New innovations in automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning have made a major impact on the new digital workplace and have opened the door for new possibilities as well as new challenges. How can IT organizations leverage these technologies to improve the agility and overall quality of their IT service delivery?
The Challenges Ahead
Today's ITSM environments prove that it's not just about having a solution with the most features, it's how those features are implemented and well optimized they are with the process automations put in place.
For starters, the consumerization of IT not only hikes up user expectations in and around the enterprise, they also raise the bar for the service desk and technicians that are in the trenches working support tickets. In today's world, a service department's ability to respond to user tickets must be faster than light, and customized to meet the unique needs of the recipient. In other words, the user experience and overall support process in question must be smooth and satisfactory, despite the frustrations of the end user having problems.
Furthermore, automation in tech could prove to be a challenge to IT organizations that are slow to catch up. According to Gartner, 6 million connected devices will actively and autonomously request support, not including instances where technology helps facilitate manual requests with greater ease. When that day comes, slow ITSM delivery won't be measured in hours but minutes. And at a time when ticket volumes are at their highest and most complex, IT teams will struggle if they haven't been equipped to meet the realities of the future.
Simply implementing a knowledge base or a standard self-service solution won't necessarily remedy all of an organization's problems either. If end users can't find what they're looking for immediately, they'll steamroll right through to a service representative. Users might not know the costs businesses incur when they assign technicians to address low-level tickets, and frankly they might not care if they did. All they want is their problem resolved and service returned to normal.
Here are four ways organization can achieve better IT service delivery and meet the challenges of the future.
1. Accelerate ITSM Mastery
As ITSM evolves to meet a new generation of user, it must push technicians to spend more time on big-picture strategizing and less on things like manual data entry, which takes time and is prone to error. Mistyped data values or other human error could potentially hinder process, not to mention negatively impact resources and end user sentiment.
These problems alone represent a particularly bloody thorn in the sides of ITSM everywhere, but they're only compounded when one introduces training into the mix. How can IT departments ramp up new service hires without risk? Should seasoned staff be stationed to oversee each and every keystroke? The reality is that new hires need to be onboarded quickly so they can start contributing with little time or resources spent on training and work oversight.
Thankfully there are automations in place to give new support tech recruits the guidance they need while working tickets. Service providers ought to look into ITSM suites that include problem-solving tools like intelligent ticket field recommenders and recommendation engines that work to guide the support tech. These internal-facing features get new hires off the ground faster as much as they facilitate workflow for ITSM veterans. Intelligent field recommenders help to guide ITSM staff through ticket completion step by step, autofilling fields based on past service requests. And recommendation engines like the Suggestion Center in ChangeGear takes a more holistic approach by pointing technicians toward successful solutions from the knowledge base and ticket history that the system has a high enough confidence rating in being successful.
2. Enhance Consistency With Intelligence
The one-two punch of machine learning and automated technology doesn't just speed up slow IT service delivery. Like any business that acquires data to fuel business intelligence, information must be thoroughly vetted and conditioned from its raw state. Service requests are no different.
In fact, if IT teams plan to integrate smarter tools in their ITSM workflows without first considering how best to condition the data coming in, they set themselves up for failure down the line. Intelligent ITSM suites, as well as the businesses utilizing them, perform at high efficiency when the data within them is clean and consistent. That's another reason why intelligent automation matters - it gives service providers the ability to centralize request data and standardize it according to best practices.
3. Improve UX With Smarter Automation
As we mentioned earlier, self-service is a crucial element to the modern ITSM landscape. When users resolve issues themselves, they minimize low-value labor for skilled technicians and allow them to focus on more critical matters. Users who reach out to support for something simple like a java error or a printer malfunction need their issue resolved, but too many of these common occurrences with no proactive process in place results in a loss of time and resources on the support side. On top of that, when finding a solution turns into an Easter egg hunt hosted on a static Frequently Asked Questions page, who can blame users when they cave in and ask for help?
Intelligent self-service knowledge base search engines and support chatbots help to minimize resolution times by simplifying the search process. No more hunting for answers on a cumbersome service website or poorly optimized mobile app - users need only ask a simple question or search a common keyword. These technologies also draw solutions from past ticket history, contextualizing and delivering them directly to the end user.
4. Stay Looped Into the Future With Predictive Analytics
Of course, the best IT service is no service at all. Eventually ITSM will preempt configuration deficiencies and failures more often than not. We're not there yet, but we're getting close. Until that day comes, IT technicians need powerful predictive analytics capabilities to gain real-time insight on how their configurations perform well today, as well as the reasons they might not perform so well tomorrow.
Strong predictive analytics technologies for ITSM run on support tickets, usage patterns, information regarding user interaction, etc., but data capture is only one component. Support suites must also connect the dots behind the scenes and present this raw data into easily interpretable and customizable dashboards. Forget searching for diamonds in the rough. With the right predictive technology at their fingertips, IT can let the diamonds come to them. Why be reactive when you can be proactive?
Comprehensive support and rapid delivery in the face of an ebbing business landscape are available to IT departments who invest in the right technology to underpin their service processes.