The benefits that IT service desks may get from human-centered automation

Your service desk may be future-proofed with the help of AI and automation. Learn how to automate the essential IT processes that will minimise end-user downtime and improve customer experience, while cutting IT service desk calls by 40% and more in this VB Spotlight.

IT service desks have a great chance to reduce the amount of mundane, error-prone labour performed by people thanks to the maturation of AI and automation. Automating processes like approvals and software releases may improve how fast and effectively you service end consumers. However, according to Barclay Rae, consultant, author, and co-host of the organisation Digital podcast, it\’s not as simple as automating everything that can be automated; there are fundamental criteria that every organisation should consider when first assessing the status of their service desks and operations.

\”We also need to make sure that we understand who our customers are, whether they are ready for that, and what the impact will be on them,\” Rae adds. I can\’t slap in a change that will benefit my business but may irritate my clientele. The context is crucial. I don\’t want to imply that I\’m attempting to put a damper on things. However, we must be certain of our goals and the means by which they will be achieved.

Without useable, reliable data and sound procedures in place already, automation will fail, which is also not a nice picture for a firm. Having clear, attainable objectives that directly enhance the customer experience is essential.

According to Jeffrey Jacoby, the US services team head at TOPdesk, the low-hanging fruit that may have an immediate effect are the regular higher-volume requests or procedures, such as the recurring queries surrounding passwords and the processes of authorising and installing new machines and new software. Onboarding, offboarding, and transfers are all examples of cross-departmental operations that bigger organisations do frequently—sometimes daily.

\”Leveraging automation for these standard processes can simplify the workflow for your technicians and streamline the workflow process overall,\” Jacoby says. \”Some standards, which you may want to think about more in the future, could be chatbots to make the interface a bit easier for those end users to add input, perhaps even supplier integrations or third-party systems, like an asset management system.\”

Building a strategy towards computerization

Automation, like the introduction of any technological solution, requires a strategy and predetermined results. Since the end user is involved in several activities, care must be taken while automating IT. Reviewing queues and backlogs, for example, may be automated and performed rapidly in the background. Most of the procedures, though, including handling problems and requests, will entail interacting with the company or customers, and you\’ll want to make that process as painless as possible.

The less the buyer is forced to think about it and make a choice, the better, according to Rae. We\’d want a simple interface that\’s straightforward to use. I\’m interested and qualified to get this. Instead of just stating, \”I\’ll plug it in, and it\’ll work,\” your company and the approval procedure behind the scenes need to be settled beforehand. Simply automating a backlog and a queue for select managers to approve something isn\’t going to cut it.

To achieve so, the roadmap must include activities such as consulting with users (internal, external, or both) to define their roles, discuss how they will utilise the new systems, and conduct quality assurance testing. Bots and other natural language processing systems are notoriously slow. With the ability to ask more questions, you greatly increase the number of possible outcomes.

\”You have to be realistic about those things,\” Rae says. Flyers read in-flight publications that reassure them that \”yeah, you can automate this, and it\’s terrific. However, much remains to be done before it can be used effectively. Yes, they are simple to operate. They can be deployed quickly and at a lower cost. But it doesn\’t negate the need for public input and consideration in your preparations.

\”We want to know and make sure that everyone is on the same page, knowing which processes are automated and which still require that manual input,\” Jacoby says. Monitoring and data insights gained after deployment will be useful for future optimisations.

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Automation and the role of humans

While it\’s true that automation has definite technological advantages, the people involved are ultimately what make a project successful or unsuccessful. Rae explains that there are technical, commercial, and human and emotional aspects to every service desk contact. Because of this, it is essential that users have the option to exit the system and reconnect with a human service representative if they become stuck at any point.

He explains: \”When we talk about automation, it makes us question our worth in some ways.\” Answering the question, \”What do we excel at? What should we do? What can we not afford to lose or change if we do this? Doing something only because you think you should is pointless.

He further notes that service providers should be aware that people in older age groups are less likely to desire to engage with automated systems. Also, it has nothing to do with the false belief that seniors cannot keep up with technological advancements.

It\’s a matter of trust, Rae says. The ability to trust the interface is crucial to its success in meeting the user\’s needs for ease of use, comprehension, enjoyment, and return on investment. Some of the vendors I work with have systems I refuse to utilise. I\’ll stop at nothing to avoid that and have a human interaction. And then there are some that, at first glance, don\’t seem like they\’d have anything to do with technology at all, but upon further inspection, reveal a deceptively straightforward automated interface.

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ROI\’s emphasis on people

Again, the human factor is the most crucial parameter for evaluating automation\’s effectiveness in terms of return on investment (ROI). This includes not just the monetary and time savings associated with the activity, but also any changes in personnel productivity or efficiency.

Tasks that enhance the routing of incidents or tickets and minimise the number of reassignments, or that decrease the number of incidents experienced by users, are preferable to just passing them from one person to another on a weekly basis.

According to Jacoby, user reviews are another important factor.

To which I reply, \”Are they happy with the automations that we\’ve deployed?\” Are individuals happy with the automations we\’ve provided for them, or are we simply counting the number of repetitious activities we\’ve automated?

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