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By Sam Gross, CEO and Chief Product Officer of ChoiceWORX

As CIOs look toward 2021 and beyond, they are asking themselves an important question: if the IT support desk model stays the same, will they be able to meet the demands of a post-pandemic world and survive – let alone thrive?

The answer is decidedly no. With call volumes increasing substantially, legacy models for end-user support, and the added pressures of managing a remote IT support staff, organizations are in an incredibly tough position.

In a post-COVID world, businesses can no longer rely on dozens or hundreds of support staff all working out of one office location. In order to survive, let alone thrive, today and in the future, the fully-automated IT service desk must become a reality. But how do we get from here to there?

Old Service Desk Models Are Obsolete

Offshore labor’s economic benefits are not what they once were: Staffing an IT service desk, no matter where it’s located, has become officially too expensive with the traditional labor model. We hear from customers every day that their labor costs are too high, but they don’t know what to do about it.

Regardless of the new technologies and techniques they’re trying, IT service desk phones continue to ring off the hook – and the volume continues to go up! The truth is, the IT service desk market is desperate for a paradigm shift – and it’s going to have to be soon. The ideal solution is one that reduces labor costs and dependency, reduces volume to the service desk, and improves the end-user experience.

Service desks are currently under pressure to handle an increase in demand, and this is even harder to manage with employees working from home. Complications can include network connectivity, new devices, online collaboration, and other issues related to remote work. With longer hold and wait times than ever before, employees suffered loss of productivity and increased frustration, while IT service desk employees worked around the clock to try and resolve the issues.

Situations like these are driving a necessary change for service desks to explore automated options and AI-powered technologies to keep ticket volume and labor costs down while improving the end-user experience.

Reactive Approach Needs to Be Replaced by Proactivity

The current service desk model is reactive, which means that problems are reported after they’ve occurred, and after some time, a solution is implemented. But what the industry really needs is a proactive model that responds to an error before the end-user takes action or even calls the service desk. This would mean that if an error occurred, a response and a fix could be delivered proactively by AI technology, no human intervention required. Better for the It service desk employees, and better for the end-user.

Being truly proactive means identifying what could stop a problem in its tracks. Overall, this would boost performance, increase productivity and cost-effectiveness, and provide a more secure environment to reduce risk.

You might be thinking –  Isn’t a Live Chat proactive? Not really. Live Chat technology, for the most part, is still limited to providing simplistic “frequently asked questions” or online videos. The more personalized and action-driven technologies are generally unavailable in many Live Chat solutions that are being used today. Live Chat solutions are considered “conversational” remediation for problems that have already occurred, but they don’t prevent the errors from occurring in the first place.

The IT technology landscape is also an increasingly crowded market with fragmented tools that address only pieces and parts of the process.  A business might have an ITSM management system, a configuration management database, software distribution, diagnostic agents – the list goes on. An end-to-end solution that addresses all parts of the process would help streamline automation efforts, reduce labor costs, and improve the overall IT service desk experience.

It’s Time to Leverage AI Reasoning for Fully-Digitized Remediation

According to a recent Webinar presented by the Service Desk Institute and IRPA AI on the Autonomous Service Desk, a major outsourcer put together an 18 month digital development program in response to the impact of COVID-19, and in a matter of weeks, service desks went from handling 18,000 end-user calls a week to nearly 50,000 calls weekly with an automated solution. It also allowed them to shift from handling 9,000 to 30,000 emails a week and 8,000 to 70,000 live chats weekly.

These numbers are significant- especially when you consider that the average amount of time it takes to resolve a service desk call is 12-14 minutes, and even longer (more like 25 minutes) if there are remote desktop controls involved.

Just as our current global climate accelerated digital commerce, these unusual times have accelerated the necessary transformation of the IT Service Desk. Change is here to stay, and for progressive companies, this change means the difference between survival or extinction.

I could talk about the benefits of a fully-automated service desk all day long – if you want to hear more, let’s schedule some time to talk or follow me on LinkedIn.

Interested in learning more about fully-automated service desk solutions? VIew a demo of WORX for Digital Workplace here.