Building a solid ITSM foundation
ServiceNow has always invested in its service desk capabilities, so it should come as no surprise that we had a robust ITSM foundation for Mirza and his team to build on. By 2017, we had already:
- 215,700 hours saved for employees from self-service automation
- Achieved 85% adoption of IT self-service
- Saved $42 million annually in operational and resource costs
Not only did we reduce costs and streamline workflows, we also provided quality experiences for our employees. For example, we broke down incidents in our service catalog by service type, allowing users to select from a simple drop-down list of common incident types—rather than having to fill in a form. With this and other service delivery optimizations, we attained a 97% employee satisfaction rating.
How Mirza and his team turned good IT service into spectacular IT service
As Mirza took over the service desk team, ServiceNow continued to grow by leaps and bounds. That created significant challenges, even though ServiceNow had a well-established service desk.
“We were under increased pressure because ServiceNow was adding hundreds of employees every month. My team couldn’t simply add more staff. To scale, we needed to improve how we did things, providing the truly frictionless experiences that ServiceNow employees—and my team—deserve. By leveraging new technologies that built on our existing foundation, we could enhance the employee experience while dramatically improving my team’s productivity,” says Mirza.
Let’s look at how Mirza and his team achieved this goal.
Increasing agent productivity and responsiveness with Agent Workspace
To address our most pressing IT service issue—scaling the service desk—Mirza knew he needed to increase agent productivity. For this, he turned to ServiceNow® Agent Workspace.
Mirza says, “To accurately resolve incidents, our agents need to deal with multiple types of information and interactions—phone calls, chats, knowledge base articles, similar historical incidents, and more. They ended up juggling multiple windows for a single incident, making it nearly impossible to work on multiple incidents at the same time. Using Agent Workspace has fixed the issue by centralizing everything in one place and giving our agents the contextual information they need.”
Darpan Patel, an IT support specialist on Mirza’s team, agrees. “With Agent Workspace, handling most incidents is a five-minute job. I’m not flipping between browsers anymore, and I can even fix issues directly from the workspace. It takes half the time it used to. And, with a separate tab for each incident, it makes multitasking easy.”
That simplicity has delivered impressive results, including slashing incident resolution times from 36 hours to 11 minutes—more than a 99% reduction—and keeping the rate of reopened incidents below 2%.
“We’ve increased agent productivity, but it’s more than that. Now, agents can fix incidents in real time, rather than putting them on the back burner for later analysis. That means employees get an almost instantaneous resolution, which in turn increases their productivity. It’s a win-win situation,” enthuses Mirza.
Giving time back with the Walk-Up Experience
ServiceNow has had tech lounges—places employees can come when they need face-to-face IT support—for many years. Mirza explains, “While we’re focused on self-service, we know that employees still want personalized service when it matters. Tech lounges are a great way to do that. They provide a structured environment with dedicated staff, rather than having to deal with disruptive ad hoc walk-ups. And, our employees love them.”
However, Mirza and his team knew that they could make our tech lounges even better by rolling out ServiceNow® Walk-up Experience. With Walk-Up Experience, employees can join a virtual queue using their PC or mobile device, rather than physically queuing at the tech lounge. They can easily monitor their estimated wait time and head to the tech lounge as they approach the head of the queue.
“It’s another way of giving time back to our employees,” says Mirza, “Rather than hanging around the tech lounge at peak times waiting for the next available technician, employees can use that time for other work.”
And, what do ServiceNow employees think of the Walk-Up Experience? It’s a resounding thumbs-up, with our tech lounges scoring nearly 98% employee satisfaction.
Using artificial intelligence to scale with company growth
Mirza and his team are using our own extensive artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to deflect incidents and automate repetitive manual activities. According to Mirza, “AI is an absolutely essential component of our strategy. But it’s not about replacing agents with machines. We’re using artificial intelligence to handle mundane work so our agents can focus on high-value activities, such as resolving complex incidents. That makes the best use of our skilled resources and helps us to deliver better service levels.”
ServiceNow® Agent Intelligence is a perfect example. As soon as a user starts to describe their issue online, Agent Intelligence can suggest knowledge articles and other information that may help the user to resolve the issue by themselves. If they still need to raise an incident, Agent Intelligence uses AI to automatically route the incident to the right support team based on how similar incidents were routed in the past.
“With Agent Intelligence, we don’t waste time manually triaging and routing incidents. It’s less effort, and we respond faster to employees. In fact, we resolve 77% of our incidents on first assignment,” says Mirza.
Mirza and his team have also made good use of ServiceNow® Virtual Agent. According to Mirza, “We used our historical ServiceNow data to identify repetitive incidents and requests, such as password issues, locked out accounts, and application access requests. We then build corresponding conversations for the Virtual Agent. Now, users can interact with the Virtual Agent 24/7 for these common issues—and there’s no delay waiting for a live agent. And, every time they do, we’re freeing up our agents to serve other users.”
What have we learned from our ITSM journey?
If you are thinking about transforming your IT service desk capabilities like we did, Mirza offers the following insights:
Invest in your foundation. “Your foundation doesn’t have to be perfect, but you do need a certain level of maturity. For example, you get more value out of Agent Intelligence and Virtual Agent if you already have self-service in place.”
Don’t just focus on cost reduction. “IT productivity and great employee experiences go hand-in-hand. Look for opportunities to elevate both and remember that it’s not just about IT—it’s about helping your entire business work faster and smarter. Do that, and IT productivity will follow naturally.”
Think about the entire IT service journey. “Employees don’t just access IT services one way. For example, if they simply want to reset a password, they’ll use self-service. On the other hand, if their laptop keeps on rebooting, they’re probably going to want to chat with an agent or even bring their laptop to IT. All of these channels are opportunities to do things better. Also, think about how these channels are connected—and how you can help users transition seamlessly from one to the other when they need to.”
Apply the 80/20 rule. “Take our Virtual Agent implementation as an example. We didn’t try to create conversations for every possible scenario. Instead, we looked at our historical data to identify high-volume incidents and requests. That way, we got the most bang for our buck rather than chasing diminishing returns.”
What’s next? The possibilities are limitless
Mirza and his team have already delivered spectacular results for ServiceNow employees, including that astonishing 99% reduction in incident resolution times. And, they have also driven massive increases in IT service desk productivity. For example, in Q1 2016, ServiceNow had one service desk resource for every 140 employees. By Q4 2018, the ratio was one resource for every 246 employees—an increase in productivity of more than 75%.
Mirza sees more opportunities that include:
- Integrating ServiceNow with communications tools like Slack
- Using sentiment analysis to measure and improve the effectiveness of Virtual Agent conversations
- Creating virtual tech lounges for remote workers
- Using Amazon Alexa to connect conference rooms with virtual tech lounges for real-time IT support
According to Mirza, “The possibilities are almost limitless. For example, with Mobile Studio 2, our users will be able to automatically submit an incident simply by taking a photograph of what’s broken. We are continuously looking for ways to make getting IT service as simple as possible.”
The bottom line
IT is now responding by creating a frictionless IT service delivery model using new technologies—technologies that are already integrated into ServiceNow.
However, while meeting employee expectations is incredibly important, the value of consumerizing the IT service experience goes beyond this. As we have shown with our own service desk, it gives back valuable time to employees while dramatically improving IT service desk productivity.
By using the Now Platform and its advanced capabilities, our service desk team has:
- Maintained an impressive 97% employee satisfaction rating
- Slashed incident resolution times by an incredible 99%
- Increased IT service desk productivity by 75%
Mirza sums it up, “We’ve had great results, but we’re not superheroes. When you focus on the service experience, along with the technology, processes, and people, you need to make it happen, everything else falls into place. Anyone can do this.”