Intelligent, AI-driven technology support gains momentum

Five practical steps for implementing a new technology support model in the new year

By | 4 minute read | December 13, 2019

2019 provided a steady stream of information and discussions about the rise of the digital workplace and the potential of cognitive and AI to optimize the worker experience. Forces of change in the workplace are undeniable, with every aspect of our work lives becoming digitized:

  • By 2021, 68 percent of large enterprises believe that a majority of employees will be mobile and not bound by an office space. – Everett Group
  • The global mobile workforce is set to increase to 1.87 billion people, or 42.5 percent of the global workforce, in 2022. – IBM
  • 25 percent of digital workers will use virtual employee assistants daily by 2021 – Gartner
  • AI-enabled, customer-facing service desk support will increase by 25 percent in 2020, leveraging virtual customer assistants and chat bots. – Gartner
  • In 2020, 80 percent of outsourced service desks for global enterprises will no longer require human service desk agents for first contact. – Gartner

Companies need to embrace a new technology support model that meets the challenges of the digital workplace and the demands of the workforce for access without boundaries. The primary driver behind your company’s support strategy should be continuously optimizing the worker experience. Add cognitive and AI capabilities to help create an intelligent, predictive and proactive support infrastructure that boosts productivity and worker satisfaction while significantly reducing costs.

With so many buzzwords in the market today, it can be almost paralyzing to figure out where to begin. In this blog, I’m going to strip away the buzz, fluff and hypotheticals of 2019. Let’s ring in 2020 with five practical tips you can use to start achieving a new technology support model for your digital workplace.

1. Ensure your data is good data

I know it sounds cliché, but data is still your most valuable asset. Advanced technologies can help you take full advantage of both your structured and unstructured data to uncover key insights about the worker experience and power an intelligent workplace. Remember: Data is your baseline. Before you implement new cognitive and AI apps that will continuously feed off that data, you need to first put in place the necessary disciplines and practices to continuously cleanse and manage your data.

2. Use analytics to understand and optimize the worker experience

Once you have good data, you’re ready to reap the benefits of analytics, which can turn vast amounts of data about your workplace and worker experience into actionable information. Analytics help IT understand where there are roadblocks and bottlenecks affecting worker productivity and why they are occurring. Armed with this insight, IT can focus its energy on strategic fixes, high-value priorities and automating and improving processes to prevent future issues.

3. Optimize your infrastructure to support a mobile workforce

A great user experience relies on seamless alignment between physical and cloud infrastructures. It’s critical that you think about your entire infrastructure, including how it’s designed, what to move to the cloud and what to leave on premises, and how you will manage those multiple components. Optimizing your hybrid cloud infrastructure is critical to your ability to take advantage of new technologies, devices and cognitive and AI applications.

4. Empower tech-savvy workers with the technology and devices they want

Employees expect their technology experience at work to mirror the user experience they have with consumer technology. They want the freedom to choose their own devices and are turning to smaller, more portable devices and tablets, wearables and ultrabooks. The worker experience should drive every decision you make when it comes to the technology you choose and the devices you support.

Technology has become a decision factor for talent when assessing employment opportunities. 74 percent of employees say the ability to work from anywhere, at any time is influential in their choice of employer (IBM Digital Workplace Services Pulse Survey 2019). Our client IT executives tell us that on average, 30 percent of candidates who turned down jobs at their organizations cited technology as a major factor.

5. Define and track metrics that matter in the digital workplace

Success is no longer measured by uptime and downtime, but rather by the quality of the user experience. Do workers consistently have reliable access to the information, resources and tools they need to be successful? Are application and system performance high, or is the worker experience slow, clunky or difficult? Are workers constantly contacting the service desk for assistance with the same issues? Tracking those factors that impact workers’ day-to-day experiences is critical to improving their productivity and success.

Once you have the data, insights, infrastructure, technology, device support and metrics required to successfully bring cognitive and AI into the workplace, it’s time to apply these capabilities within your technology support model:

  • Enable self-help support with natural language to provide faster ticket resolution and reduce the burden on IT support.
  • Provide self-healing and proactive fixes to problems before they affect workers.
  • Proactively identify failing devices and bring intelligence to device refresh plans.
  • Use automation to execute common tasks and enable take-action capabilities.

What does this actually look like in practice? Brazilian food company BRF launched an AI-powered service desk using IBM Workplace Support Services with Watson. The virtual agent fields more than 2,000 calls per month that would otherwise have to be managed by a human agent.

Creating an intelligent, AI-driven support model for your digital workplace is a goal you can achieve. But it requires a methodical approach to ensure you have the right pieces in place and can reap the benefits, including:

  • Increased employee productivity and satisfaction with faster issue remediation
  • Reduced service desk calls using multichannel
  • Proactive and predictive fixes before issues impact workers
  • Cost savings through reduced service desk contacts and reduced labor

Start your new year with a resolution to create a new support model for the digital workplace.