Study Aboard. Four Teams Set on Improving Customer Service Technology on Cruise Ships

Study Aboard. Four Teams Set on Improving Customer Service Technology on Cruise Ships


A brand-new immense ship, so innovative that in order to show her best it needs a lot of cutting-edge digital technology. This is the "competitive field" where 25 Bocconi students are engaged as part of the course requirement for the class of IT Consulting held by Ferdinando Pennarola and attended by Bocconi Master of Science and Law students. Students are divided into four teams, which are called to understand how, through the implementation of Hewlett-Packard Enterprise information and network technologies aboard of MSC cruise ships, it is possible: 1) to improve the boarding and disembarking process of passengers; 2) improve the logistics of food and drink management between the central warehouse of the ship and the various bars and restaurants on board; 3) process big data collected on board to offer passengers new services, also using artificial intelligence; 4) enrich the digital services available on the cross-channel platform “MSC for Me” whose access is given to all passengers.

"For several years we have been carrying out projects with actual companies, unlike it was done in the past, in particular we have been working with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) for five editions now", says Pennarola, "and this year the company has decided to involve one of its major customers a part of the project: MSC Cruises, the largest privately held cruise company of the world and market leader in Europe and South America. Thanks to the support of tutors from both HPE and MSC (which has involved the Corporate Business Innovation Team led by Luca Pronzati), students must study solutions for the tasks assigned and then present their conclusions in a special event to be held on May 6, in the presence of the management of the two companies.”
In order to have a clearer picture of the size of the challenge, students visited the MSC Bellissima anchored in Genoa on March 24. Latest born of the MSC fleet, it’s “a ship that can accommodate up to 5,000 passengers and 2,000 crew members on its year-round cruises, where everything is managed with the aid of the most sophisticated technologies", Pennarola says, and adds: "Just think that all passengers are equipped with a bracelet that allows them to take advantage of a series of digital services. On board there is a real IT Data Center which has the function of elaborating the enormous amount of data on the digital behavior of customers and everything that happens aboard of the ship".
Field experience with real customers, combined with teamworking, are the strong points of project like this, says Claudia Centola, a 22 year-old from Potenza enrolled in the degree in Economics and Management of Innovation and Technology who is working on the artificial intelligence part of the project: "In class there are students with engineering and computer science backgrounds, not just management, and this has allowed us to combine the right mix of skills to reach the final goal. Visiting the cruise ship was fundamental, because it looks totally different from the ships I was used to; it has very advanced technological services and we, with the help of our tutors, are given the task of making them even more efficient. HPE tells us if what we have in mind is feasible and then we must work and find the right solutions.”

by Davide Ripamonti
Translated by Alex Foti

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