According to the Forbes Technology Council, there are a number of trends expected to take hold in 2024 that technology leaders should look out for. Not surprisingly, a few of these are specific to IT including the need to reduce technical debt, incorporating AI into business processes and accelerating digital transformation.
As you prepare for the upcoming year, now is a great time to take stock of your processes in place as well as the tools you are using to manage IT processes and workflows. Are you getting the most from your tech stacks? Are there areas for improvement with automation, better integrations or investment in tools with a lower total cost of ownership?
By analyzing your current operations and tools, you can better prepare for the challenges and opportunities coming in the next year.
Trend 1: Reducing Technical Debt
Too much technical debt can weigh down IT departments and hamper both productivity and efficiency when it comes to tackling business initiatives.
“Businesses need to tackle the growing complexity of their tech stacks,” the Forbes article states. “Complexity increases costs and security risks and inhibits innovation, as more resources are required to maintain legacy systems. Instead, businesses need to adopt newer tech that orchestrates business processes across systems and reduces technical debt by identifying ways to consolidate systems and applications.”
Investing in tools like an IT Service Management (ITSM) tool that includes additional features and functionalities on a single platform is a great way to help orchestrate more business processes across your entire organization.
And while technical debt can creep up slowly over time, integration debt tends to come in large chunks as teams add on new applications to address new opportunities and challenges in a dynamic business environment. Technical debt is usually specific to software projects or applications, whereas integration debt by its very nature affects the entire enterprise. It is far more costly, results in the formation of data and application silos, and can impact an organization’s ability to make the best decisions and strategic moves that require complete data.
A modern integration and automation platform (iPaaS) can address this problem by making it simple, easy, and quick to integrate any system with the rest of your enterprise.
Enterprise systems teams that use iPaaS can avoid the creation and accumulation of new integration debt at the outset because iPaaS is built for the kind of quick deployment that is needed. It is very easy for individual users or very small teams to connect new applications via iPaaS right away without needing the long development times and large teams of integration developers that are needed for legacy integration tools and custom coding.
TeamDynamix offers ITSM with Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and enterprise integration and automation (iPaaS) all on one, easy-to-use platform. In addition, TeamDynamix ITSM incorporates Enterprise Service Management (ESM) meaning it has all the features, functions and complexities needed to manage IT services and requests, as well as the ability to use the tool in departments outside of IT for more unified service and project management. And with iPaaS included, you can orchestrate automated workflows and integration across the entire organization with a single tool.
Trend 2: Incorporating AI into Business Processes
“Companies that leverage AI technologies have the potential to experience significant growth over the next few years,” Forbes states.
In IT, there are countless ways you can incorporate AI into your everyday operations. But if your goal is to drive down ticket volumes and reduce the resource drain on your IT teams, investing in a conversational AI chatbot for your self-service is a great option.
Conversational AI chatbots are intelligent software applications that can understand and respond to user queries in natural language. Their primary role in IT Service Management is to provide quick, efficient support to end-users by resolving common issues, answering questions and guiding users through various processes.
By incorporating conversational AI chatbots into your self-service portal, you can significantly enhance the overall user experience and streamline your IT support operations. You can also deflect tickets, requests and calls/emails from your IT help desk.
It is important to note the distinction between conversational AI chatbots and traditional chatbots.
When talking about traditional chat, we mean a chatbot experience that has a limited conversation path. It can take inputs and guided dialog paths to return answers in a simplified question/answer format – similar to what you’d get if you searched a knowledge base or FAQ – there aren’t many actions a user can take from the conversation with a traditional chatbot.
Traditional chatbots don’t fare as well as those built on conversational AI. In fact, a recent market study from CIO.com found that nearly 76 percent of chatbot customers report user frustration with existing solutions. However, When conversational AI is used, the study shows more than 61 percent of respondents could effectively resolve problems vs just 35 percent when traditional chat is used.
But how does the addition of a conversational AI chatbot further enhance a self-service portal? Here are five key benefits:
- 24/7 Instant Support: Unlike human agents, chatbots are available round the clock, ready to assist customers instantly, anytime, anywhere. This constant availability reduces customer waiting time and boosts customer satisfaction.
- Cost Savings: Implementing a chatbot can significantly reduce operational costs. By handling routine queries and tasks, chatbots free up your IT service desk employees to focus on complex issues, leading to increased efficiency and cost savings. In addition, this can help improve your IT employees’ morale.
- Increased Customer Satisfaction: With their ability to provide instant, personalized responses, chatbots can significantly improve the customer experience, leading to higher satisfaction levels and stronger customer loyalty.
- Scalability: Chatbots can simultaneously handle multiple conversations, allowing businesses to scale their customer service efforts without additional manpower.
- Data Collection and Insights: Chatbots collect valuable customer data during interactions, providing businesses with insights that can be used to improve products, services, IT processes and customer engagement strategies.
Trend 3: Accelerating Digital Transformation
Digital transformation has been a hot topic over the last few years, and it’s not going away any time soon.
“In 2024, I expect to see another acceleration in digital transformation,” the Forbes article states. “We’re getting used to the current on-demand economy and the apps we use in our personal lives, and this has increased our need for consumer-grade tech in the workplace. I foresee more innovations that will help organizations meet employee demands and streamline operations to recruit and retain workers amid labor shortages.”
Building a culture that embraces change can alleviate many of the fears that come with digital transformation initiatives and pave the way for a smooth transition to better, more modern technology and processes.
“Everybody talks about digitization like it’s this fairy godmother who’s going to wave a wand and make everything better,” Deborah Rojas, Chief Information Officer for Charter Oak Financial, said. “That really doesn’t account for the learning that people need to go through, the struggle of understanding the ‘why’ behind the process change.”
Charter Oak recently kicked off its digital transformation by switching to TeamDynamix for ITSM.
Strong communication and change management processes have helped make this transition easier, and the TeamDynamix implementation process has also helped. Not only did Charter Oak have an implementation specialist to answer questions and offer advice, but the training sessions were also recorded and archived for viewing at any time.
“It’s almost like a movie you want to watch a couple of times,” Rojas says. “When I come back to some of the recordings to see if I’m thinking about the design elements correctly, I find the training videos are robust and meant to be enjoyed multiple times. You can learn so much each time you go back and look at the resources.”
At Pima County, they started their digital transformation in IT so they could demonstrate the success of their new technology before rolling it out to the rest of the organization.
“The drudgery of working through mundane, repetitive tasks doesn’t exist just in IT,” Mark Hayes, information technology leader for the county, said. “I think the more we can reduce toil within the departments that we support, the more people are going to buy in and understand the value of what we’re trying to achieve. There’s nothing like success to breed more success, and once other departments see the benefits they’re going to want these tools too.”
And it’s that success that IT is starting to realize with ITSM and iPaaS from TeamDynamix, “We’ve been able to use our success to drive additional headcount in our organization, to do more and better things,” Hayes said.
“As we begin to do automation via workflows it’s only going to make it better,” he concluded. “We’re lucky in that our leadership understands that as the world has changed, IT has become the center of everything. They know that the more they invest in us, the more they can reap benefits and savings in other places.”