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Deflections, ITIL4 and ESM!

What is Deflection and the History

Before plugging in to the Topic, let us see what Deflection is actually: Deflection is basically redirecting the rays of light as per the dictionary, We at IT Service Desk or Helpdesk have been using the term referring to reduction of direct transactions with a member of the IT Service Desk or the Helpdesk.

Lets look at how these deflections started

Help desks were more of face to face interaction almost a century back, with the invention of telephones, we got the first “Deflection” from face to face interactions to a telephone based communication. From their on there has not been a stop for the growth and use of various deflections and it has always surprised us on what we can achieve with technology and inventions.

The first full fledged call centre was started in 1960’s to support the customers with their queries and a channel to easily reach the company for assistance. Here we got another deflection added i.e., the IVRs we did deflect and segregated the calls with the use of IVRs along with this we were able to a couple of more deflections as in the Desktops and Emails.

In 1980’s these call centre’s started getting outsourced this led to a massive use of emails and even the live chat support systems was developed as a deflection. Along with the IT support being outsourced “Remote Desktops” also contributed to the growth of outsourced service providers.

ITIL was finally out in 1999 officially as a best practice and had outlined the Service Providers and the Customers along with the basics of a support driven service.

As everyone born in 1980’s in India, I also started my career in 2000’s with these outsourced help desks supporting various devices from routers to desktops and laptops to software support. The growth and learning was tremendous. The SOWs during these period were primarily transactional so the more the numbers the more the profit.

As we entered the enterprise support environments and with few more versions of ITIL the value driven environment took a front seat – again from here on deflection again started gaining the traction. I have had days were I have 60 calls a day all about password resets to days were it’s all about P1s both the ways it’s not a good sign. In 2000’s we started working on Developing in house SSOs as an attempt to deflect password reset calls and provide self service password resets.

Current State of Deflections: 

We have come a long way now let’s talk about the current industry deflection mechanism:

We have IVRs in place 

We have emails and chats in place

We have remote desktops in place 

We have SSPR and SSO in place

We have service catalogs developed

We have knowledge articles and self help in place

So what’s that we want now, we want more maturity and co value creation as ITIL4 suggests.

Future of Deflections:

As we all know ITIL is the most used ITSM Best Practice we have others as well.

As part of ITIL4 the scope has widened for use in Non IT as well with the inclusion of Service Value Chain, Governance; The Stress is now on Co Creation of Value there by concentrating on the Holistic view of the business. 

With this we have

Enterprise Service Management is a way to achieve digital transformation along with use of ITSM Best Practices and Tools in other Non IT Business Functions as well there by limiting the Silos and increasing Efficiency.

Future of Deflections

ChatBot – The ChatBot uses AI, ML and NLU. The End Users Call or Text the ChatBot for General Queries, Simple Issues as of now. The Maturity Level that the ChatBot should achieve would be not only to address General Queries and Simple Issue but also Provide Issue Resolution with Least or No Manual Intervention

AI Ops – involves Big Data and ML, Primarily used for analysis and event based activities apt example will be the Network and Application Monitoring which involve lots of data from various activities of the components another example from Non IT would be the Profit and Loss Management of an Organisation which involves lots of financial transactions.

RPA Tools – We already have many RPA Tools developed, These helps us in automating repetitive activities. RPA Tools is useful to Replicate Human Activities hence there is no change in the time taken to complete the activity however the efficiency is increased for sure 

With the Use of these Deflections we are not only reducing the Direct Contact with Humans we are also increasing the efficiency and reducing the Operational Expenses

In future we may see bots handling all analysis and providing options to choose from for humans for all kind of queries, issues and requests in turn ensuring seamless service to all the customers. Upon choosing an Option the Chat Bots along with AI Ops and RPA Tools will be in a state to apply automated resolutions. We have already started using this, we will certainly see more adaptions in the industry especially because the Use of these Deflections will be directly linked to OPEX 

Podcast Link: https://anchor.fm/lokesh-kumar-narayana