Multiasistencia on the Internet

Case details
About the author

Javier Busquets, Director of Information Systems Department, ESADE Business School, Spain, on Multiasistencia on the Internet case series.

Why Multiasistencia?

Multiasistencia is the result of a two-year, field-researched project, which involved much help from its executives. I wanted to write a case on organisational change where information systems are critical, and to stress the managerial perspective. How can business relationships be changed? How can a new strategy and a new business dynamic be implemented? What business value can be achieved by participating in the network? What is the value of the information system used in the network?

Multiasistencia represents a unique business model based on a networked organisation. The company offers repair services from a network of 11,000 trade professionals, to 9 million end customers, through 100 major corporations such as banks and insurers in Spain, UK, France and Portugal. They outsource this service from the Madrid International Control and Co-ordination Center. In 2000, Multiasistencia experienced problems of growth and quality due to its non-scalable operating model. Strategy and this operating model were radically changed using ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to build up a ubiquitous application based on CRM Systems, the Internet, Web Services and Mobility Systems.

Focus and teaching objectives

The first version of the case, prior to its publication, was just one case with a lot of information for analysis. Teaching the case, I realised it would be much better split into a series. Now, (A) focuses on how to change and re-build processes and business relationships. Students learn how to use ICT in this process from a managerial perspective. It covers the Multiasistencia success story from its creation in1983 to 2000, symbolised by its slogan: "Yes, we can". It focuses on the problem of quality of service as a symptom of a non-scalable operating model, on the lack of adequate ICT and describes the incorporation a new CEO and CIO.

(B) and (C) focus on the capacities developed by Multiasistencia to maintain the network: how to increase value in the network participants and how to grow and assure business continuity. (B) describes the results of change from 2000 to 2003 and how the firm transformed the main repair management process and co-ordination model using the Internet, CRM Systems, Web Services and Mobile Systems. (C) describes the change in corporate client relationships, stressing the importance of exploration of information to innovate with new services.

The accompanying DVD (Spanish with English subtitles) was intended to help students visualise the solutions and to portray the Multiasistencia executives as the protagonists. Students often complain that MIS topics are complex or abstract. The DVD gives students a strong feeling that we are talking about a real problem, with real people, real companies and real settings. Executives find the video useful as a complement to the case, since it helps them to concentrate on the case in class - they may only have time to skim through the written case material. Organised into seven chapters or 'clips', it enables lecturers to use the first clips before class and help visualise how Multiasistencia managed to change, during the class. Using the DVD is one of the major satisfactions from a teaching point of view. I have also used DVD clips in e-learning courses so the use of this material is very varied.

Challenges

First, gaining the trust of executives to get enough information to describe a dilemma over which students have to decide, which is the essence of a case. Second, not disclosing information the company did not want published and getting approval. Third, deciding what went into the case and what was to be left out bearing in mind those students coming fresh to it, MBAs and executives, and maintaining the objective of promoting lively debate. Fourth, thinking of the case teacher: I designed the teaching note as a flexible 'tool-kit' containing a preferred teaching strategy to guide discussion and help define other approaches such as a one-and-a-half-hour standard class, two one-and-a-half-hour classes, or a longer teaching session. Fifth, having to select just 23 minutes of material for the DVD from three hours of recorded interviews, which I did helped by a professional team from a local TV studio.

Any advice?

Writing and teaching a case is an intellectual pleasure. If you write a field researched case you are learning and preparing your class ahead of time. Your students see the case as a 'piece of reality' and are very receptive to actively participating in decision making and coming up with new outlooks. They feel that they are the main protagonists. You are also creating a strong relationship with a firm that may collaborate on research projects in the future.

Case details

Click on the case titles to view further details and, where available, an inspection copy.

Multiasistencia on the Internet (A)
Ref 906-010-1
Also available:
Multiasistencia on the Internet (B)
Ref 906-011-1
Multiasistencia on the Internet (C)
Ref 906-012-1
Video
Ref E906-010-3
Teaching note
Ref 906-010-8

About the author

Javier Busquets is a Lecturer and Director of the Department of Information Systems, ESADE Business School, Spain. 
e xavier.busquets@esade.edu

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