Do any of you remember when self-service was reserved for all-you-can-eat buffets? Some of you aren’t old enough to remember when there was no such thing as a self-service gas station. Every gas station used to be entirely full-service, which meant a nice person would come to your car and ask you which grade of gas you wanted and you wouldn’t have to lift a finger. While the pump was going, they would clean your windows and you drove away with a full tank and truly perfect windows.
In the 1980s, self-service really took hold when people started paying for everything under the sun with credit cards and when credit card processing got so good that you could build it right into the pump it became the norm. Since then, self-service seems to be everywhere and rightly so because it allows buyers to make quick decisions at point-of-sale, and reduces time spent on menial tasks freeing up resources for more strategic efforts.
These great self-service characteristics can even be applied by IT organizations today. For example, Dell IT is now leveraging a newly-launched capability called Shared Connected Configuration to bring the efficiency of self-service to enterprise PC deployments. This new service allows Dell PC customers to connect directly to Dell factories to manage their own custom Windows image—including applications and configuration—and ultimately have their PCs shipped to end users ready for first time login.