The Hybrid Workforce Needs Hybrid Workflows

Ben O'Loghlin
Ben O'Loghlin
October 13, 2021
The move towards hybrid working arrangements presents unique demands and opportunities for enterprise service workflows. COVID-19 and other drivers of digital transformation have driven the digitisation of enterprise workflows. Service desks are ripe targets for such transformation, as they are typically expensive and involve a lot of repetitive work.

By transforming the employees’ experience of service desks and other workflow centres, organisations can unlock employee productivity that was previously hampered by waiting on hold, inability to access enterprise services due to password and access problems, and lack of access to knowledge.

Human/AI hybrid workflow approaches blend the strengths of humans and AI to deliver faster, more accurate service on complex workflows that cannot be handled by bots alone. This approach is critical to accelerating those workflows that cannot be addressed by simple conversational AI approaches.

The following represent the main dimensions in which service desks and other workflow providers can pivot to newer, faster, more efficient ways of delivering service to the hybrid workforce.

Self-service portal

Legacy

Portal may or may not exist. Employees call the service desk or call someone they know. Contact point and channel varies by business unit. Employees are confused and can’t find what they need.

Hybrid

Employees serve themselves through the enterprise portal. All departments’ support workflows are available here. Employees find knowledge and get issues resolved quickly, feel happier and can get back to work.

Channel

Legacy

Phone and email dominate. Expensive, time-consuming and inconsistent. Lots of hold music.

Hybrid

Self-service portal is complemented by support through Slack, Teams, WhatsApp and more, enabled by AI. Users get what they want, how they want it.

Automation projects

Legacy

Time-consuming  and requires specialised skills to identify automation candidates. Requires  coding skills to automate tasks. Hard to set aside time and budget to get ahead  of the curve.

Hybrid

Automation of  tasks is point-and-click. Accurate ticket classification means high quality  data. Automation stays ahead of demand.

AI Service Agent

Legacy

No chatbot agent,  or agent that is essentially a glorified menu. Users get frustrated and end  up calling the service desk anyway. Initial adoption falls away.

Hybrid

Natural  Language Understanding allows the virtual agent to understand a wide variety  of utterances and map them onto detailed categories, knowledge articles and  workflows. Users find it easier to use the bot than to call or email the  service desk.

Triaging Tickets

Legacy

Service desk agents with varying levels of experience and training have difficulty consistently and accurately categorising tickets. Tickets bounce around different queues looking for the right place to be resolved. Employees get wrong answers, and it takes too long.

Hybrid

Requests are  instantly and accurately triaged and classified so they are assigned to the  right support team. Tickets get resolved faster with higher quality, users  get better service and are happier and more productive.

AI Augmentation

Legacy

Once tickets  reach the service desk they are handled with manual and error-prone processes.  Slow, expensive and error-prone.

Hybrid

AI embedded in the service desk allows AI automate and perform, in machine time, subtasks like classification, diagnostics, knowledge search, action selection and action execution. Service agents do less swivel-chair. Faster and more painless resolution of issues makes both employees and service agents happy.

Surfacing Knowledge

Legacy

Knowledge is  spread out in different repositories and hard to find for employees and  service agents. Alternatively, a big expensive project is required to put all  the knowledge in one place. Sucks resources.

Hybrid

Knowledge is  indexed across multiple repositories and can be semantically searched using  NLU from the service portal or the service desk. Employees can get whatever  they need in one place, with more accurate matching of article to search  terms

Conclusion

With a hybrid workflow approach employees have a better experience of the service desk, and service desk agents can be more accurate and productive. This frees up time and budget within IT to accelerate digital transformation.

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