Workplace and Infrastructure Solutions for the Digital Age

November 07, 2019 by Stefanini

Once confined to the basements of corporate buildings, today’s IT infrastructure often lives in advanced data centers that have tens of thousands of servers. In an increasingly digital age, it is now crucial for companies to have infrastructure services in place that run application services that process transactions, handle customer data to reveal market insights, and support analytical tools that help executives and managers make and communicate the decisions shaping complex organizations.

One of the best ways to support changes in IT infrastructure and managed workplace services today are to integrate business strategy into both. McKinsey advises companies to get creative with service desk infrastructure. One way to accomplish this is to identify sources of value in order to offer support services, become more efficient, redefine business models and improve the customer experience.

Sources of Value

The first source of value McKinsey pinpoints involves real-time data collection, in which information is delivered immediately after collection. One example it provides are insurance companies in Britain and the U.S. that are using GPS devices and sensors to record the speed of cars, and also any damage to them. Infrastructure is necessary in this case to support and manage the sensors and other devices necessary to capture information accurately and cheaply.

McKinsey then identifies large-scale analytics as the next source of value. Companies are able to make decisions by using specialized algorithms, systems and processes to review, analyze and present information in a form that is more meaningful for organizations or end users.

Speed to market is another valuable point that companies need to consider. Infrastructure should be set up to support fast reaction time, including the ability to set up sales offices in rapidly growing territories quickly, give customers off-site support for their initiatives, or when online interactions swell, meet demands for services.

It might seem obvious, but companies also need to think about the customer experience. Gone are the days where all customer interactions are done in person. Now, customers want to interact via cell phones, call centers and kiosks, as well as in person. Only the right infrastructure can switch and route consumers across different types of networks flexibly.

From desktop productivity tools to smartphones, employees’ productivity relies on the corporate infrastructure. Decisions must be made about issues like balancing security with ease of use, where to set up videoconferencing equipment and which types of personal devices make the most sense to utilize.

Along with employees’ productivity, developers’ productivity is dependent upon corporate infrastructure. McKinsey writes that too many applications developers spend up to a third of their time as amateur systems engineers, devoting hours to consulting with server and network teams, trying to figure out incompatibilities and struggling to bridge gaps with technologies. Developers’ time could be better utilized in modeling applications for business processes or writing code.

What are Four Principles for Agile Transformation?

McKinsey advises that there are four shifts that can enable IT infrastructure organizations to operate in more agile and efficient manners. The first involves managing infrastructure by using software to construct environments in a quick, efficient way, similar to the way that application developers manage code. The next shift describes forming cross-functional teams of experienced infrastructure engineers that work with agile methods, simplifying processes for delivering infrastructure offerings and improving how infrastructure teams and development teams work together.

McKinsey notes that a modern agile IT infrastructure organization relies on well-rounded engineers to work closely with developers and deliver solutions efficiently, making extensive use of automation.

  1. Technology – while a traditional organization relies on highly customized infrastructure, an agile organization depends on standardized infrastructure.
  2. Organization and talent – though highly specialized staffs were once the basis of traditional organizations, today, integrated, cross-functional squads build well-defined infrastructure service offerings.
  3. Processes – today’s squads are responsible for end-to-end delivery of service offerings and automated processes of previously repetitive tasks.
  4. Collaboration with application development – “tickets” might have been the bread and butter of traditional organizations, but agile organizations rely upon self-service tools that let developers handle more operations directly.

Four Groups of Critical Technologies

It’s becoming a more common trend – customers are interfacing with multiple channels at the same time. Gartner cites Olive Huang, its research vice president, who said, “by 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI.”

Due to this shift, customer service and engagement leaders will need technology to deliver the desired user experience to clients.

Gartner has created four focus areas that group the most critical technologies:

  1. Customer analytics and continuous experience. A full picture of the user experience encompasses technical capabilities at various stages of maturity. Gartner includes customer journey analytics, emotion detection, customer engagement center (CEC) interaction analytics, speech analytics and analytics for customer intelligence. These capabilities allow for the visualization of the customer journey across multiple channels and devices. Service agents are also able to predict customer behavior or next action and prescribe the next-best action for agents to take.
  2. Employee training, motivation and experience.  Once upon a time, AI was deployed to reduce human support. Today, it augments the human agent. Organizations hope that this inclusion of AI will improve employee engagement.
  3. Mobile customer service, consumer messaging apps and customer self-service. Thanks to the increase in the use of mobile devices, these technologies will allow customers to perform whichever task they wish on their preferred device, supported by integrated chat, messaging and conversational capabilities. Through relying on voice-driven applications and advanced, contextual content, the customer experiences more independence when utilizing these technologies and self-service can drive down costs. Thanks to the increased level of convergence in these three areas, the future vision of digital customer service has become more realized. Look forward to the advancement of AI-supported workflow, increased sophistication of vendors supporting a multitude of messaging methods and innovation in conversation user interface (UI).
  4. AI, IoT, VCAs and chatbots. Customers can look forward to more assistance from virtual customer assistants (VCAs) and chatbots. Gartner predicts the underlying technology and methodologies used to develop bots and VCAs will evolve rapidly over the next few years, as will user expectations and use cases. AI will be embedded in chatbots, VCAs, conversational UI and the IoT, furthering the use of self-service.

Choose Stefanini for Your Infrastructure Needs

A highly efficient IT infrastructure demands that all individual components function optimally. Stefanini offers workplace solutions to ensure that your organization’s entire infrastructure is monitored, managed, and secured in order to yield the best business operations. Contact us today for more information.

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