IoT

IoT and ITSM – How can Service Management Benefit?

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Artificial Intelligence on the Program at Embedded Systems Conference in Minneapolis

Bots, buttons and gizmos galore (thingamabobs, I’ve got plenty)

IoT and Internet bots continue to gather steam, with organizations investing heavily in new technology, yet this area doesn’t yet seem to be taking IT service managers by storm and is only minimally beginning to come into the service portal space. I recently asked who’s using IoT Dash buttons to enable end-users to submit a trouble ticket on a device and only one or two people raised their hands. There are some great opportunities here and I’ll list a few based on some work I’ve been doing in the area, but I would love to hear from some folks out there about things you’re doing within your companies. I think the conversation’s getting started but would like to start the wheels spinning.

So how can IoT buttons and Internet bots help?

The first thing to consider is treating this a bit like a continual service improvement opportunity. There’s no point in implementing technology just because it’s a cool, new toy. Start with some of your pain points.

For example, in a recent service portal implementation one of the pain points I was trying to address for a client was that they have a hard time getting customers to supply serial numbers and other technical information about devices like printers and point of sale devices. Part of the challenge with this is that these devices aren’t at the customer’s desk. So they go back to their desk to log an incident via the portal and they either don’t have the information that’s called for (so maybe they put garbage in the required field) or don’t bother to finish logging the ticket at all. They leave the process dissatisfied and IT is dissatisfied when the incident comes in because they cannot attempt resolution. In a retail environment, the person who reported it may not be available for several days and may not have told anyone else what’s wrong. Thus, the endless loop of pain.

While I made some CMDB/asset management recommendations, like knowing the point of sale device information by lane number, it’s always a challenge to keep asset information correct for remote locations. Enter the IoT dash button. There are different directions you can take:

  • Where the device is able to report specific error conditions, simply set the button up to collect the device information (serial number, IP address etc.) and the error code reported then open a ticket in the ticketing system being used. Then set up the portal to display a list of devices with reported, known errors to all users who log in from the same location. The customer can add information or escalate the issue if needed, directly through the portal.
  • If the device cannot provide enough information to log a meaningful ticket, program the button to send an email containing all device information needed to report the issue. The customer hits the button and when they return to their desk to log the ticket, they can simply copy and paste the information into the appropriate fields and/or attach the email.

A bot can help by recognizing when a customer may want to escalate a situation as they are reviewing the list of devices with errors in the portal. Imagine how much more satisfied if they were configured to recognize when all printers on a floor had an issue and either auto-escalate or ask the customer if they wanted to escalate the situation, then take the required action on the ticket. The bots could also check the errors reported and identify one or more that may be able to be resolved by the customer then serve up a knowledge article that could be used to fix the issue (this would work best if the customer could access the portal via a mobile device and bring it over to the item with the issue).

This may sound far-fetched, but with planning and documentation, everything here either can or has been done in organizations.

So to get here, start with a list of pain points and gather a list of innovative thinkers together to brainstorm ways that either old or innovative technology could help address the pain points. Build your CSI register or put together a project plan and begin knocking some of them off. Don’t forget to be open to innovative approaches.

Want to know more about IoT?

There’s a lot of information on IoT and bots on the Internet. Simply search for IoT, dash buttons, chat bots and there’s everything from product listings, common hacks, ideas of how people are using the technology to case studies. While you’re at it, don’t forget to search the IT Chronicles for information on the technology, products and conferences.

Please let us know what you’re doing!

Please leave a comment here telling us what you’re planning or doing with this new technology. You can read more IoT related articles here

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Phyllis Drucker is a business process consultant at Linium. ITIL expert certified with over 20 years' experience in the disciplines and frameworks of IT Service Management as both a practitioner and consultant, she has also served the itSMF since 2004 in a variety of capacities including volunteer, board member and operations director of the US Chapter. She is a frequent contributor of knowledge to the ITSM profession, through numerous presentations, whitepapers and articles. Since 1997, her goal has been to advance the profession of ITSM leaders and practitioners worldwide by providing insight from her experiences on a wide variety of Service Management topics.