Piloting generative AI to improve customer support at MacStadium
Innovative Solutions drives deployment of IBM and AWS solutions
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Founded in 2011, MacStadium is a private cloud services provider and software-as-a-service (SaaS) leader whose mission is to deliver cloud solutions that simplify Mac for business. The firm provides a suite of advanced software-enabled infrastructure and innovative technology that helps DevOps professionals successfully deploy applications on Apple devices. One of its offerings, the Orka® (Orchestration with Kubernetes on Apple) (link resides outside of ibm.com) Platform, is the only Kubernetes-native virtualization layer available for Mac build infrastructure (link resides outside of ibm.com).

Providing ongoing support and education is critical for ensuring customer satisfaction with a cutting-edge solution such as Orka. Developers working with the product need answers to their questions in real time to deliver on their SLAs and meet their strategic business goals.  “Our previous support solution was a chat application that sent an alert to the data center technician on call at the time. It might be a new technician who had just joined the team, or a long-time member of the team with extensive knowledge and experience with Orka,” explains Chris Chapman, Chief Technology Officer at MacStadium. “The speed of the information and the context varied with each answer,” he adds. Moreover, the technician could become overloaded by product questions that were easily answered by existing documentation. Support technicians were vulnerable to longer lead times with high volume, low complexity questions, rather than focusing on truly complex queries.

30% increase in staff efficiency 25% reduction in customer support queries
With this new assistant, we will have an expert that is always available to help developers in the moment that they need help, so that they can get their questions answered faster and then go back to their development work. Sherry Grote Head of Marketing MacStadium

By employing generative AI (gen AI) powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) and IBM, MacStadium can shift this pattern. The IBM and AWS partnership brings a unique combination of leading enterprise AI, cloud, infrastructure and open-source technologies that enable organizations like MacStadium to scale AI workloads quickly and responsibly.

Over the course of a three-week pilot, a team of 10 at MacStadium came together with Innovative Solutions (link resides outside of ibm.com) to build and test a new virtual assistant powered by gen AI. “We chose to work with Innovative Solutions because of their significant AI expertise. They have been working with AI for a while and they understand the various options from an infrastructure perspective. Additionally, they have experience with multiple AI service providers and cloud providers, and can weave together the right solution for their customers,” notes Chapman.

The new assistant's chat interface is enabled by IBM® watsonx Assistant, a conversational AI platform that helps teams deliver self-service support. Amazon Bedrock (link resides outside of ibm.com), a gen AI service, provides the underpinning of the solution. When a user submits a question to the assistant, Amazon Bedrock technology will query the various data sources determined by MacStadium and summarize its findings for the user. “With this new assistant, we will have an expert that is always available to help developers in the moment that they need help, so that they can get their questions answered faster and then go back to their development work,” adds Sherry Grote, Head of Marketing at MacStadium. During the pilot, the team observed it could take the new assistant minutes to resolve a question that previously may have taken hours to resolve.

“That’s been a very impressive part about the AI itself: its ability to blend the information contexts together and serve up a cohesive and comprehensive answer. It’s very interesting how it absorbs the product documentation, and it can actually make logical leaps and assumptions that are pretty in line with what an expert would say when answering a user’s question,” notes Chapman.

The pilot of the new assistant, powered by IBM watsonx Assistant and Amazon Bedrock, demonstrated exciting results:

  • 30% increase in staff efficiency, enabling quicker and more effective customer interactions
  • 25% reduction in customer support queries, indicating higher first-contact resolution
  • Enhanced service implementation speed

The team also estimates that the assistant demonstrated a 90% accuracy rate in the answers it gave users, and they’re just getting started. They plan to expand the pilot to include other offerings in addition to Orka. “We want to grow beyond this initial use-case and support our users with configuration setup of their cloud services. Our vision is to create a configuration assistant that can support you with your entire cloud,” adds Chapman. “This new solution creates long-term value for MacStadium’s end-customers, and that’s what we’re most proud of. If we can help drive returns all the way through the value stream, we’ve done our job as a consulting partner, and setup the opportunity to help solve the next big problem,” adds Justin Copie, CEO, Innovative Solutions.

MacStadium Logo
About MacStadium

Founded in 2011, MacStadium (link resides outside of ibm.com) is a private cloud services provider and SaaSleader whose mission is to deliver cloud solutions that simplify Mac for business.

Innovative Solutions logo
About Innovative Solutions

Recognized as an AWS Premier Tier Services Partner, Innovative (link resides outside of ibm.com) uses its cloud expertise and technology to help businesses like MacStadium (link resides outside of ibm.com) migrate to and manage their IT infrastructure in the cloud. 

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