Using information management to predict questions by customers
In the service industry, service providers often receive the same questions over and over again. However, in the service industry it does not matter what question you receive, it all depends on your solution and communication of that solution. The service industry has changed from the back side of a company to the front end and flagship of a company. This claim is supported by Singh (2011), “the service industries these days involve the front end facilities, which help in serving the customers in order to clear the immediate needs and to make him comfortable for the other service demands.” In a more demanding economy, customers expect the service provider to help them immediately fix their problem.
From my experience as a helpdesk employee, clients often state the same question multiple times. With the current information systems, it might be possible to predict the question a customer will ask. For example, a new customer will be more likely to ask a basic question and can therefore better be redirected to a less experienced worker, so that a more experienced worker is available for other questions.
In a way, you would like to predict customer behaviour. One way is using the model explained by Optimove. Through this system, customer behaviour is tracked for a period of time and an analysis is created. However, it will be difficult to correctly implement this, since there is no knowledge about what a customer is doing at the moment they need the service desk. Therefore, such a model should never be leading in an organization but it can be used as an predictive model to decrease the time for a solution to be proposed. In my opinion, such a system would be extremely useful when implemented in a correct way and with the right parameters to perform the analysis.
Singh, K. (2011), What is the role of management information systems in the service sector, http://www.mbaofficial.com/mba-courses/management-information-system/what-is-the-role-of-management-information-systems-in-the-service-sector/
Information management in auditing
With an increase in information in companies, there has been additional pressure on the audit procedure to ensure the information flow is free of fraud. Buchanan and Gibbs (2007) claim that “the information audit (IA) is central to the effective organisational management of information, however, there is
evidence from the field that the IA is neither fully accepted nor commonly practiced.” In an economy, where information is gradually becoming more important it cannot be the case that an audit will not focus on these processes. If we refer to the intra-organizational information systems, all parts of the value chain communicate with each other through information systems. This means that a transaction will be passed through different information systems and stored at different location. If we take an example of a bike manufacturer and its value chain. When an order is manufactured, this will be recorded in several information systems, like the operational, transaction-processing and financial information systems. It cannot be the case that when these systems communicate information, thus creating a flow of information, this will not be checked in an audit. This is also the conclusion of Buchanan and Gibbs (2007).
In the recent years, the focus has been placed on the flow of information, through the performance of an IT audit. For example, EY created a document about the ten key IT considerations for an internal audit. EY (2013) claims that “considerations related to information technology are central to any organization’s effort to ensure that issues are addressed quickly and thoroughly.” It is positive that audit firms also shift their focus to the IT side of a business. However, it also creates challenges since companies will need IT savvy employees, who are also interested in auditing to perform these audits and set a minimum standard
Buchanan, S. & Gibb, F. (2007), The information audit: Role and scope, International Journal of Information Management, p. 159-172
EY (2013), Ten key IT considerations for internal audit, http://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/Ten_key_IT_considerations_for_internal_audit/$FILE/Ten_key_IT_considerations_for_internal_audit.pdf
Technology of the week – two different types of subscription models
How can a retailer keep a price-sensitive customer? And how can a company make sure they have the right products in stock? A possible solution is the subscription ecommerce business model. Consumers take a subscription on a certain type of product and receive it every month. The added comfort of getting a product delivered to your home without having to search for it makes up for the lack of choice or potentially higher price. In addition to product-based subscriptions, consumer can subscribe to additional services an online retailer has to offer.
An example of a service-based subscription model is Amazon Prime. It was initially founded to decrease the delivery time for shipping goods. However, now it provides users with additional services, like for example a Netflix-like application, free e-books for a Kindle e-reader and a subscription to the Washington Post. The retail business and the subscription service co-exist, since Amazon is making enormous losses on Amazon Prime, however Amazon Prime subscribers create two times the revenue of a normal Amazon client.
An example of a product-based subscription model is outfittery.com. This online company provides a solution for men who do not like, or do not have time to go shopping. The idea of outfittery.com is simple; the customer creates a profile on the website of Outfittery and fills out a survey about their personality, style and sizes. They complete this with an upload of a picture and making an appointment with a personal style-expert. These experts will contact the customer to get a more personal, complete profile of the customer.
Comparison of both models
An important strength for both of the models is that it truly creates value through their services, which has great advantages over conventional (e-commerce) models. One important advantage of the model used by Outfittery, is that once you subscribe, there are no further actions you have to take to fully exploit your membership. This is different compared to Amazon, where you have to take subsequent actions to maximize the profit out of your membership. An advantage of Amazon Prime’s model over the one of Outfittery, is that the products they provide can be bought without the membership as well. Another an advantage of Amazon Prime is that the consumer can decide which product will be bought. Lastly, Amazon is more dependable on third parties to adequately execute its major proposition. Delivery speed covers a significant part of the service customers pay for, and Amazon cannot control quality accurately.
Future of subscription models
To conclude, the subscription model will be the future. It provides companies with a continuous and in advance known flow of income. In a world where time is getting more and more valuable and we want an experience. This model can give companies economic stability for companies As a result this will be the model that is going to be applied by a lot of major companies.
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