IT services company DDS IT has launched what is believed to be a world-first service to automate the handling of service desk email requests.
DDS has deployed InboxAgent from start-up Aportio, founded by Scott Green, a former executive of Datacom and CEO of ICT services provider Axon.
Aportio's system is built on Amazon Web Services and uses artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to ease service desk management workloads.
DDS IT CEO Simon Browne said the launch of the new service is the culmination of an extensive internal validation and proof of concept.
It was also a first step in a wider digital transformation strategy conceived and managed by DDS IT’s chief digital officer, Andrew Jurgens.
Aportio’s InboxAgent uses AI to automatically classify and categorise emails that arrive in support email inboxes, and then enters these emails into various back-end ticketing systems in a format that can automatically trigger further action.
"As much as half of all service requests we receive from customers come via email,” Browne said.
“One of our largest customers alone sends hundreds of emails a day to DDS IT. Each email has to be read and logged into the system."
A time-consuming email trail often develops.
Services providers like DDS IT are under constant pressure to improve responsiveness, solve more types of incidents and requests, and reduce cost to serve.
"The challenge for DDS IT has been how to speed the turnaround time of requests while minimising staff time handling emails," Browne said.
DDS IT chief digital officer Andrew Jurgens said the automation of the entire email handling process was a major breakthrough.
“The AI interface ‘learns’ each customer’s service events sufficient to categorise each enquiry so it can be solved by the right person at DDS IT.
"This frees up our staff to spend time on fixing problems or adding services, rather than reading and responding to emails. This is really exciting in speeding our response times and adding real customer value,” Jurgens said.
DDS IT sees InboxAgent as highly strategic in its drive for new customers.
“Reducing ticket resolution time is the Holy Grail for medium to large businesses highly dependent on their IT systems,” said Browne.
“The automated handling of email ticket requests gives us a huge competitive advantage in being able to offer the fastest ticket resolution times in our industry.”
Aportio's Green said email represents around 50 per cent of events for IT and customer support teams. Each email typically consumes two to three minutes of human effort to classify and then allocate for next action.
InboxAgent performs this task 30 times faster, more accurately, and at 30 per cent or more below current cost, he said.
“Email is a current and natural ‘channel of choice’ for many users to get help,” Green said.
“Rather than pushing them to use tools they don’t know how to find or use, we are now able to address their problems using the channel they prefer – leading to higher self-service adoption, less disruptive change to users, and faster resolution of problems."
DDS IT was founded in 2003 by CEO Simon Browne. Customers include well-known brands such as Downer, Mercury, Aim Altitude and Hick Bros Civil.