When dealing with complex technology investments, decision makers are often forced to select IT that may address one business priority, but not others, e.g. a chosen solution might increase productivity, but not reduce overhead costs. However, sometimes the technological planets align just right, and investments can have multiple impacts across an organization.

This is the fortunate case with end-to-end automation. Businesses that implement comprehensive automation that bridges their front, middle, and back offices are able to 1) enrich user experience via virtual agents, while also 2) lowering overhead through autonomics.

In fact, research shows that these are two of the top goals for business leaders when making IT investments. According to an HfS Research survey of C-Suite executives, the two top expectations from cognitive technology investment are cost reduction (37% of respondents) and improved user experiences (17% of survey respondents). Centralized end-to-end functionality provided by 1Desk, which uses Amelia’s advanced cognitive abilities, allows businesses to address both these once-disparate needs simultaneously.

Progress through automation is hardly new. Throughout the industrial revolution, engineers devised ingenious methods to automate – indeed, to accelerate – various physical errands (e.g. a jackhammer delivers around 1,500 impacts-per-minute, which is a far better alternative to standing in hole pounding the ground with your fists). Today, the most exciting automation innovations are centered in IT, aimed at speeding up repeatable, high-volume tasks and transactions that would otherwise be tackled by humans (e.g. automated cashless toll systems have taken over most highway toll-taking rolls).

This trend can be seen in the rush of low-level chatbots entering the marketplace. These simple bits of software may offer limited functionality as front-end UIs, but when utilized in systems such as IT support, they are usually little more than automated ticket systems that lean on humans for processing. Unnecessary steps add time and frustration on the end-user side (and costs to businesses).

Digital hubs such as 1Desk remove the need for time-consuming manual IT processes and enable users to quickly and efficiently serve themselves. By removing steps and disintermediating IT Ops end users are empowered to take control of their own needs and services from start to finish. With 1Desk, this includes interacting with Amelia for everything from requesting hardware, to password resets, to troubleshooting Wi-Fi problems.

Amelia is far more than a mere chatbot. Her advanced cognitive abilities allow users to engage in complex conversations to solve issues that a regimented bot could never handle (e.g. “I think my laptop is broken and I need a replacement with all my files before a meeting at 12 noon.”). Amelia helps lower the bar of accessibility to all users regardless of technical know-how, while raising the bar on what a cognitive agent can achieve. When combined with the end-to-end automation in 1Desk, end-users can have their IT support issues (as well as HR, administrative and finance tasks) addressed more quickly and efficiently.

Based on our experience with clients, and the study by HfS, it’s clear there is a growing awareness among enterprise customers on the benefits of end-to-end automation. According to HfS, the number one digital business imperative for 2018 among C-suite decision makers is investing in digital or virtual customer experiences to minimize physical engagement. This is exactly the kind of scenario that end-to-end automation is designed to handle. The once-unthinkable goal of both lowering costs without diminishing the quality of service (indeed, enhancing it) is an achievable one. In 2018, the question is no longer whether end-to-end automation is something a company should pursue, it’s how fast it can be implemented.

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