Since COVID-19 has forced many companies to require their employees to work from home, IT departments across the country have had to figure out how to service employees’ technology needs remotely. Now, with companies starting to plan for the return of their employees to their physical offices, IT departments will need to make additional adjustments to service a new employee working model; one split between working from home and their company offices.

As employees return to their workplaces, they will likely need support servicing minor issues and repairs that didn’t warrant immediate attention during the sudden shift to remote work. Consequently, IT workers will experience a wave of technology support requests, from repairing a broken speaker, to addressing software problems, to providing an overdue laptop upgrade.

Here are three ways IT service desk professionals can leverage automation technology as they prepare to handle a backlog of repair requests:

Handle simple issues with artificial intelligence

Investing in artificial intelligence (AI) is a growing trend across organisations, as AI-powered tools have the ability to transform a variety of industries, including IT. In order to be better equipped to handle the influx of repair requests upon returning to the office, AI tools and strategies can create efficiencies that save IT teams valuable time and accommodate an organisation’s employees at a faster rate.

There are several AI tools companies can deploy, like intelligent chatbots, which can operate on a 24-hour basis and handle a large volume of service desk requests. AI can interact with employees who are looking for advice on how to solve a technology issue — many of which are repetitive requests or quick fixes — and provide fast, formulaic direction through an automated process. As a result, IT team members free up valuable time that they can put toward focusing on more complex or unique requests, and user satisfaction is increased due to the elimination of unnecessary response delays.

Contactless intake and return options

In order to address more difficult repair requests, some employees may need to turn in their devices and use loaner equipment so they can continue to work while repairs are being made. Consequently, processing, repairing and distributing the updated devices will consume a significant amount of time for helpdesk workers.

Contactless intake and return methods powered by automation create a safer and more efficient way to service and replace employees’ devices. For example, automated locker systems can streamline the distribution process by allowing employees to directly access the devices they need by entering a pin code or swiping an ID badge to collect an item from a locker. This eliminates the number of in-person interactions needed, and technology on the machine’s back-end automatically tracks usage and sends instant notifications directly to the IT department. Employee wait time for devices is decreased due to flexible pick-up and drop-off times, and IT service teams reduce their overall labor hours spent on processing.

Maximise the use of data

With a heavy workload heightened by the wave of service requests, IT may not have the time to sort through data and identify important insights that can inform their processes as employees return to work. Automation is an essential tool to help maximise technology and device data, empowering IT teams to spot otherwise unrecognisable trends and develop early solutions to problems. Predictive analytics is one way that can help make informed recommendations by spotting trends for IT teams. For example, a predictive analytics tool can track a problem trending in employee devices, giving IT teams the opportunity to get ahead of the problem or find a solution before further issues arise.

As companies seek to find safe and efficient ways to get employees back to their offices, IT teams may be stretched thin with enterprise transition needs coupled with an influx of service and repair requests. Leveraging automation technology has the ability to streamline service desk processes, while saving significant labor hours for IT workers and addressing employees’ requests faster. Tools like AI and predictive analytics will be a key differentiator for service desk professionals looking to stay ahead of IT issues and address employee requests in a seamless manner.

Source: https://www.idgconnect.com/opinion/1505662/automation-help-manage-helpdesk-backlog