The digital transformation and the internal service desks
Most organizations today are focusing on creating a digital service desk experience. This transformation has of course been going on for many years and different organizations have different versions of ticket systems for reporting and solving internal (mostly IT) issues. A common trend, though, is efforts on creating a digital self-service. Gartner has targeted self-service support as one of the top priority areas for 2020:
“Improve the customer service experience by reducing live contact volume by shifting from a live to a self-service functionality”
The self-service trend is mainly focusing on answering the “simple and reoccurring” questions. These are the types of questions, asked often and by different users, that typically have simple answers. Our experience at Findwise is that surprisingly many of all the questions handled by an internal service desk can be categorized as simple and reoccurring. We have targeted 3 challenges for the internal service desk – and suggestions on how to solve them.
The challenge of self-service in an internal service desk
In almost all organizations there is a need to handle internal support questions. It might be IT-related such as “how do I install a VPN to be able to work from home”, HR-related such as “how do I order terminal glasses”, Finance related such as “where do I report the financial result for last quarter “ etc.
This is generally handled by the “internal service desk” or “internal support”. It might be handled “case-by-case” using email by the responsible person or in a more structured form in a “ticket system”. Often IT has a structured and formalized way of working but other areas (HR, Finance etc.) might not be equally structured.
The business impact on an organization when the internal service desk does not deliver fast and accurate answers might be huge! People might not get their work done and instead need to “idle” in wait for a response or answer.
3 challenges to solve
Findwise has during the years created several digital, self-service, internal service desk portals with the ability to be proactive and give the users the fast and accurate answers they are looking for.
In this work we have learned that there are 3 main challenges you need to solve:
Take control of your data
If you are going to provide proactive and self-service answers to simple and recurring questions you need to know where the answers are. You need to have control of your data!
In order to do that you need to have a plan and work continuously with the data challenges viewed in the picture below:
At Findwise we have measured Search and Findability in various organisations since 2012. As clearly shown in the result of the 2019 Search & Findability Survey, finding relevant information is still a major challenge to most organizations. When it comes to internal information, as many as 55% find it difficult or very difficult to find what they are looking for. Bad information quality is one of main reasons for poor findability.
Not only does insufficient information quality lead to poor findability, it also has a negative effect on digital transformation in general. To be able to extract value from data and create, in this case, a digital self-service, the first step always needs to be to “sort out the (information) mess”. Read more about, what we at Findwise call, “The pyramid of digital transformation” and why sorting the mess is fundamental.
Create the appropriate platform
Creating a ticket in a ticket system is good for complex questions that are not occurring daily. They need to be handled by a person working in the internal support organization.
Finding an answer to the simple and reoccurring questions requires another kind of system. This is more of a search-platform than a ticket system. The user wants to find the answer – not create a ticket and then wait.
At Findwise we have created various search and information platforms, with service desk applications built on top, during the years. The solution depends on the user’s specific need, type of data and optimal way of consuming information.
An internal support service combining the ticket system for complex questions and the self-service portal for simple and recurring questions can handle any kind of internal issue in an efficient way!
Make it easy to find the correct answer
Understanding user intent is hard. Luckily, we can use AI-technology to bridge the gap in communication between a human and a system.
Users (supported by technological development) have moved from keyword search to searching in our Natural Language. Natural Language Processing is a substantial part of AI used for understanding the human language and being able to answer in the same way. Home assistants are a great example of NLP in our everyday life.
Digging deeper in the area of NLP you’ll find Name Entity Recognition (NER). This is how we at Findwise know that “surprisingly many of all the questions handled by an internal service desk can be categorized as simple and reoccurring”. Let’s look at some examples of questions that appear unique, but can actually be clustered.
In the case of the phone numbers the queries seem to be unique but since they all refer to the same “entity” they can be clustered and handled as “simple and recurring”.
There are obviously a lot of different ways of asking the same question! Natural Language Understanding, using dense vectors or embeddings, is likely the hottest area withing the deep learning NLP community today. Google’s BERT that was released late 2018 has even been able to outperform humans in question answering tasks.
But AI doesn’t need to be the silver bullet every time. Another example of how to make it easy to find the current answer is to work proactively. During a year different thing are important for different users. Approaching summer questions about vacation rules, vacation application etc. might be very common. Coming back after the summer vacation IT-departments might be bored with the simple and recurring question of “I have forgotten my password – how do I change it?”
Using search technology boosted with AI and a lot of common sense the support organization should be able to present answers to questions that they think many users will ask – at the right time of the year.
The trend towards a digital and self-service oriented internal service desk is rapidly gaining phase, in the short perspective driven by the fact that more people than ever are working from home.
The negative business impact of a poor service desk not giving fast and accurate answers can be significant.
Findwise experience within this filed can be summarized in three challenges that need to be solved:
- Take control of your data
- Create the appropriate platform
- Make it easy to find the correct answer
If you want to know more about how Findwise solves these challenges and the solutions we provide, do not hesitate to contact us.