Company: Motive CommunicationsCustomer: KmartSubmitted by: Firefly Communications LtdKmart’s help desk was faced with over 300 applications and more than 7,000 end users to support. Talented support experts were difficult to find and hire.

End users were growing increasingly frustrated with hold times, phone tag, and lengthy conversations. Kmart needed a solution to enable users to help themselves and to empower their help desk to rapidly diagnose and resolve complex problems.

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After thorough analysis, Kmart concluded that only a robust, complete e-service application could make the impact that they needed. Kmart selected Motive Communications, the original and leading provider of e-service software.


Motive has enabled Kmart to:

  • Deploy a tailored e-service portal in less than six weeks to 7,000 end users and 24 support experts.
  • Reduce hold times and phone tag sessions for geographically distributed end users.
  • Eliminate common service traffic via automated self-service tools for network, printing, system, and application problems.
  • Decrease average case handle times through automated information gathering, diagnosis, and resolution.

The Pain of Technological Expansion

When Diane Harrington, Director of Client Computer Services for retailing powerhouse Kmart, first saw Motive in action she felt like the “weight of the world had been lifted from her shoulders.” Like many IT service managers, Diane’s typical day was filled with reports of troublesome machines, overwhelmed help-desk experts, and frustrated customers. As Kmart’s use of software grew to over 300 Microsoft, custom developed, and third party applications, her team became increasingly bogged down. The first tier of her help desk often spent 24 to 48 hours playing voice mail tag with end users before they were able to even get a description of the problem. At that point, the knowledge gap between experts and users became evident as the triage process of information gathering often wore on for 15 minutes or more.Once a problem was clearly identified, diagnosing its root cause sometimes required trial and error, experimental actions, and unnecessary reinstalls.Diane knew that there was a better way to provide service.

At the Support Services Conference and Expo (SSCE) in 1999, she found her answer.

e-Service to the Rescue

Vice President of Computer Services Mike Blair had sent Diane to SSCE on a mission to find a better way to run their help-desk operations. Kmart already had industry leading technology, including a Scopus call-tracking application, Microsoft SMS, and Tivoli TME. What they needed was a means to automate common diagnosis and resolution procedures.”When Diane called from the SSCE show I could tell we had hit the jackpot,” said Mike Blair.

“Her excitement was evident from the moment she first proclaimed, ‘You were right about Motive. You should see it in action!'”Motive’s alliances with Dell and Microsoft, two of Kmart’s most important technology suppliers, demonstrated how seriously the computer industry was taking Motive. The unparalleled, comprehensive nature of Motive’s software proved to be applicable for a variety of situations, including break-fix and how-to. Motive’s demonstrated ability to integrate with complementary help desk applications (Scopus, SMS, and TME) proved to Kmart that they had uncovered a solid product family.

“With our e-service solution powered by Motive, Kmart has shifted its help desk into a strategic corporate weapon.” – Michael Blair, Divisional VP of Computer Services, Kmart Corporation

Rapid Deployment Leads to Immediate Results

With Motive’s e-service solution, Kmart was able to create a complete, intranet-based service portal for the IT department to more effectively serve users. One potential stumbling block loomed like a dark cloud over Diane and her team: their inevitable Y2K lockdown. With only six short weeks to kickoff her project, train her team, make key decisions on content for her service portal, and implement Motive to over 7,000 desktops, Diane faced what could have been perceived as a daunting challenge. Working with two Motive professional services engineers and an internal team of two non-dedicated IT individuals, Kmart deployed a powerful service portal with over 50 automated solutions and 400 pieces of how-to content. The results have been even better than expected.

In the first two weeks after deployment, 2,600 end users had used the service portal. E-service has been a major boost of corporate morale for Kmart – from the end users, who have turned from harsh critics to glowing fans, to the help-desk experts, who can now focus on complex problems instead of tedious, simple issues.And, how does Diane feel about the whole process? “I’ve been sleeping better at night,” she concluded. “If that isn’t the best endorsement for Motive’s incredible e-service software, I don’t know what is.””We chose Motive because we wanted to take our service capabilities to the next level.” – Diane Harrington, Director of Client Computer Services, Kmart Corporation