Created in 1897, Kempinski Hotels S.A. is Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group. Kempinski now comprises a portfolio of 74 five-star hotels in 30 countries and continues to add new properties in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The portfolio consists of historic landmark properties, award-winning urban lifestyle hotels, outstanding resorts and prestigious residences. Kempinski is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotels. The company has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
Kempinski has a total of 20,000 staff, with around 6,000 who have access to computers and IT systems. Users include; front of house staff working at reception, hotel managers, and staff in departments such as finance and marketing. The hotel IT departments are autonomous but are facilitated from the Geneva headquarters when and if they require help. In Geneva, which provides operational services and support to the hotels, there are 39 IT technicians, some of whom are from outsourcing partners. IT support requests come into head office from hotels located worldwide.
Will Shirtliff, IT Manager was tasked with creating a structure to manage IT support. Previously, there had been no co-ordinated way of managing IT change and problem requests. Instead, spreadsheets were used to try and log events, though it was difficult to track the number, type or complexity.
Shirtliff says, “Someone would call, we’d try and deal with the request and then we’d move on to the next problem. So we were continuously fighting fires. We couldn’t see the bigger picture or even recurring problems or geographical issues. And there was no way to understand trends like technician workload, top requestors by hotel, and other information.”
Kempinski looked at eight different solutions and then tested three. Shirtliff says, “Early on it was pretty obvious that Absolute Service was the right product. It suited what we wanted to do. One feature was a round robin for technicians so that we could establish layers and route incoming requests around the team or to specific skill sets – managing and load-sharing calls efficiently. Other products on the market just didn’t have this or it’s an add-on. Absolute Service is super easy to implement and simple for our users with a web interface and a very simple click through to log a call.”
Absolute Service is used by Kempinski to manage IT and other technical support requests from users worldwide. It has transformed the way IT requests are managed, with the ability to report on and analyze support activity, monitor problems and issues, and spot trends or areas that require specific attention.
Benefits that Kempinski has seen since teaming with Absolute Service are three-fold. First, support requests can be closed. e-Resources can be better utilized so that there is no duplication of effort and support requests can be followed through to completion. Second, it is an easily scalable solution. With an initial deployment of 100 users, Absolute Service quickly and easily scaled to support 6,000 users worldwide and ported across to many other non-IT departments. Finally, Kempinski enjoyed a seamless implementation and it is easy to use for technical staff and end users.
A mark of the success of Absolute Service is the fact that around six other non-IT departments within Kempinski are now using it to manage their support requests. A few minor changes and Absolute Service was adapted for these other departments. This has also led to greater interaction, information sharing, and the exchange of best practices between IT and other departments where communication may not have previously occurred.
“Absolute Service is critical to our IT operation. It’s become what we use as a daily tool, so that anything coming into IT is logged and managed through it,” Shirtliff says. “It has really helped the team create a better, more structured environment and has increased efficiency and improved processes. Now we can really see what’s happening across the whole company.”