intranets in service industries

Intranets play a useful role in the service
industry, which includes banks, travel and tourism, education, healthcare etc. Here are
some interesting examples of the possible application of intranet in the service industry
and the advantages that trail behind.

Housing bank of india
One of the leading housing finance companies, Housing Bank of India, is known for its
customer service. While the bank is currently enjoying an upper edge over its competitors,
it needs a strategy to retain it and look at avenues to further enhance its customer
service.

At present, the bank is able to process
most of their customer requests for housing finance in about four to six visits by a
customer to his/her nearest office. The management now wanted to reduce the number of
visits to just two-one to submit the application and the other to collect the cheque.

It looked at the intranet as a mean to
achieve its corporate goal. In just three months the bank could put an intranet in place
using VSAT-based terminals across nine of its major locations. The loan processing
application was simple enough to be reengineered and rewritten for the WWW. A customer
application could trigger the needed checks and balances between the branch office and
head office seamlessly, obviating the need for the customer to make multiple visits.
Certain amount of reengineering of the application form ensured that the customer has all
the requisite information before he shows up in one of the offices of Housing Finance Bank
of India.

Thanks to the intranet, the bank could
achieve its goal in the fourth month across nine locations. They are planning to extend it
to all locations within the country during this year.

Hotels india
Hotels India operates a chain of hotels in about 30 cities in the country. It caters
mainly to rich, foreign tourists with high-class hospitality services. Since foreign
tourists generally require advance bookings, Hotels India has tied up with an airline
reservation system. Room availability information is normally available globally. What is
not available currently is an ability to coordinate the room bookings in different hotels
across the country. Many of the tourists take a conducted tour, such as ‘Golden Triangle
Tour’ that takes them to Delhi, Jaipur, and Agra. The present system does not permit
special discounts for combined bookings across different locations within Hotels India.

Being a highly competitive market, Hotels
India is keen on maximizing its yield, measured by the total occupancy of the rooms across
all hotels. It would like to take the current yield level from 67 percent to 82 percent.

Come intranet, the room reservation
position across all hotels is shared by the reservation system without the overheads of
expensive client server software. Using a browser-based interface, users send in their
requests, and a server-side script program optimizes the room utilization and offers
attractive deals to the visiting tourists. The yield has gone up over the past season by 7
percent and profitability too has improved substantially, thanks to the intranet.

Indian institute of management
The IIMs spread across the country were looking for a way to share their academic
resources, which included some large library resource too. A more demanding application
would have been to provide multimedia and videoconferencing facilities between the
institutions so that the students can leverage the best faculty expertise across the
institutions. As, it too would have facilitated joint projects across the institutions.
However, being academic institutes, with limited budgets, they were seeking a low-cost
alternative.

And, so intranet was the obvious answer.
With intranet, both students and faculty members could gain access to the resources of all
the four IIMs from their individual campuses-books, journals, CDs, working papers, lecture
notes, and tech-reports, leading to tremendous productivity advantages.

DR S SADAGOPAN
is Professor (Quantitative Methods and Information Systems),
IIM Bangalore.

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