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Innovative Solutions for Business Automation and Monitoring
All companies which seek to grow their business are using advanced technologies. There is ever more information, and they need to be flexible and able to change quickly: not only changing the services they provide to their customers, but also transforming internal processes, making them more mobile and dynamic.
All this allows the business to keep up with the times and provide high-quality IT services to its employees and customers. However, experts state that companies need new IT solutions to constantly improve their services. ICL Services has implemented a number of innovative projects to improve the performance of service teams, including KPI reporting automation, Service Desk performance improvement, and the more efficient management of field engineers.
Acceptance of requests in a few seconds
Despite the fact that the target problem-resolution time can be measured in hours in accordance with the SLA, any incidents should be eliminated as quickly as possible. The speedy elimination of incidents involves their primary processing and correct assignment to resolution groups.
These responsibilities are usually assigned to the first line of support in the Service Desk, resulting in delays of at least a few minutes, even when the request has been described in detail. How can we minimize this loss of time?
A few months ago ICL Services, along with the first-line operators, began to use the system for the automatic classification of incidents and service requests. The new system is a robot that determines the nature and classification of problems using machine learning and algorithms to process and understand natural language. This robot also assigns the task to specific engineers and suggests solutions to specific problems.
Currently, the robot can fully automatically assign 15–20% of requests.
This "robotic" approach has several advantages.
First, the average time loss associated with classification is reduced from 4–5 minutes to 21 seconds. Second, the workload of first-line operators is reduced, enabling them to reduce errors and better handle the rest of the requests even during peak periods. Third, automatic classification forms the basis for fully automatic problem solving.
So, machine learning and artificial intelligence are expanding the scope of automation to further reducing the time needed to resolve incidents and process service requests.
Automatic assignment of IT engineers to visit the customer
Any large company that has numerous offices or stores throughout Russia also has a global IT infrastructure that needs to be constantly maintained, updated and improved. The level and quality of services provided by the company directly depend on it. ICL Services and its partner have developed and implemented a field engineer management tool to quickly address the challenges and issues with the IT infrastructure of such large customers.
This tool is designed to respond as quickly as possible to customer requests. The system structure allows the near automatic processing of requests from customers and assigning of visits, if necessary. Technical support has already seen an increase in productivity and efficiency of nearly 30%.
The system consists of several components: interfaces for dispatchers and field engineers, hardware and a vast database that contains all the necessary information about the customer, its sites and SLAs.
Figure 1. Contractor's personal account
In practice, this works as follows. The dispatcher uses the interface to receive messages directly from customers, create records for new requests, and take an appropriate decision: Does an engineer need to visit the customer? If the visit is necessary, the corresponding task (work order) is created for the field engineer. This task contains all the necessary information about the purpose and place of work, and documents that may be needed, for example, certificates of work performed or instructions. The following aspects are taken into account when selecting a specific employee: competences, availability, availability of the necessary tools and the distance to the place of work. As a result, each task is assigned only to an employee who can perform the work and get to the customer as quickly as possible.
Each work order "finds" its recipient thanks to the interface of the field engineer, which is installed on the employee's mobile device. Using the smartphone app, the engineer receives a timely notification of a new visit and comprehensive information about the request. Also, the application tracks the work and travel time, which later is used to calculate labor costs.
Figure 2. Requests and work orders
The most important and largest part of the Snaryad application is its database. It contains a huge amount of information that may be required for effective work: customer information – sites and working hours; field employee information – names, positions, service areas and competencies; SLAs – SLA indicators, levels and differences depending on the type of the site. So the engineer's visit is planned almost immediately after receipt of the customer request, and the task is assigned to the engineer who has the necessary competences. In addition, strict control is maintained of incidents and visits, which gives the customer the opportunity to receive comprehensive reports on the quality of services received. Benefits for the customer: the response time of the technician is up to 15 minutes; the arrival time at the equipment installation site is from 1 hour; and the equipment repair time is from 2 hours. In the near future, ICL Services plans to start using this visit management system for all projects and customers. As of August 2018, it was used by 97% of engineers.
Real-time KPI and SLA reports
Real-time KPI and SLA reports can be collected by the Pulse system. It was developed by ICL Services as part of a strategic initiative to automate the reporting and stack monitoring process for all commercial projects. This system provides the ability to quickly receive reports on the company's work without delays related to manual data collection, as well as analyze performance and take management decisions.
Pulse collects data from various ITSM systems and is based on OLAP cubes, multidimensional data arrays that enable the necessary information to be obtained (for example, by employee, day, etc.).
At the moment, the system contains statistics on the following four subject areas:
- Incident management (statistics on created, open, and closed tickets, as well as on the distribution of tickets among groups and the resolution of tickets);
- Change management (statistics on canceled, created, and implemented changes);
- Packaging (detailed information on labor costs by employee, statistics on packages in operation);
- Imaging (information on completed image requests and image processing details).
So, Pulse allows the company to create common criteria for all projects to evaluate the work of both engineers and project managers, as well as to generate various reports in a short time and maintain control over the provision of services and the performance of contractual obligations and internal standards.
In addition, Pulse helps the company analyze the current workload of employees, assess their performance, quickly escalate problems, take decisions about time off and holidays, and build a price model based on actual statistics.
This demonstrates that the new generation IT tools help companies not only to keep up with the times and offer customers the latest technologies to grow their business, but also to provide consistently high-quality services while reducing costs and increasing productivity.
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