30 June 2020

Towards Hyperautomation – our vision on automation and AI

New advances in automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) offer novel opportunities to improve service desk efficiency and customer satisfaction. So what’s TOPdesk’s vision when it comes to automation and AI? Where do we see the potential in using AI for service management? And what applications will we invest in throughout the years to come? In this post, I’ll share our vision on how automation and AI will shape service management, the impact that they will have on our product, and how you’ll benefit.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Let’s start by clarifying the difference between automation and AI. In short, they both automate tasks for users — but the main difference is how they do this. With automation, each task needs to be specified in granular, step-by-step detail. Using Artificial Intelligence, the computer learns itself (or shows some level of understanding).­

However, the distinction is not so strict. Automation increasingly incorporates AI technology to make its solutions smarter, and AI makes use of automation to execute straight-forward tasks — for example, when a chatbot resets a password. Both automation and AI are applied for the same purpose: to automate straightforward tasks so agents can focus on other, more challenging activities.

Towards hyperautomation

Our software helps your department deliver an excellent service to your customers. We’ve always been quick to identify and implement new technologies that bring this service to new heights. The novel opportunities offered by automation and AI are aligned with our continuous effort to deliver smart functionality that enables users to achieve their goals effectively and efficiently.

This continuous effort is what Gartner refers to as Hyperautomation. Smart functionality, straightforward automation, advanced algorithms, and technologies like Machine Learning are combined to automate increasingly complex tasks. Software augments human intelligence by taking over repetitive tasks and supporting advanced decision-making.

Automation

Since we released Version 3 over a decade ago, automation has been an integral part of TOPdesk. User actions and elapsed timers within TOPdesk can trigger automated tasks (whether within TOPdesk itself or elsewhere in your environment) using APIs. Plus, with our extensive APIs, any other automation in your ecosystem can trigger TOPdesk functionality.

Investing in Artificial Intelligence

We recognized the huge potential for AI to improve service management years ago, and acted upon this immediately. We set up a specific taskforce dedicated to exploring the wealth of opportunities that AI could bring our customers. For the past two years, we’ve been putting those insights into action and delivering AI-based solutions to our customers.

By doing so, we have learned a lot about Artificial Intelligence: the technology, the required data, the possible applications, and the different ways to successfully implement and introduce AI in service departments. This knowledge has culminated in a clear vision on using AI in TOPdesk over the coming years.

Applying automation and AI to Service Management

Automation and AI have potential benefits throughout our software — they’re not solely limited to one specific process or user type. Our ultimate goal is to help support and empower all our users. As such, we add automation and AI where we believe that they bring added value to the end user.

At TOPdesk, we’ve identified four main themes that outline where automation and AI will have a huge impact. In the coming years, we’ll concentrate our AI and automation efforts across these four specific areas.

1. Help your customers to help themselves

With Artificial Intelligence, TOPdesk software has the ability to provide your customers with the right information at the right time. Here’s how:

  • TOPdesk better understands what your customers are looking for, and suggests information pro-actively — eliminating your customers’ need to search at all.
  • Automatic translations make all information available in any language.
  • Virtual Support Agents resolve simple and recurring customer questions immediately and around the clock.

2. Make operators more effective

Intelligence enables your operators to be more effective, helping them to:

  • Focus on more challenging tasks (since customers can better find their own answers and virtual agents resolve frequently asked questions).
  • Quickly resolve calls that aren’t solved by your knowledge base or virtual agent. TOPdesk automatically suggests the most likely actions for solving a call: analyzing available data, recognizing key actions and workflows, and routing calls to the right operator.
  • Facilitate prioritization by recognizing importance and urgency.

3. Stay on top of everything with automatic triggers

Intelligent triggers help you stay in control of everything that’s going on across your team. By analyzing all available data, TOPdesk understands which events are important for your service department and customers — and provides immediate notifications when these events occur (for example, when an SLA is about to be breached. Or when it recognizes a pattern that may lead to a caller being unhappy with your service, like many operator reassignments).

4. Be prepared for the future

TOPdesk allows you to prevent incidents from occurring at all by recognizing developing trends and presenting you with predictions at an early stage. For example, TOPdesk predicts your call volume for specific categories or customer groups on an ongoing basis. And data-driven insights help you to identify structural problems early on, such as problematic assets or asset types.

Our vision in practice

By concentrating on these four themes, our software ensures that you’re able to help your customers quicker and more effectively, that your department has a better grip on the service it delivers, and that you can prevent incidents from occurring at all. Operators can focus on more challenging tasks, make use of pro-active improvements to our software, and concentrate on personal interaction with customers.

At TOPdesk, we’re dedicated to bringing your service organization to the next level. Automation and AI have the ability to drastically improve your services — so we consider them crucial to our foundations. In the coming years, you’ll see many more applications of Intelligence throughout our software. We’ll offer specialized third-party functionality as plug-and-play solutions in our Marketplace. And on top of that, our powerful integration framework enables you to create integrations based on your specific requirements.

In my next post, I’ll dive into all the AI and automation-related functionalities that we’ve been working on over the past years — and explain how they could help you improve your service delivery.

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Arvind Ganga



Arvind Ganga, AI lead

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