Always-on connectivity and a proliferation of mobile devices has had an unprecedented impact on the world.
By Edward Carbutt, executive director at Marval Africa.
Fundamentally, it changes the way both businesses and end users interact. There is at least one mobile application for virtually every kind of service, product or other requirement you may have – and IT departments are riding the wave of consumerised IT.
Mobility in addition to readily available, intuitive and easy to use apps lend themselves well to the burgeoning self-service market. Many users now expect the same level of ‘at-your-fingertips use’ at work, as they have in their personal interactions. Employees within ITSM departments are experiencing the need therefore resulting in a massive opportunity for the business. Companies should leverage these capabilities to improve not only the experience of their staff, also to enrich that of their customers.

Quick and easy ITSM
It’s no secret that ITSM is reliant on smooth processes. While the fundamentals to promote streamlined functionality is enabled by following the frameworks laid out by Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a self-service mobile application which leverages these same principles can only serve to make life easier.
Timing is critical with most business processes; however, this is especially important when it comes to ITSM. Excessive delays leads to unhappy customers, an irritated and unhappy workforce, and even loss of revenue. The fact is, time is money, and no one can afford a moment wasted.
For example, McDonald’s has always been known as a fast food restaurant that is reliable and convenient. Originally and currently, if one were to order food from an outlet, clients would order from the drive through and wait for their meals at an allocated window.
McDonald’s started to realise that queues would quickly form and as such, implemented a system where an alarm would go off within the kitchen if a customer were to wait too long. As time went on, the company also concluded that their customer base was growing and therefore needed to service them in other ways. This lead to the development of their latest app, where one can now order food via their mobile application or online. At the click of a button, food is delivered to your door.
Mobile applications, especially when backed by technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and cognitive learning, minimises the time spent logging calls, waiting for a response, and generally servicing IT requests.

ITSM at your fingertips
Imagine, if you will, having an issue with one of your IT processes and being able to request support, receive immediate tips on what to try and, if that fails, have a committed response time to correct the problem at the click of a button? The hassle of searching for a call centre number and talking to one or more people takes time, even when the process is efficient and successfully concluded. Although helpful and likely knowledgeable on your particular problem, helpdesk agents may take several minutes or longer attempting to resolve your problem. When time is money, every minute wasted is an unnecessary expense.
Applications have revolutionised the way that customers interact with service providers, whether internally or externally. It’s a simple matter to access an application, detail your problem or select it from a list of pre-existing possible issues, and receive an immediate response. AI and cognitive learning plays a vital role in speeding up the response process as knowledge from collected data can be applied to address common issues without needing the involvement of an actual person on the back-end.

Simplifying ITSM for agents
ITSM agents who respond to calls and requests also benefit from an application based service. Many agents are often frustrated by common problems such as inaccurate or out-of-date information given, language barriers, the customer’s limited knowledge of technical terms, and a host of other communication issues that can – and do – occur telephonically. When customers use a well-designed and comprehensive app, this problem can reduce dramatically.
Working from the back end of an app, a single agent can handle multiple requests simultaneously with relative ease through interactive chat platforms, or by selecting appropriate courses of action from a pre-configured response list in response to common requests or issues.
Although mobility means that customers their log faults from anywhere and at any time, AI is a reliable technology that supports the problem solving and resolution of logged incidents in the absence of support agents.
Applications, like the Mc Donald’s delivery app, allow for location based services to be enabled through accessing customer device GPSes. Having easy access to the location of a particular fault simplifies address accuracy, mitigating time wasted by following incorrect address information. It also allows ITSM departments to cross reference – or have immediate access to, via the application – critical site information, giving them accurate information about on-site infrastructure and systems.

Self-service ITSM
Applications and mobility have revolutionised the way we request services, from ordering a food, to ordering a cab, to ordering customised house plans. We are living in a world where everything is at our fingertips and immediately available, regardless of place or time.
Customers, be it internal or external, are used to getting what they want, when they want it. ITSM should be no different. Mobile apps are simply the vehicle which brings the best of ITIL frameworks, ITSM agents and technologies like AI, to the customer’s fingertips, no matter where they are, or what time it is. It puts the power in the customer’s hands, while taking away none of the power of ITSM.