Industry News

Your Company Started a New Drone Program. Here's How to Grow It.

July 8, 2021

Welcome back to our three-part series on building, launching, and scaling your new drone program. If you’re at this point, we assume that you’ve already tested your use cases and have a clear understanding of where drones fit into your everyday workflow. By now, you may have a couple of pilots trained and fly semi-regularly. Now, your goal is to take your drone program to the next level. To accomplish this, you’ll need to roll out this established process to your entire organization.

At DroneDeploy, we’ve seen numerous companies grow their programs from a few part-time pilots to a fully operational drone fleet. Ensuring the ROI you see at a small scale continues at the large scale is essential to us, and our systematic approach to automation reaps tangible benefits. Here’s what we’ve learned about training, enterprise communication, and proven results from instructing thousands of pilots and growing dozens of drone programs nationwide.


The Ins and Outs of Training

Without a doubt, training is the most critical step at this stage of your drone program’s development. It isn’t easy to adjust your processes after you’ve grown your program with well-defined SOPs, so you must first refine your methods. As we’ve written previously, the U.S. requires a Part 107 license to operate a commercial drone safely and legally. But since the Part 107 test doesn’t require actual flying experience, each company should still expect to develop a certain amount of training beyond licensing to ensure that your pilots have adequate experience before handling thousands of dollars worth of equipment. These best practices should inform your team of your drone program’s capabilities, value, workflow, and safety measures.

Our largest customers standardize their training on DroneDeploy Academy. Here, we’ve created an individual, industry-focused curriculum featuring various everyday use cases that your team can access on-demand. We can further customize this training to incorporate relevant examples in your field and include live flight demos. The best part? After passing, pilots can add a “DroneDeploy certified” badge to their Linkedin profiles. This sets you apart from a host of other drone service providers, and signifies that you’ve received adequate training.

It’s important to note that while we talk about training pilots, do not neglect to train your analysts. Their workflow will likely alter after adding an internal drone program, and how they analyze the data they receive from you will definitely change. Luckily, we’ve set up a track within the DroneDeploy Academy tailored explicitly to analysts that features a range of DroneDeploy tools pertinent to them. In tandem with this, be sure to set up any integrations your analysts might use ahead of time to improve their workflow.


Enterprise Communications

To promote organization-wide adoption, track your results and share ROI broadly. If things are going well, numerous individuals will ask for flights and ways to get involved. It helps to have standard responses, generally, in the form of one-page PDFs informing other departments how to request a mission, receive data, enforce rules on their job sites, etc. We’ve spoken to numerous drone program administrators who find themselves clogged with emails because they haven’t standardized this process – due to this, creating this communication guide while training will be helpful.

Don’t forget that enterprise communications also include conversing with those at the leadership level about the benefits and measurement of positive ROI provided by drone technology. If you set up a formal process for this measurement, any executive-level person can easily see the value and continue to invest in your program as needed. This methodology further outlines the benefits of one-pagers by answering 80-90% of the questions you’ll receive throughout your organization.

Achieving Larger ROI

For those interested in taking your process a step further, you may want to consider writing software to bring manual steps into an automatic workflow with our APIs. We have a host of APIs developers can explore, with many users creating their own machine learning models to help them analyze their data faster. For example, one of our customers built an API directly into their task management system so that when a new task kicked off internally, it automatically deployed the relevant drone mission for that task. If you’re interested in building your own model, we can connect you with the relevant bodies for creation – please contact us.

In the next month, we’ll be releasing our complete drone program start-up guide for download. If you’re interested in exploring drone technology for a variety of industries, browse our customer stories, or check out our list of Professional Services.

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