Kingfisher, Europe's largest home improvement retailer which includes brands such as B&Q, Screwfix and TradePoint among its 900 stores, is looking to revolutionise the way it provides services to staff by deploying a solution by platform-as-a-service provider by ServiceNow.
The retail group, which has over 78,000 employees, has recently launched a proof-of-concept trial for a self-service portal - which if successful will go live from September - something which Kingfisher CIO Ben Hetherington believes will provide the DIY retailer with "a much more efficient service".
"Getting request fulfilment done through self-service will be a big win," he told Computing at ServiceNow's Knowledge 14 conference in San Francisco.
"I think requests are a tricky thing to do without it because it tends to spawn several tasks in parallel, such as having to purchase something, so we need to install something or approve the spending expenditure," he continued, arguing that if tickets aren't properly tracked service provision can deteriorate.
"Tasks jump from team to team, so there's more risk of them going wrong, so then you get a higher chance of irate customers who can't easily see what has gone wrong and don't know what to expect," said Hetherington.
"So to get all of that on a tool in that someone can log their own request, automatically fire off some approval tasks and provisioning tasks and track that through the tool, that's going to be almost revolutionary."
The project represents Kingfisher's first attempt at the deployment of a self-service tool, but Hetherington is convinced it'll be successful, providing the DIY group's staff with an ordering experience similar to what they'd expect if they ordered an item from an online store.
"Our users will think it's more like what you expect in the commercial world," he said. "For example, if you order something from eBay or Amazon, it gets sent to a courier and you can track where it's been, you know what things are going to cost you and you've got full transparency of the transaction.
"We don't have that yet, but this will bring us a lot closer to the experience people have in the commercial world."
Ultimately, Hetherington believes that the use of automated self-service systems could provide wider benefits for Kingfisher and its 78,000 staff.
"There's a big scope for a retailer like us to do something like that because employee on-boarding is a big deal. We've got lots of store staff who all need uniforms, who all need training and co-ordinating and provisioning and all that is a bit of a headache," he said.
"So if we can put all of that into an automated workflow it's a big win," Hetherington added.
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