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AI sets gold standard in service management


Johannesburg, 17 Mar 2021
Read time 4min 50sec
Chris Visagie, Solutions Executive, iOCO.
Chris Visagie, Solutions Executive, iOCO.

Why would an organisation move its enterprise service management into a cloud space? “Core is the ability to offer it as a service,” says Chris Visagie, Solutions Executive at iOCO. A lot of organisations don’t have the capability to run a service management system so they move this capability to the cloud to get access to the required expertise and infrastructure. Doing this reaps the additional reward of moving the financial outlay from a capex to an opex model, so the investment becomes an operational expenditure instead of a capital outlay.

“The enterprise service management market is changing with the introduction of AI and bots into the different solution sets,” says Visagie. “The core value of such innovation is driving down the cost of running a service desk while simultaneously improving customer satisfaction. Gone are the days where people want to phone a helpdesk, hold on listening to tinny music and then be cut off as a person finally answers the call.”

Now, a large proportion of customer queries can be fielded by AI bots, and if that doesn’t work, they still have the option of engaging with a human being. This means that people manning the service desk aren’t overrun with hundreds of requests and the time period that customers have to wait drops drastically. Not only does the customer benefit – the business benefits from cost savings because bots operate 24/7, driving down the cost of running a service desk. Combining AI into an advanced service desk offering provides organisations with the ability to automatically remediate some problems without human intervention.

Service management automation talks to two specific disciplines: process automation and being able to quickly adapt to new requirements, with the ability to quickly address changing requirements using process automation. The other discipline is orchestrated automation of a specific type of request, such as user onboarding, for example. This typically requires tedious manual process as the process is passed along the value chain. “Over and above automating the process, we also automate the actions en route, so that by the time the task is created, a bot has taken it over and moved it along the value chain. This provides a much more efficient process, saves time and changes the user experience.”

In the past, one would place a call to the service desk, make a request and then wait. With process automation leveraging orchestrated automation, that process cycle is much shorter. An example of this is where a person wants specific software installed on their machine. They contact the IT helpdesk and get a request number. In this use case, the person goes to a central hub, the laptop is handed over and the person gets it back a few hours later. Now, the whole process is automated and the software can be installed remotely without the person having to hand over their laptop. This agility changes the user’s whole perception of service while creating greater confidence in the business as an IT organisation.

“While this type of automation is great for the IT and enterprise service desk, it can equally be applied to automate HR or financial processes at the backend. Once the organisation starts to understand how to manage its processes in an automated fashion end-to-end, the next level of maturity is looking into other environments, such as facilities, for example.”

Another – very relevant – application is the ability to automate COVID-19 healthcare checks for visitors to the building. This assists the business to manage the risk for visitors coming on site and people employed within the building.

“The aim is to ensure that people don’t get stuck at a stage in the process anymore. It’s also to ensure that people follow the organisation’s processes properly, while highlighting bottlenecks so that they can be actioned,” he explains.

AI is brought into the process to help assess the real source of the customer’s issue. For example, a person could call a helpdesk to report no water in their house, but the cause might be the geyser. AI establishes the root cause of the issue by encouraging people to use plain language and include pictures, helping AI to classify the problem correctly. By rapidly identifying the cause instead of focusing on the symptom reported by the end-user, AI reduces the length of time that it would take a human to investigate the problem. This vastly improves the customer experience.

Visagie highlights: “Key to the success of service management automation is a single portal to a user environment. It can be used to get information, users can be assisted by an AI bot or a human being. The experience needs to be personalised, intuitive and they need to quickly find what they’re looking for.”

“When it comes to user interface, the gold standard is Google, and service management functionality is striving to achieve this level of ease of use. Enterprises across the world have shifted the focus towards service management that’s effective, personalised and automated in a desire to drive customer loyalty and trust. Technology is stepping up to drive down the cost and improve the end-user experience.”

Read more about service management automation here.

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