Starbucks Sweetens IT Support For Booming Cafes

Coffee retailer introduces self-service model for retail stores and offices

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

August 17, 2001

2 Min Read

While business at some retailers has been far from brisk this year, Starbucks Corp. is expanding at highly caffeinated levels. The $2.2 billion specialty coffee retailer, with more than 4,500 locations worldwide, is opening stores at a rate of three per day, and its expansion plans are giving a jolt to its IT department.

To keep up with the growing demand for IT support, Starbucks by the end of this month plans to automate the provisioning of IT services shared by its widely dispersed users. Starbucks has more than 49,000 employees at its offices and retail sites. Managers at these sites currently submit written requests for administrative, manufacturing, and retail-related IT services to the firm's central IT department, which then outsources those requests to local staff or systems integrators.

With newScale Inc.'s RequestCenter software, personnel can request IT equipment, software upgrades, and even phone service via an intranet site.

Pricing begins at $145,000 for a RequestCenter license for implementing a single shared service, whether it's IT, facilities manage-ment, finance, or human resources.

The company expects the software to provide it with better visibility into the pipeline of employee requests, slash in half the time it takes to deliver a request to the right IT personnel, and cut the wait for services by 30% to 50%, says Ray Schutte, Starbucks' program manager for systems management. "As a business, we're growing rapidly, so we need a tool that speeds up the provisioning of supplies and equipment to our staff," Schutte says. "When people have to wait for IT requests to be fulfilled, it affects their productivity."

Starbucks is making a smart move, says Michele Hudnall, a senior Meta Group analyst: "One of the best ways to keep up with increasing IT workloads," she says, "is to create a self-service model for requesting services."

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