirements from end users like “make it cool” or other ideas that were easily lost in translation. Heartwood helped us sort it out and grow incrementally. That was huge.

Probably the hardest thing to do was letting them run with it and trusting their expertise without retraining them. That’s a relationship that grows with time, of course.

Now we share their vision of looking forward to the next generation in training technology and eagerly anticipate immersive environments. Identifying how and when to make that transition to the next level is today’s challenge.

Q. Have there been any euphoric moments?

Gary: Those moments are continuous as new people try the technology. We have a real sense of accomplishment with what we do and feel good about giving end users what they need to perform critical functions safely.

Q. And the big question: Why did you decide to use Heartwood?

Gary: After meeting with them in person, we were sold. They offered the kind of interaction and flexibility we needed to get our program off the ground – and the expertise to provide a superior product. They’ve been very responsive to schedule and skill changes and it’s really been great working with them.

And there you have it! Would you like to join us for our next Q&A? Reach out here!