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Consortium for Service Innovation

Is It Right for You?

Intelligent Swarming is not for everyone.  As a general rule, Intelligent Swarming creates the most value when the complexity and/or severity of the work is moderate to high.  Intelligent Swarming greatly improves an organization's ability to solve new issues. So, a high ratio of new to known issues is one good indicator of fit.   

Time to resolve is also a reasonable indicator of both complexity and new vs known.  If your support center solves a high percentage of customer issues in 3 to 5 minutes, it would imply that a high percentage of issues are known, and the complexity is low.  While a robust KCS® program can improve speed and consistency of answers in this environment, swarming typically doesn’t make sense. 

If your average time to resolve is greater than 15 minutes, this would imply a fair amount of complexity and possibly a higher rate of new issues being reported.  Ideally, we want to use our support resources to solve new issues, not ones we have already solved. The goal is to get the known issues to the customer through self-service mechanisms or remove the cause of the known issues from the environment through root cause analysis and corrective action.  For new issues, we want to facilitate a collaborative problem-solving process.

Some things to consider when determining if Intelligent Swarming is right for you:

Factor Swarming is Relevant if....
Group’s average work minutes to resolve (complexity) Average time to resolve (work minutes) is greater than 15 min. 
New vs. known ratio The ratio of new issues moves to be greater than 30%
Percentage of severity 1 and 2 issues 20% or more of the cases are severity 1
Percentage resolved at each level of support The percentage of cases solved at level 1 or 2 is declining
Maturity and culture of the group Trust within the group is high and collaboration is natural

Is there such a thing as a hybrid model?

Yes! There are environments where the diversity of requests would dictate that we still need a traditional level 1 function that can quickly handle the known issues and escalate the complex or new issues.  These issues would be passed on to a group that would follow the Intelligent Swarming model.  This group would include what used to be the level 2 and level 3 teams.  Ideally, we would also include the sustaining engineering groups for the products or services and/or the business owners for the processes or policies we support in the swarming model.  

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