Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are timescales that companies give to formally show they will action a request/job within a specified period of time. In the particular case I refer to, it is where Orange formally agrees to action a request within a specified time frame.
Last week, on a Tuesday, I emailed Orange Business Registrations details of seventeen handset upgrades I needed connected by 9am on the Friday in order for me to drop off the phones to a customer who had arranged for his drivers to come over from all parts of the UK to collect.
The Orange SLA for such requests is 24 hours from receipt of request, so although I sent the request and had automatic email receipt late on Tuesday evening, I thought Orange would have the request first thing on Wednesday morning.
With an SLA of 24 hours, this would be plenty of time for Orange to process the upgrade request in time for Friday morning.
As I have had issues before with multiple upgrade connections from Orange not being processed within its SLA timeframe, I contacted Orange Business Support first thing on Thursday morning.
When I got through, I was told my request had been received and that it was number 10 in a queue and would be processed shortly, and also that I would receive email confirmation of such.
As the day progressed I got increasingly concerned as I had not heard anything from Orange and knowing that my customer had arranged especially for the drivers to collect, I could see an almighty cock-up happening.
Around 2pm on Thursday, I chased Orange again. I’d heard nothing. I was now told I was fourth in the queue.
After stressing my situation, Orange assured me 100 per cent that the upgrades would go through after 6pm that evening in time for my 9am Friday meeting.
Needless to say, I heard nothing back from Orange the rest of Thursday and I took the phones home with me and tried them throughout Thursday evening on the off chance they would come live – they never did.
Friday morning arrived and I cautiously turned on a couple of the phones and nothing – they still had not been activated and I was less than two hours from dropping them off.
On the way to the customer I called Orange again, and again explained my issue.
This time Orange said I was now second in the queue, and there was nothing it could do to prioritise my request as the supervisor was not available until 9am.
Orange caused me a lot of problems that morning as the handsets did not go live until around 11am, when more than half of the users had already been and gone.
As I had promised to ensure all names and numbers were copied over from old to new handsets, I had to keep the handsets back and copy over information and then courier the phones to various corners of the UK at my expense.
What is the point of Orange having an SLA of 24 hours if it completely ignores it?
Why does it take in excess of 24 hours to process just 10 orders? And around nine hours to process the last four? As I said, this is not the first time I’ve had issues with multiple connections and SLA times from Orange.
Come on Orange; we are putting orders through and you need to be sure you can handle them in a timely manner.
If you are going to have an SLA of 24 hours, then maybe you should consider some scale of compensation for not sticking to it
Windows 7 gaming
Microsoft this week gave a demonstration of where gaming could be heading. The demonstration showed how a gamer could start a game on an Xbox 360, pause it and resume the game on their Windows Phone 7 device exactly where they left the game on the Xbox 360.
Not only that, the user could even continue the exact same game on their Windows PC.
The game was coded in Visual Studio 2010, which is a relatively easy programming language to learn (even I understand some of it). Around 90 per cent of the code is shared between all three devices.
This is yet another move that goes some way to ‘blurring’ the scope of mobile phones.
An awful lot of devices are converging and the mobile phone retailer needs to be aware of where this market is moving and sell/promote the devices accordingly, or else other traditionally non-mobile phone markets will be eating into our field of sales.
The scope of this convergence is not limited just to gaming. Media is a massive area for this convergence.
Think about it. A user can start watching their media on their home television in the morning and then stop it to get ready for work. On the bus they get out their Windows Phone 7 and continue watching it exactly where they left off from their television.
Another interesting area that Microsoft is heading into is its version of the Apple iPad, the Microsoft Courier.
Do a Google search for Microsoft Courier; you’ll be amazed at what’s in store for us in the not too distant future.
This article originally appeared in Mobile News issue 459 (March 15, 2010).
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