ITSM

The Measurable Impact of Service Desk Automations and Artificial Intelligence

August 16, 2018

The Measurable Impact of Service Desk Automations and Artificial Intelligence

self service portal three ways

In case you live under a rock (or a mountain of ‘password reset’ tickets), artificial intelligence and automation have arrived in the service desk.

You’ve probably heard, but your service desk solution can actually suggest data points to requesters and technicians, connect configuration items (CIs) to service functions, and it’s even learning to interpret comments for sentiment analysis. That AI-powered functionality paired with the power of automated workflows and ticket automations presents the fastest, strongest service desk to date.

It begs the question, how much time can the modern service desk actually save?

Ticket Routing Automations

One of the most time-saving pieces of smart technology available to service desk admins is the ability to predetermine where a ticket will land. Ticket routing automations can push every ticket to a specific individual or group of service providers based on certain data points, like the category/subcategory or individual requester.

Best case scenario?

That general queue, or holding area, where tickets go to sit and ponder their fate — you can wipe it from your strategy. Every single ticket is routed to a specific queue, so designated agents can simply open them in order of priority and start working on solutions. There’s no “general queue” where tickets wait to be assigned because every ticket routed automatically upon creation.

How much time/work would that save your organization?

It’s pretty easy to find out. Measure the amount of time it takes from submission to assignment for tickets that enter a general queue. The larger that number, the more time you’d save from a full routing automation plan. It’ll take some time, trial-and-error, and careful planning to reach the best case scenario, but there are plenty of examples of real ROI along the way.

One Samanage customer says her organization routes 20-30 tickets per day around a general queue through a set of automation rules. That’s 20-30 tickets that won’t sit in a holding pattern, waiting for attention. Another Samanage customer says that 73% of tickets are influenced by an automation rule.

The faster those tickets land with the proper technician, the faster the requesting employees will receive the solutions they need to do their jobs well.

AI-Powered Category Suggestions

This smart feature of the modern service desk is actually employee-facing. It shows up on the front end in ticket creation, but it’s closely related to ticket routing automations on the backend. I’ll explain.

Those ticket routing automations depend on accurate data input. We see a majority of organizations that prefer to route those tickets based on categories and subcategories, which depend on the requester submitting the ticket. Perhaps a certain group of techs handles “applications” tickets, and another group handles “software” tickets. In order to route these tickets to the correct group of technicians, you’re counting on the requester to know the difference between an application and a software issue. They might not always know.

That’s where artificial intelligence for the service desk can help. Based on your organization’s history of tickets, who submitted them, when and where they were submitted, keywords, and a number of other factors, your solution will actually suggest those categories and subcategories to the requester with precision. This will ensure your service desk reaps the benefits of all those automations you worked so hard to build.

One Samanage customer reported 94% adoption of AI-powered category suggestions. That cuts out a major variable in your plan to use data inputs to drive faster solutions.

So, how much time can AI-powered suggestions save? Build those automations on the backend, and then watch your times-to-resolution plummet.

Suggested Solutions

This is the holy grail of incident management, and it’s right within your reach. Start with expanding your knowledge base as far as you can, covering all kinds of incidents that may repeat themselves. Of course, technology and organizational processes will change, so the knowledge base is in a constant state of evolution. But if you can keep it up to date with useful solutions articles, you’re creating the opportunity to leverage AI-powered solutions to both employees and service agents.

The way it works is pretty simple. Much like the suggested categories and subcategories, your service desk solution can use artificial intelligence to recognize patterns in how your organization uses knowledge articles to resolve tickets. Based on this data, it will suggest the appropriate articles to requesting employees, potentially solving their issues before they ever press send on a ticket.

On the backend, it will quickly identify and suggest relevant articles to service agents, allowing them to send a solution with just a few clicks. Now, instead of typing up a solution or filtering through the knowledge base, the service desk platform has handled it for them.

One Samanage customer reported that up to 80% of tickets are resolved using knowledge articles!

Not only will this save time in the actual process of resolving tickets, but it will proactively prevent employees from submitting tickets in many cases, instead connecting them directly with solutions.

We’re only just beginning to see the benefits of some of these smart service desk features. The technology is new and it’s evolving, but as you can see, there are already tangible benefits in service delivery time and accuracy. Which of these features would have the greatest impact on your team?

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Like many IT professionals, Liz’s entry into the tech industry was unconventional. With plans to pursue a career in public relations, Liz’s career quickly took a turn toward technology. She got her start working as a customer success manager with a research platform for the financial industry prior to joining Samanage, now SolarWinds Service Desk. Prior to becoming a SolarWinds Head Geek, Liz served as the technical point of contact for SolarWinds Service Desk customers. In this role, she combined the best of both worlds: her passion for communicating with prospective and existing customers while leaning on her multiple ITIL certifications to provide ITSM best practices to help alleviate pain points, work smarter, and streamline service desk operations. Liz is a formally trained public speaker and is actively involved in the service management community, participating in and hosting podcasts, webcasts, panel discussions, and speaking at large-scale industry events. She attended James Madison University where she earned a B.A. in Communication Studies. She's ITIL 4 certified and has never met a dog she didn't want to adopt.