What IT Service Desks can Learn from Formula 1 Pit Walls

In 1970, the average Formula 1 pit stop lasted 27 seconds.

By 2016, it took the average F1 pit stop crew just 2.2 seconds to change four tires.

New technologies, like the wheel gun and pivoting jack, certainly contributed to the drastic time drop.

But this is the technology that all pit crews have to complete their well-defined tasks. Tasks that don’t change.


The real difference maker is the technology used by the Pit Wall team to improve the performance of the entire pit stop team. The people on the pit wall sit in front of computer screens, monitoring multiple streams of complex real-time data. They use this data to make fast, vital decisions that can be the difference between winning and losing.


With the Pit Wall team conducting, the pit stop is now a perfectly orchestrated composition of human activity, enabling a crew of twenty to use improved technology and change four tires in two seconds.

Two seconds.

Here at Swish, the lesson we take away from this is that technology and automation need to do more than simply improve execution of the rote, commodified tasks, so people have more time to focus on their higher value, more complex work. 


AI automation must also have a role supporting how people do their complex work too. This is what we call “hyperautomation.” Hyperautomation, the combination of people powered by technology, has huge potential to deliver significant business impact.

What Hyperautomation Means for IT Service Desk Management

The standard ITSM platforms use rule-based automation to enable their ticket management, ( “ticket first”) or use chatbots (“robot-first”) to speed up ticket resolution. Often, they’ll use both. Yet a ‘ticket first’ approach constrains the automated ticket flow via pre-defined business rules. While chatbots only handle around ten percent of ticket volume, so that their ability to impact the business positively is limited.


The robot- and ticket-first frameworks handle the commoditised work that makes up but a small percentage of  help desk effort time. 

What’s needed is dynamic hyperautomation that provides people with real time information that can improve execution of their complex work. The Swish platform takes this approach by embedding a “people-first” lens into our technology.

Impact of Hyperautomation on Real-time Skills Mapping

An IT service desk, like the pit stops of old, can also be chaotic places. They field growing user bases and even more complicated technologies with the added unpredictability of a new set of fires to put out every day.


This chaos is handled by ITSM managers and teams of agents with constantly evolving skill sets. Often they also have a high turnover rate and a steady stream of new agents.

One way hyperautomation comes into play in the Swish platform is through its ability to assess and update individual agents skill sets autonomously. The traditional way to build skill maps is either by assigning skills sets by role or through self-reporting by the agents. Both are unreliable.

A system that autonomously creates and scores skill sets builds an ever-growing source of truth that reflects the current state of agent expertise. A role-based skill set can never align with the natural evolution of people’s growth and the team’s make-up. Our autonomous skillset mapping  technology constantly realigns itself to reflect the current map of team expertise. 


That means that tickets get automatically routed to agents with validated experience resolving the issue at hand. Here, hyperautomation drives dynamic ticket routing in alignment with the current state of agent skills, resulting in faster resolutions and more single contact resolutions. On a managerial level, the hyperautomation approach to dynamic skills mapping enhances ITSM managers’ ability to identify skills gaps across the IT organisation.

Moving from Incremental Improvement to Massive Impact

Today’s pit stops aren’t done in two seconds because pit crews each have good individual tools and skills. Pit stops take two seconds because the Pit Wall provides the team real-time, rich data they use to make fast decisions in response to dynamic conditions.


They have powerful, AI-based technology that augment their ability to execute the complex and the commodity. 

Achieving both is where the potential for massive impact lies for ITSM service desks too.

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