The shifting requirements of today’s increasingly tech-savvy workforce, coupled with the rapid digitalisation of traditional working practices, mean that businesses are having to adapt quickly to meet changing workload demands.
Stuart Jones, Head Of Service Operations, Ultima, explains that to stay competitive, they need to be continually improving ways of working with time and efficiency savings in mind.
As the technological landscape changes, organisations must ensure their technology and IT departments are keeping up. They might choose to do this by up-skilling or re-skilling existing IT teams and investing heavily in technology, but this has a big impact on capex. The other option is to outsource and automate; both of which save costs and time and offer access to the latest technology and best practices.
All this has big implications for the managed services market, which must be one step ahead of the clients it supports if it is to evolve in line with their business requirements. Businesses want to use Managed Service Partners (MSPs) that save them money, add value and help improve innovation. A key way to do exactly that is by introducing service desk automation.
Making simple tasks simpler
Automation tools are designed to work within the service desk to source information and then complete tasks that a human would normally do. Using AI and machine learning, the service desk can be ‘programmed’ to complete a task when certain information is requested.
As an example of how this might work in practice, a business would work with an MSP to agree a catalogue of simple service requests, such as setting up new starters with an email address. Essentially, ‘business as usual’ tasks that would usually be a service desk’s duty to fulfil.
Instead of sending an email to the service desk, these requests would be available for users to select via a service desk portal. Here, they simply can click to ‘order’ what they need – much in the same way they would click to add an item to an online shopping cart.
Taking these ‘business as usual’ tasks away from traditional service desk teams and automating them dramatically improves productivity, freeing them up to focus on more complex customer issues and potentially reducing the time it takes to perform tasks from several days to minutes.
What’s more, as software robots are available 24/7, 365 days of the year, service desks can respond to customer needs faster and more accurately as the robots leave no room for human error. Where once there might have been between six and ten touch points for staff logging and dealing with each ticket, we now need only two with automation. This reduction in the number of times a member of support staff must handle each ticket leads to enormous productivity gains.
A better experience for customers
A further benefit of automation is a more efficient service for the end user, due to the simplified process for submitting a request – and, importantly, the much shorter time it takes for that request to be processed and fulfilled.
The intelligent service desk portal also provides richer engagement with end users. Live chat functions allow users to interact with an agent 24/7, which also extends to mobile platforms, creating a higher level of services for a mobile generation who increasingly don’t see the need for a laptop or permanent workstation.
‘Always–on’ managed services
By helping businesses to meet the requirements of the workspace of the future, managed services are evolving from delivering ‘traditional’ solutions to ‘always–on’ real world solutions. Managed IT support reshapes the future of companies in the realm of digital transformation, building and maintaining stable IT networks and systems that align with their brand strategy and business direction.
Through blending automation with customer service, MSPs can provide service desks with a much higher first contact resolution and a far richer customer service experience to the users that require more assistance. Service desk tasks can be performed quicker with consultants and engineers involved only when they need to be, creating the kind of productivity gains that will spur momentum and innovation.
Understanding how an organisation works and identifying tasks that are taking up too much time and effort, MSPs can work to automate them. Working in partnership with their clients to innovate and ensure they are riding the waves of digital transformation.