By Jamie Bsales
Necessity is the mother of invention. And if there were ever a problem in search of a solution, the ongoing IT staffing shortage is it. In-depth interviews conducted with CIOs and IT Directors for our recent research study, The Managed IT Services Opportunity, revealed that these decision-makers routinely outsource IT functions to outside managed services providers (MSPs). One of the main reasons cited for doing so is an inability to hire enough qualified staff in-house.
Of course, problems float downstream, so IT outsourcing just puts that much more pressure on managed IT services providers to maintain adequate qualified staffing. Fortunately, technology is stepping up to help. We have received two recent briefings on platforms that can help MSPs shoulder the ever-increasing load.
Crushing It with AI
Sure, we all know that IBM’s Watson can win at chess and Jeopardy, but can it help with the IT staffing shortage? Why not! The clever team at 2019 start-up CrushBank realized that many questions fielded by help desk personnel have been asked and answered hundreds (if not thousands) of times. Yet, outside of some rudimentary FAQs some service providers may maintain in-house, support reps wind up treating each inquiry as unique.
Founders Evan Leonard and David Tan knew there must be a way to leverage technology to improve key industry metrics, such as time to resolution, closed tickets per employee, first-call resolution, and billable utilization. Their big idea is to dump millions of help-desk tickets into Watson and let that artificial brain make sense of it all. This evolved into a powerful suite of tools—CrushBank Resolve, CrushBank Insight, and CrushBank Ask—that utilizes Watson’s AI abilities to be the front line of response, freeing up support techs to handle more complex interactions. The natural-language processing abilities of the AI engine means questions can be asked in any number of ways and still elicit the correct responses. Heck, it can even gauge customer sentiment, so if a caller is “coming in hot” the system can sense that and transfer that call to an (ideally calming) agent right away.
The result is a platform that allows techs to spend less time searching for answers and more time resolving help-desk tickets. According to CrushBank, this enables MSPs, help desks, and product-support organizations to deliver faster time to resolution, improve customer satisfaction, and increase profitability.