Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Quintica Signs Up Zain Kenya On to Service Management

Service management specialist Quintica has successfully assisted Zain Kenya to boost its ability to provide aligned and cohesive technical support across its core disciplines of operations and ICT.


The result is the better use of technology assets and driving improved organisational performance. Zain Kenya, which is a part of the Zain Group, that serves more than 65 million customers across more than 20 countries in Africa and the Middle East.


According to Ingo Tuschardt, Quintica CEO, the two individual service desks within Zain Kenya required a strategic realignment. "In the complex technical environment characteristic of a telecommunications operator, services are provided by a combination of individual technology - or application services spanning both operations and ICT," explains Tuschardt.


"What appears to be a simple outage to a customer can be caused by any of these underlying services and it is often very difficult to quickly pinpoint the cause." It was this sort of issue that Quintica sought to solve for Zain. "Before, when an incident was logged, two 'tickets' would be separately assigned to both engineering and IT for individual analysis and resolution," Tuschardt explains.


Like many mobile operators of today, Zain faced the challenge of finding a helpdesk solution which would align and consolidate both its IT and operations services into sets of bundled business services, to be managed via a single service desk environment. "Our approach was the delivery of a centralised model for the holistic management of all assigned and allocated requests, whether these came from internal staff with IT issues, from external customers with requests relating to their Zain telecommunications service, or issues relating to both. Simultaneously, we sought to implement a platform on which to standardise and optimise the customer experience," he said.


For ICT, Quintica instituted processes based on ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) Service Management methodologies and best practice principles. With operational processes based on eTOM (enhanced Telecom Operations Map) Tuschardt explains that the consulting team worked towards aligning both disciplines by designing a comprehensive service catalogue


"IT and eTOM processes were overlaid with ITIL service management methodologies; ITIL is ideally suited for this application as it focuses on efficient communication rather than the detail of the technical process. The result is that that requests are effectively communicated, monitored and resolved," he notes. A key benefit of the integration of the two service desks is a major cost saving in terms of staff as well as licensing.


Furthermore, through a holistic overview of the end-to-end service delivery environment, management gains a clear view of metrics, including:


* Staff resource usage and performance
* Service deficiencies
* Service performance results and target achievement
* Training needs


"Any requirements are quickly highlighted, equipping the Zain Group to comprehensively benchmark its operations and carry out comparative analysis, easily identifying abnormalities from which to learn, or act upon," Tuschardt adds. Mr Mulonga, Operations Director for Zain, notes that successful service management is driven by efficient communication.


"Through the creation of a single system, Zain executives and managers can quickly view certain technical information and reports through a variety of communication modes," he says. For example, real-time snapshot status reports are delivered by SMS and e-mail. "These reports are extremely useful as they present a complete overview of the state of the operation at any particular time.


Further, priority and SLA-based escalations keep senior management informed of the major issues and thus removes all the 'noise', which is handled by line managers. The SMS feature is particularly useful to expedite escalations to engineers in the field, giving them information to understand the problem and address the matter appropriately without delay," Mulonga adds.


All calls are channeled through the service desk, which provides for structured, classified and managed closure. Call categorisation and online incident status tracking further improves the handling of support calls.


"Clear processes are essential to ensure that from the moment a call is logged, it is processed predictably - assigned to the correct person for resolution and resolved as soon as possible. This supports the delivery of customer service," notes Zain IT Director Mr Fedriani. Enhanced focus was put on the people component of the project, introducing the system to the support teams and the knowledge transfer necessary to ensure that it would be put to use. "We derive immense value from being able to co-ordinate and align our activities with our operational colleagues. This has drawn our two departments closer together, whereas previously there were two cultures," Fedriani adds.


Both Mulonga and Fedriani concur that the experience of the Quintica team has brought immense value to both their divisions. Despite initial apprehensions, they note that Quintica was able to simplify what is undeniably a complex business. That success is mirrored by Fedriani's comment: "The executive overview and architecture of our business has been attractively summarised and graphically displayed on a poster, which my management team keeps referencing when having discussions with their staff."


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