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How many people are ahead of me in line? ITSM and renting a car

on ‎08-26-2014 11:39 AM


Guest post by Richard Foden, EMEA Product Marketing Director, HP


Just over a week ago, I landed at the airport at the start of my annual family summer vacation. The flight was on time, the sun was shining, and life was good.


That was until we approached the car rental office. It was clear from a distance that my holiday feel-good mood was about to evaporate. Sizing up the situation, my rough-and-ready headcount gave me at least 30 people swarming around the tiny rental car reception office—all fighting to get attention. It looked like there were three attendants behind the desk trying to deal with car rental requests. There was no obvious queue to join—just a general huddle.


Then I saw it and all became clear. Yes, a ticket dispenser!!


The next ticket was number 422 and a tiny digital display above the desk showed that ticket 389 was the latest being processed. According to my maths that meant that there were 33 people ahead of me. Estimating five minutes to deal with each customer with three service desk agents (hear the cogs spinning?) I worked out I was looking at just short of a one hour wait!


Welcome to the holiday!!


A metaphor for the service desk


It’s a true story – but it’s also a great metaphor for service rationing, which we’re still seeing today on just about every IT service desk. The creaking anachronism of the ticket still being used to ration access to those most precious of resources: service know-how and service provisioning.


And the metaphor doesn’t stop there. That rental car company knew so much about me because I’d used them six times in the last six months. Their booking website had asked for my flight details, so they knew when I was arriving.


On the six previous rental occasions they’d billed the same credit card, failed to sell me that upgraded insurance policy and collected my ID from my passport. (I am pretty sure they have all that information buried away somewhere in their reservation and dispatch system. While not exactly “big data”, it is nevertheless pretty useful data.)


Expanding the metaphor to the enterprise


Translate that to the enterprise service desk and scale up those 30 car hire customers to 3,000, 30,000 or even 300,000 users of a web-scale service desk. When you expand the user community to that scale, the limitations of the ticket and power of big data and connected intelligence just slap you in the face.


When you are working with this many users, you have to be smarter. Using connected intelligence and leveraging the power of big data to automate the delivery of service and knowledge is THE essential foundation of modern service desk architecture and the ONLY way to meet growing consumer expectations for service quality.


HP Service Anywhere is designed to break through the historical constraints and out-dated assumptions underlying traditional service desk operations, where many customers primarily gained access to services through a limited number of service agents in a many-to-few and request/fulfil model. Through advanced automation and the power of Big Data, Service Anywhere transforms the traditional ITIL service desk and takes employee self-service to the next level of employee self-sufficiency. 


With my rental car analogy, this would be like being able to quickly work with a kiosk to rent a car instead of having to wait in line for an hour.


To experience how radically Service Anywhere delivers on the promise of a New Style of service management - seeing really is believing. So to learn more about how to avoid service rationing, retire the ticket and re-engage and delight your customers based on the power of Connected Intelligence, visit the HP Service Anywhere page here.



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Mark Laird
on ‎08-27-2014 03:34 AM

Great post and I love the analogy used, especially as my wife works for a car hire company.

on ‎08-28-2014 06:42 PM

I agree with Mark - great analogy!


I love the fact that my car rental company has embraced self-service. For example, on landing, an email with stall location # is sent to me, and I breeze past the long lines of folks waiting to talk to an agent. Who wants to talk to an agent if they don't need to?!? 


I can imagine that was a risky decision back then, and there were some skeptics - "We can't have people go find their own car, they'll hate us, or they'll get into the wrong vehicle!". 


Turns out we love it! And it leaves the rental agents more time to spend on customers who actually need to talk to an agent. Self-service, when done right, and when it’s a choice, can actually improve customer satisfaction, which might not have been what the car companies thought at first!

on ‎08-29-2014 01:49 AM

I also like the analogy used.  It just proves that big data, connected intelegence are realities of today and not just a vision for the future.  In my opinion it also shows the opportunities organisations are missing by not harnessing the power of big data... and where better to start that an area that is so important for us already .... the service desk :)

on ‎09-09-2014 03:03 AM

It was a great post. The power of big data is more than high-volume. Helping business to manage big data with scale out storage that grows the business need. 

Pooja Madan
on ‎09-15-2014 07:43 PM

Enjoyed reading analagy

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