Rapid transformation has taken place in IT Service and Operations Management that has impacted both the technology used and the user experience as a result of using that technology.
Recently, we sat down with two leaders in the ITSM delivery space, Tracy Laird, Vice President of Product Management for ServiceNow, and Ben Lilienthal, CEO and co-founder of ScreenMeet, in a wide-ranging discussion on the latest trends in IT Service Delivery. Here are some highlights from that discussion:
Challenges and concerns of Help Desk personnel
As more and more companies undergo digital transformation, they are becoming increasingly focused on improving the customer experience as well as the experience of their support agents. Implementing the right technology helps reduce the time it takes for problem resolution, which, in turn, helps retain staff and help desk personnel. It also increases revenue by increasing efficiency and productivity, which is also top of mind for IT managers.
A source of friction for service and operation teams regarding problem resolution is using disparate technologies and tools within the various teams. The lack of seamless interaction between these systems makes data sharing and trouble ticket handoff difficult. So, another trend in this area is the push for more integrations among the tools and technologies being used by these service organizations.
As Ms. Laird pointed out, "Our customers are looking for a company they can partner with on digital transformation to help connect people, functions, and systems to serve customers and employees much better as well as drive profitability."
Lastly, security is an ever-present concern—behind all these technological shifts, there is the constant need to keep the systems and data secure within and without the organization.
Our customers are looking for a company they can partner with on digital transformation to help connect people, functions, and systems to serve customers and employees much better as well as drive profitability.
Tracy Laird, Vice President of Product Management for ServiceNow
How are ITSM solution providers addressing these challenges?
Many issues plaguing the IT service providers include employee frustration with the tools they use, the need to perform repetitive tasks, and delays in addressing high-priority incidents.
ServiceNow has made significant investments in its platform to enhance the customer experience and make it easier on the agent by automating and optimizing operations where it makes sense.
Likewise, ScreenMeet has invested in its integrations to be embedded with ServiceNow. ServiceNow users can transition seamlessly from self-service chatbots to a conversation with a live agent to a full-screen takeover by the agent for problem resolution using ScreenMeet.
ScreenMeet is the first cloud-native remote support platform in the world. It can be embedded directly into the ServiceNow platform so that it appears like a seamless extension of the platform.
Ben Lilienthal, CEO and co-founder of ScreenMeet
The role of AI in IT trouble resolution
Many ITSM solution providers have introduced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) into their products to facilitate self-service problem resolution. When employees and customers can resolve many of their issues without needing a live agent, it relieves the burden on the help desk and frees them to manage higher-priority incidents.
For example, the ServiceNow platform supports embedded virtual agents with natural language understanding capabilities tied to the service catalog and predictive intelligence, all in the embedded experiences for their customers worldwide. Users can access these tools anytime, anywhere, on any device using standard collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Slack.
So, when is the right time for a company to incorporate a virtual agent into its support team?
According to Ms. Laird, "From a digital transformation perspective, you have to think about what your team wants to accomplish in terms of the key results. You've got to have some balance between what you intend to do and intentionally design that experience. We have many customer stories with ServiceNow and ScreenMeet and around our Virtual Agent where we've seen anywhere between a 30% to up to 65% employees have self-solved their problem."
The need for personal engagement over automated response
While virtual agents can help with most routine service problems, there will always be a percentage of incidents requiring a live agent's engagement. However, the transition between the two should be fast, seamless, and uncomplicated.
Because ScreenMeet is embedded within ServiceNow's virtual agent, users can go from communicating with a virtual agent to screen sharing with a live agent in one click. This makes it easy on the user because it is part of the virtual agent interface. It also makes it easy for the live agent to access everything related to this user's interaction with the virtual agent.
"So, all of that friction goes away," said Lilienthal. "We find that seamless handoff to be powerful, to be real, and to drive efficiency across the service desk."
See ScreenMeet's seamless integration with the ServiceNow Virtual Agent for yourself in this 2 minute demo.
What can businesses do now?
Over the next year or two, businesses will continue to focus on delivering world-class experiences for their customers and employees. They will focus on process and workforce optimization to increase productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
An important aspect of productivity and efficiency is for these businesses to have answers to some critical questions. For example:
- The business should determine how to proactively prevent or reduce outages, eliminating much of the need for trouble resolution.
- They also need a plan that will help them reduce the number of Priority 1 and Priority 2 incidents.
- The business should have a goal for the percentage of productivity gains they expect to realize by using virtual agents before implementing them.
- They must have a plan for how they will drive technology to adopt industry best practices and how this will help them optimize processes throughout the organization to support these initiatives.
"My advice," said Ms. Laird, "is to think about how you will bring technology and services operations together for your customers and your employees. Look at how you're going to expand those services to provide that exceptional experience while reducing cost at the same time."
Most ITSM solution providers include third-party add-on products (also known as Independent Software Vendor or ISV products), which provide expanded capabilities to the base solution. Due to market uncertainty, businesses will try to get the most out of the tools they have already invested in by purchasing ISV products rather than purchasing a completely new solution.
Lilienthal recommends, "Service Desk managers should be asking, 'What are the top five things that I do in my service desk that I don't have in the platform right now?' Go find these ISV products, get them, and try them out, because what our customers find is they didn't know these solutions were available, they didn't know how easy it was to install them, and they didn't realize the productivity gains."