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Diagnosis is the process of determining the system health from observed effects. Typically, over 50% of the cases, the corrective action can be diagnosed unambiguously by reasoning on the presence and absence of error codes. For those cases, troubleshooting can be completely eliminated. For the rest, the diagnosis from observed effects reduces the list of suspects to a small set, and the reasoner can generate an optimized sequence of (troubleshooting) steps to identify the corrective action.
This is contrast to the traditional troubleshooting practice, which relies on past case history to identify a list of possible corrective actions that the service agent should try until problem appears to be fixed.
With TEAMS, even an inexperienced service agent can find and fix problems as good as an expert!
Most service organizations do not make optimal use of available information to diagnose the problem. For example, presence of multiple error codes can actually help narrow down the set of possible suspects, but trying to document all such combinations is nearly impossible due to its combinatoric complexity. Likewise, the absence of an error code can be used to de-emphasize or eliminate many suspects, but most service software only captures the failed error codes. The power in TEAMS comes from using machine reasoning to use all available information (both passing and failing test results or error codes) to isolate the cause. The reasoner uses all this information to determine which components are good, bad or suspect.
Guided troubleshooting is an optimized set of steps dynamically generated by the reasoner that the Service Agent follows to identify, correct and resolve a reported problem. This can begin by querying the operator of the system and continue with the field service agent. By querying the operator you minimize the task of the field service agent by quickly narrowing in on the problem, thus reducing his troubleshooting time and parts dispatched.
A malfunction in a systems (the cause) will generate one or more manifestations (the effects). The reasoner is an algorithm that uses the many-to-many relationship between causes and effects (as captured in a TEAMS model) to identify the root cause(s) that best fits the observed effects. If the observed effects are not sufficient to pinpoint the root cause, the reasoner can identify the troubleshooting steps required to gather additional information and identify the root cause. This process of identifying what’s wrong in the system is very similar to what your smartest experts will use to troubleshoot complex problems.
A TEAMS model captures the many-to-many mapping between causes (things that fail, i.e., faults) and effects (things that detect failures, i.e., tests and symptoms). If you know these relationships, you can import them in as a spreadsheet. Otherwise, you lay out the system and its interconnections, and TEAMS will propagate the faults along those paths to generate the mapping.
QSI TEAMS is a model based approach, as opposed to experience, history or case based (all of which require accurate legacy data). QSI TEAMS does not require legacy data. It can produce accurate results immediately. It excels when an error or symptom has many causes or faults manifest into many symptoms. It can be deployed at the machine level, the call center, the field or automatically from machine to machine (M2M).
To understand how TEAMS works, think of your GPS navigation system. It is great for visiting places you never been before! And it is also great at finding the optimal route for that day, given the road and traffic conditions. The GPS and TEAMS solution share two important attributes: it applies algorithms or logic to solve new problems (instead of trying to utilize past experience or solutions), and it recognizes yesterday’s solution might not be the best solution today.
Taking the analogy further, think of the GPS software as the TEAMS reasoner, and the maps are the cause-effect relationships – i.e., which faults trigger with error code or test failure – in your system. The TEAMS reasoner applies logic and optimization algorithms to rule-in and rule-out possible causes and guides the technician through additional information gathering, until it determines the root cause. It then guides the service agent through the corrective action and the verification steps, all the while logging each of the steps automatically, and learning from it. Just like the GPS can route you through various options (e.g., avoid toll roads or ferries), the TEAMS reasoner can guide service agents with different levels of skills, certifications, support equipment — generating a different troubleshooting path based in his or her ability.
Simply put, it is the kind of technology that helps a 19 year old kid fix a F16!