Running A Seamless It Service Desk Pre And Post Pandemic Times

Running a Seamless IT service desk: Pre and post-pandemic times

Things will eventually return to normal, but it will be a “new normal.” I&O leaders must take the opportunity to leverage the changes in employee behavior and how these will change IT support requirements to offset the challenges of cost optimization on I&O budgets.

~ Gartner, Running an Effective IT Service Desk During and After a Pandemic, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on IT operations, particularly the IT service help desk. By resolving user-specific issues to dealing with system updates, the IT helpdesk plays an essential role in limiting employee downtime and boosting productivity.

Even in the pre-pandemic era, solving IT issues for remote workers was a hassle and required increased end-user cooperation. With the entire workforce shifting to remote operations, working from home has been challenging – both for end-users and service desk analysts. A few of the key obstacles to the smooth functioning of IT Service Management (ITSM) included the following –

  • The rapid rise in the use of collaboration tools for end-users and remote support tools for service desk analysts
  • A steep rise in the number of IT tickets as employees struggled to access business-critical apps remotely
  • Support incidents ranged from simple queries and issues, such as VPN connectivity, password resets, and authentications to complex ones like problems with app performance and network outages. According to the Nexthink Experience 2020 report, 70% of tech leaders reported spikes in their IT ticket and call volume, of which 77% cited VPN issues, 65% poor video calls, and 51% wifi connection.
  • As businesses started operating in a highly dynamic and componentized IT environment, consisting of multiple services, servers, apps, and microservices, the potential of a small IT outage disrupting entire operations increased manifold.

Below, we present you with the data that supports our claims.

What The Data Says

The solution?

The demands of the modernized business environment have accelerated the pace of digitalization and innovation, and compelled organizations to re-visit their long-term IT service strategy. Key themes, such as automation, IT modernization, and IT intelligence, have been brought to the forefront.

A study by IDC found, “Almost three-quarters (73%) of businesses will either increase or keep IT spend same despite economic pressures.”

So, if you are looking to transform your IT service desk for post-pandemic times, here are some essentials you should consider.

Essentials for IT service desk in the post-pandemic world

1. Demarcate high vs. low-priority issues

It is imperative to sensitize all employees that resolving IT issues in a remote setup may take longer than usual.

Creating concise, crisp, and understandable workflows for low and high-priority IT issues and committing to handling high-priority issues quickly is essential to running an effective IT service desk post-pandemic. And AI-enabled chatbots play a crucial role in this aspect. Let’s understand how.

2. Coexistence of human agents and AI chatbots

When IT service desk agents are engrossed in solving hundreds of routine issues and managing service requests, projects that add value to the business take a lesser priority.

Since the IT service department handles several routine and repetitive tasks, IT leaders are looking for ways to automate these mundane tasks and help IT save enormous costs without compromising on the quality of IT service.

A few organizations have expanded self-service (or, do-it-yourself) among employees to streamline tech support. This includes developing step-by-step guides and self-service portals for simple problems.

Consequently, employees needn’t contact tech support for common issues, such as resetting passwords and multi-factor authentication (MFA), installing and updating frequently-used business apps, etc.

Chatbots use AI, ML, and NLP to accelerate self-service and remediate day-to-day issues, automate mundane service requests, answer FAQs, send relevant information, and provide intelligent suggestions based on a user’s role, location, duties, etc., or handle more complex issues as well.

Chatbots can augment human effort by acting as the first line of agents to the existing IT customer service. However, in case of an escalation or upon the employee’s request, the bot can also hand over the conversation to a live agent. In such a scenario, the bot should be intelligent enough to decipher the employee’s sentiment or understand that it can’t provide the right answers.

3. Diagnose IT issues and prevent costly downtime using predictive maintenance

When the IT team is busy with introducing new digital services and keeping the existing infrastructure up and performing, organizations must look for ways to enable faster, simpler, and efficient IT services management at scale. And what is a better way than leveraging AI to do so?

AI-powered ITSM solutions integrate with infrastructure monitoring and facilities management tools to create automatic tickets in case a particular app, service, or tool shuts down or isn’t functioning optimally.

Such solutions also inform the affected users in case of downtime and generate tickets for root cause analysis.

4. Asset Management

Organizations spend a lot of money on IT assets. With the growing dependence on various apps, tools, software, machines, and services, asset optimization becomes critical yet time-consuming. Often, asset monitoring tools provide limited visibility into asset performance and employees may experience a loss in productivity due to poor asset performance and the need to repeatedly report asset downtime to the IT service desk.

AI solutions can be leveraged to monitor asset performance and lifecycle. Such tools use machine learning to understand past asset performance and trends and raise tickets to alert asset managers if asset performance isn’t up-to-the-mark or replacement is needed.

5. Knowledge Management

With the majority of the employees working remotely using digital tools, new IT queries and problems crop up almost every day. Therefore, a repository of FAQs and solutions is needed to ensure seamless operations and build effective knowledge management.

AI solutions empower the service desk with deep learning technology and provide answers to common IT problems from the organization’s content repository or the cloud.

The tools create new knowledge articles, if needed, and provide smart suggestions and resolutions to IT service desk agents and end-users. Moreover, such knowledge acts as the source of big data analysis and business intelligence.

6. Understand your user’s critical needs

Use surveys and focus group discussions to gather data on your users’ most critical IT needs and mold your service desk’s priorities accordingly.

Another way to gauge user needs, satisfaction, and experience is using AI-enabled sentiment analysis. Understanding user emotion at the time they raise IT tickets (depending on their usage of words / previous user data) can help agents (both human and chatbots) respond accordingly.

7. Enhanced end-user security

As IT self-service has grown exponentially, IT activities are now being handled by employees, instead of the technical staff.

In such a scenario, a decentralized and highly distributed workforce creates challenges as employees operate on their individual networks without centralized IT governance. Hence, end-user IT security becomes crucial to ensure there are no data leakages.

8. Don’t forget to measure your KPIs

Lastly, it’s important to gauge the effectiveness of IT services management and the IT help desk. This is essential to avoid a burnout situation, both for service desk professionals and the employees they assist.

Consequently, organizations must track a few mature metrics to track the efficiency and value of IT service desks and measure employee satisfaction.

Some of these include:

  • Ticket backlogs
  • Cost per ticket
  • Mean-time to resolve
  • Employees’ usage of digital tools and services
  • ROI from the automation of end-to-end processes
  • Support agent productivity

How can Acuvate help you run an effective IT service desk post-pandemic?

At Acuvate, we help clients deploy AI-powered chatbots for the IT service desk with our enterprise bot-building platform called BotCore.

Our chatbots for IT provide convenient 24X7 IT support, ensuring faster ticket resolution, consistent end-user experience, and significant cost reduction.

Moreover, as part of our AI-driven managed services, we provide solutions that help enhance IT support desk efficiency, improve application performance, build infrastructural resilience, and maximize support staff productivity and end-user satisfaction.

To learn more, please feel free to schedule a personalized consultation with our IT services management experts.