The “time” is now to give customers the IT services experience they crave

BrandPost By Pradeep Kumar
Mar 23, 2021
IT Leadership

HPE Operational Services
Credit: HPE

It’s been talked about for years. But now, at last, manufacturers and service providers are beginning to deliver the right experiences.

Consider Tesla. It produces self-learning vehicles, which are regularly updated via over-the-air software updates and are continually monitored for remote diagnostic purposes. That means trips to mechanics are minimized, and mobile technicians are regularly deployed – to where you are – to handle most repairs.

Small wonder that Tesla has a customer satisfaction rating of 90%, much higher than most other car companies. And more than ¾ of customers return to Tesla when it’s time for their next car.

Basically, what Tesla and several other popular brands have mastered is … time management. And as a consumer of products and services, do you want an experience that saves you time? Or that ensures your time is well spent?

If you’re like me, the answer is… both. In today’s fast-paced world, I expect to get what I want, when I want it. And I also want the time I spend with a provider to be worthwhile,  to enhance my experience with the product.

Many consumer brands have embraced this dual-path approach to time, offering pristine experiences that customers appreciate and leaving them eager to come back for more.

IT services? Not so much. Our focus has continued to be stuck in the past, where our value has been centered on “break-fix.” You’ll call us when something isn’t working, and we’ll do our best to fix it. Eventually.

That’s not how it should be. Especially today, when we have the technology and foresight to not just optimize processes but also engineer experiences. At HPE, we think our customers deserve more, and so we are aiming to transform the IT services industry by delivering customer-centric and digitally enabled experiences.

And it’s about “time” that we did.

“The Experience Economy” comes of age

As I mentioned, the focus on a pristine customer experience is nothing new. In 1999, this approach was named and framed by authors B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore as “The Experience Economy.” At that time, most brands didn’t have the tools or wherewithal to deliver on that promise.

But they do now. Digital technologies – from Big Data analytics to artificial intelligence and machine learning – provide the capabilities to anticipate and address problems before they happen. Plus, consumer demand for higher levels of experiences are at an all-time high, no doubt driven in part by our smartphone-centric, always-connected expectations for immediate gratification.  

By now, most of us know what “the experience” looks like in a consumer setting, be it from Starbucks or Uber or Airbnb, which in just over a decade has built a multi-billion dollar global travel community that is based primarily on experiences.

But what can the “experience” mean in an IT services environment? At HPE, we believe the solution lies on a time continuum, ranging from “time saved” to “time well spent.”

The former focuses on addressing all the time wasted nowadays doing those day-to-day activities. There are significant efficiencies that can be made by equipping the local engineer with the insights and know-how to easily identify issues and proactively solve them. Plus, we can replace all those clunky processes from a bygone era with a modern digital platform that simplifies the steps to escalate a problem and makes it easier to connect with a product expert that understands your problem.

The latter – time well spent – underlines the importance of not just working to ‘keep the lights on.’ Importantly, it focuses on getting the maximum return on your product investments, delivering meaningful outcomes, and doing so over the entire lifecycle. It’s about supplementing local knowledge with AI insights, and transforming the support personnel role to engage in conversations that truly add value. Put simply, we want you to value the time you spend with us, rather than having to call us because something isn’t working.

These are a step in the right direction, but we are far from finished. This transformation will be evolved over many years, taking input from active listening, and requiring continuous innovation as needs and habits evolve. The expectation of continual change is now part of our culture and embedded in the design of everything we develop for you.

Stay tuned for more … all in due “time.”

I hope you’ll take the time to learn more.  We’re changing the definition of IT operational support.


About Pradeep Kumar

Pradeep Kumar, Senior Vice President and General Manager, leads HPE Pointnext Technology Services group. In this role, he is responsible for the worldwide services organization of 20,000 IT experts who advise, build and operate IT platforms for our loyal customers. During his 25 years at Hewlett-Packard (HP) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), he has combined his passion for customer experience and service excellence. He inspires continual innovation and operational excellence across his global delivery, portfolio, and supply chain teams.