6.7

Service Operation and Support

Service Operation and Support function organizes the delivery of services and adequate support for the service users.

Service Operation

Service Operation ensures an efficient delivery of services without interruptions. The business and IT together define the target service levels for each service, which are expressed in a Service Level Agreement (SLA) serving as a performance reference for Service Operation.

Service Providers are responsible for professional service delivery. They are also responsible for managing the service delivery in such a way that all services form an integrated entity with shared Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Overall service delivery is led by the Service Delivery Manager. Service delivery activities are managed by cross-functional operative and line roles, and executed by Specialists within different expertise areas. Service Integration and Management oversees service quality and integration over several services and service providers.

It is essential to understand the division of services into Business Solutions, End User Services and Infrastructure Services. Business Solutions include, for example, application services that enable business processes, such as ERP and financial management. End User Services include the concrete services provided for the employees such as service desk, workstation services and collaboration tools. Infrastructure Services include, for example, data communication and capacity services. Outsourced Service Operations enable cost-efficient operations and effective management of business risks, and also set higher requirements on the company’s IT management skills, documentation and communication.

 

Service Support

The Service Desk (Tier 1) is responsible for day-to-day service requests and incident resolution. It operates according to respective ITIL processes. Service Desk personnel (agents) must be properly trained and instructed to support the services. Questions that cannot be resolved in Service Desk are assigned to service delivery organizations (Tier 2) or Key Users (Tier 2). Technology related questions are assigned to technology providers (Tier 3).

Having self-service and self-help in form of predefined service requests and knowledge base articles helps to get fast service and to resolve frequently asked questions. The use of self-service together with workflow automation and self-help makes the Service Support time and place independent, increases the user satisfaction and, at the same time, lowers the operational costs. Figure 6.7.1. depicts the service support roles, levels and channels.

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Figure 6.7.1 Service Operation and Support Functions.

 

Digital Service Desk

Many organizations in different industries are constantly seeking new ways to increase the user satisfaction and lower the operational costs. This can be achieved by improving the interaction between the user and Tier 0 and automating the support routines.

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Figure 6.7.2 Digital Service Desk.

Figure 6.7.2 shows the use of a Digital Service Desk and self-help on top of traditional service desk. The ITSM tool based self-help function is complemented by the use of a cognitive agent and software robotics, called the Digital Worker.

 

Digital Worker

Digital Worker enhances the service support from both functional and organizational point of view. The Digital Worker consists of a cognitive agent which interacts with the customer, and solves issues or answers questions by using artificial intelligence (AI) and software robotics to perform various tasks automatically.

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Figure 6.7.3 Digital Worker.

The Digital Worker can replicate human actions when performing routine support tasks, entering the data and in various process activities. The cognitive agent is able to interact with humans and analyse their needs, as well as initiate the required processes or individual tasks through different application interfaces.  From the users’ perspective, this will be perceived as faster and consistent service, yet almost as if they were interacting with humans.

The use of cognitive agent provides instant response, scalability, consistent quality and 24/7 availability. The cognitive agent is able to converse in natural, understandable language, and it can adapt to human behavior as it monitors and adapts to the user’s feelings. The typical issues taken care by software robotics are tasks that are rule-based and repetitive.

While the Digital Workers are able to take care of most of the tasks in the Self-help and automation layer (Tier 0), the IT Support Center (Tier 1) consisting of humans is needed to supervise the Digital Workers as well as take care of tasks that require interaction with (real) human beings.

When all the routine tasks will be managed by Digital Workers, experienced people will gain more respect and better compensations. The people in support center will work closer to the business, and create more value with less human effort.

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