Over 100,000 IT users in the Deutsche Bahn Group receive support from DB Systel for 600 applications – 80 per-cent from the cloud. In the past, this was done via three channels:
- An IT community,
- A self-service portal with a search function, and
- The help desk.
Most users prefer to pick up the phone or send an email, generating 700,000 calls and 100,000 emails every year – and the figures are rising. The help desk works with complex instructions. Explanations and manuals are thorough, often filling pages upon pages with text. Providing assistance takes time, and only specially qualified support staff are cut out for the job. End users, however, are unable to make use of such documents. This presents an obstacle to providing the relief the support staff long for and becomes all the more evident whenever there’s a new release or a new IT application is launched.
The Deutsche Bahn Group’s agile approach is starting to come into full swing.
The help desk often has no involvement in creating the documentation and training content for new applications, while the recorded instructions are out of date and con-sequently not much use. A few years ago, the DB Systel help desk could still expect to handle just one or two releases each year, but the Deutsche Bahn Group’s agile approach is starting to come into full swing.
In 2018, the Group gradually began to transfer its IT applications into the cloud, where software is increasingly being developed using agile methods (scrum). Development cycles are getting shorter, with most new features now available after just two to four weeks. With a nod to the railway company, Head of User Services Norbert Herold describes how these trends affect support operations: “Nowadays, features need to be provided to the user while the wheels go on turning.”
It was clear that the help desk in its former state would be unable to meet the requirements of an increasingly agile application landscape with short development cycles and quicker access to releases. Together with tts, a concept was devised to make it fit for the digital and agile future.
Norbert Herold, Head of User Services, DB Systel GmbH
Halving help desk calls
DB Systel had set itself an ambitious goal. In order to reduce costs, the idea was to cut the help desk’s workload in half by offering an “employee selfservice”. Rising to this Herculean challenge was only possible under two conditions. Firstly, the new solution had to be more attractive to users than a quick call to the help desk. Secondly, the DB Systel experts needed to be able to methodically document their extensive knowledge so that users could find it and quickly put it to use.
From a traditional help desk to a knowledge management partner with tt performance suite
DB Systel and tts decided to codevise a strategy to fulfill these conditions. Thanks to their efforts, the help desk now steps in much faster every time new releases or applications are launched, preparing end users for any changes well in advance. Using tt knowledge force, the authoring tool in tt performance suite, staff can now do their job much more quickly. The authoring tool’s user interface is modeled on MS Office and enables users to create step-by-step guides and e-learning content in one go, with just a few clicks.
Once up and running, the context sensitive QuickAccess module inside tt performance suite is designed to provide clear answers to users’ specific questions in a matter of seconds – all geared exactly toward the relevant application and its function. DB Systel and tts modified QuickAccess to also contextualize the DB Systel IT community’s content. The partners are working hard to provide access to all the stored knowledge via QuickAccess as users’ single point of entry.
DB Systel has yet to finish writing its success story, but it is already clear how efficient and flexible performance support can pave the way toward a digital future – no matter which line of business you’re in. “I am confident that we have taken the right steps so far with tts and am convinced that tt performance suite is a key milestone for us in our transition from traditional help desk to the perfect partner for knowledge management,” Herold sums up. “Picking up the phone has been replaced by clicking ‘the orange’. I am optimistic users will truly warm to QuickAccess, shifting our focus from a costly telephone based solution to selfservice.”
In order to reduce costs, the idea was to cut the help desk’s workload in half by offering an employee self-service.
What’s the next step?
Besides no longer having to deal with the same queries time and again, help desk employees can look forward to an entirely new outlook. Following the introduction of tt performance suite, these former call agents are evolving into true “knowledge managers”. DB Systel believes there is further potential to be leveraged, one of the next steps being to update end users of any faults that arise by sending push notifications via QuickAccess.
Facts & Figures
- The company employs 3,800 workers in three cities across Germany
- It provides support for 100,000 users of the Deutsche Bahn Group’s IT applications in 16 countries and nine languages
- There are 600 IT processes in operation, of which 80 percent are in the cloud
- The DB Systel service portal offers more than 3,000 standardized products
- The business operates an IT support community comprising almost 30,000 registered users