“As we grew, it became more important for an ITSM system to be put in place” – Saud Al Akili, stc Kuwait

CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to Saud Al Akili, Head of Customer Support at stc Kuwait, to find out how the telecommunications operator has transformed its operational efficiency by leveraging Manage Engine solutions.

Incepted in 2008, stc Kuwait is one of the top telecommunication operators in Kuwait.

Over the years, it has grown to be a digital leader for mobile and internet services for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer companies.

stc provides innovative, reliable, and secure telecommunications services and platforms to its customers, aiding in the digital transformation in the region.

stc caters to a growing customer base of more than 2.4 million customers.

The company employs over 1,500 people who support operations across its offices, call centers, branches, and various other franchises in the country.

The stc workforce operates in various departments, such as technical support, customer service, and operations.

CNME Editor Mark Forker spoke to Saud Al Akili, to learn more about the business challenges facing stc Kuwait, prior to integrating solutions from ManageEngine into their existing workflows and processes.

Business challenges

“When it comes to implementing IT infrastructure, there are several key business and technology challenges that large organizations like ours must address to ensure success. stc relies heavily on technology to deliver efficient and responsive customer support services. Therefore, allocating the necessary budget for its IT infrastructure was critical. One of the perennial challenges for the company is to ensure its IT infrastructure keeps up with the demands of the telecommunication market, as the technology used is always changing. For the customer support team, this means having an IT infrastructure that can adapt to changing customer needs and market dynamics,” said Akili.

stc deals with sensitive customer information, making data security and compliance paramount.

Meeting these requirements without disrupting operations is a continuous challenge. This is why investing in the right tools for securing the data of the customers was seen as an essential business objective.

Technology challenges

“Inside large enterprises like stc, the customer support landscape needs to be scalable and flexible to accommodate a growing volume of customer interactions. This requires the ability to expand resources and systems seamlessly. Yet management and integration of data across various systems and applications is an ongoing technical challenge. Keeping up with the latest technology trends and incorporating them into stc’s IT infrastructure can be complex. Whether it is adopting AI-driven chatbots or integrating new communication channels, the challenge lies in ensuring that new technologies enhance support services without causing disruptions,” said Akili.

Downtime in stc’s customer support operations can be detrimental. According to Akilil implementing robust disaster recovery and redundancy solutions is essential to maintain high availability.

Challenges of legacy and manual IT operations

“stc’s IT support team relied on manual IT operations for tracking and managing support requests from the customers’ end. “This can lead to disorganized and inefficient processes, making it challenging to prioritize and resolve issues in a timely manner.  stc’s support staff found it difficult to maintain a centralized repository of information related to varying ticket requests, including a lack of visibility over the status of ongoing support requests. This often resulted in miscommunication between teams, as well as between the support staff and the customers, resulting in more delays and extended downtime,” said Akili.

Akili added that without a proper knowledge base and self-service portal, the support staff and end users of stc Kuwait found it exceedingly difficult to access and share information for raised tickets.

The lack of SLAs for raised tickets often led to poor communication between users and the IT team, extended turnaround times, and slower issue resolution.

“In short, with no clear visibility on resource availability, workload distribution, and SLAs, user expectations were not being met. Moreover, the team’s manual IT operations hampered their ability to scale up IT support operations effectively. As stc grew, it became more important for an effective ITSM system to be put in place to cater to the delivery of services more effectively and with less downtime. The need to redefine our IT infrastructure became another essential business objective for us,” said Akili.

How ManageEngine scored over others

“After assessing different solutions, we decided to go ahead with ManageEngine’s ITSM solution, ServiceDesk Plus, as we were confident that this would help streamline our workflows and deliver seamless customer service. For stc, the search for the right solution focused on three main areas: data, security, and compliance. It was important to ensure that the data of millions of its customers was accurate, secure, and readily accessible at all times, while standardizing and streamlining ITSM operations. ManageEngine surpassed its competition in multiple areas. These included affordability, ease of use, customization, integration capabilities, multi-channel support, comprehensive features, robust reporting, analytics, and strong customer service support,” said Akili.

stc began leveraging ManageEngine products in 2020, working very closely with the company to create a roadmap to remain at the forefront of a rapidly evolving technology landscape.

The company chose a combination of ManageEngine solutions including ServiceDesk Plus.

“The ITSM solution significantly reduced the workload of our customer support. By placing a centralized ticketing system, it enhanced our ability to swiftly track and resolve issues, enabling early identification of issue trends and offering solutions to resolve similar issues in the future,” said Akili.

ServiceDesk Plus also empowered stc end users to make use of an easily accessible self-service portal to log tickets. Seamless integration with other third-party applications and systems allowed for an optimized experience enhancing operational efficiency and data flow, completed by real-time, advanced analytics.

The ITSM solution has been a game-changer at stc Kuwait. It has led to:

  • Five times faster delivery and response time for raised tickets.
  • Automation of the ticketing system to enable workload visibility.
  • Over 90% of tickets resolved within stated SLAs over the past year.
  • Reduced turnaround time and issue resolution for end users.

Moving forward

Automation of manual IT operations has enabled stc to significantly reduce its operational costs.

With the rapid pace of delivery of services to its customers through the ITSM solution, the time-lag issue for resolving tickets has been largely covered.

“ManageEngine solutions have strengthened the efficiency of stc Kuwait’s IT operations by highlighting key backlog elements that were slowing down processes. We are convinced by, and satisfied with, the overall results that we have achieved. This is a successful ITSM project; one we can claim as a benchmark in Kuwait,” concluded Al Akili.

With the successful implementation of ServiceDesk Plus, stc has also invested in other ManageEngine products, such as OpManager Enterprise edition, Applications Manager, and Analytics Plus.

With the need to keep up with market demands as well as the evolving needs of its customers, stc has realized the benefit of investing in solutions that provide business process automation and the visibility for making informed, data-driven decisions.

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