Building Tomorrow’s Customer Experience - Day 2 of Digitalize and Automate

Tags: Events, Customer experience, IT Service Management, Digitalization, Automate, ITSM

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As we wrap up the second day of Efecte’s virtual event ‘Digitalize and Automate’, it’s time to once again take stock of what we’ve learnt. Today was TechDay, and the sessions featured a strong focus on technology and its impact on customer experience as we build and innovate for growth. This post will highlight a few of the day’s fourteen sessions, sharing some of the key points and comments made.

The ITSM vision for 2025

Reidar Wasenius, Chief Creative Officer at Breaks Finland, again served as moderator. He introduced the day’s format, which would offer a selection of presentation tracks allowing participants to choose their preferred topics and themes.

To start off the presentations, Efecte CPO Peter Schneider took to the virtual stage. He shared Efecte’s vision for the future of the service desk, highlighting how disruptive technologies and methodologies are changing the world of ITSM and other enterprise services. Agile, virtual services, and AI are all elements that are being adopted and that are increasingly impacting our daily operations. This underpins the Efecte product vision, which aims to embrace these new opportunities over the coming years.

“Will AI and Agile replace the traditional service desk?” Peter asked. “And what does human intelligence mean in the context of AI?” He emphasized that intelligence is human, and human interaction can never be replaced by AI. “We all need human knowledge. This is why the service desk of the future will elevate human intelligence, not replace it.”

Peter predicts we will see much more of AI in ITSM over the next few years. This will include things like bots, unsupervised agent assistance using machine learning, end user assistance in self-service portals, virtual agents, and automated anomality detection.

When it comes to Agile, Peter explained how Efecte is the only ITSM tool that has a Kanban board that works with any process – but of course the evolution doesn’t stop there. He explained that task management will evolve into teams becoming much more agile in not just arranging their work, but also in managing improvements. However, self-organized teams require effort. “Culture and the ability to adopt change can be a major issue,” Peter said. “Specialization can work against you when trying to be agile. You need a range of generalists, with champions in select areas. Agility also supports accoutnability, where the self-organized team is accountable rather than the individual.”

As emphasized in Peter’s presentation, Agile is not about tools. It’s about mindset. And mindset starts at the top, and cascades down into the organisation – with the help of the right tools and systems.

Automating the Next Generation CMDB

The day’s first track session was hosted by Aki Koivukoski, Senior Product Manager of Service Management Tool and Aki Ylivarvi, Senior Product Manager of Self-Service Portals at Efecte.

This presentation focused on how a modern and comprehensive CMDB can help to improve customer and employee satisfaction, reduce operational expenses, and improve transparency on asset-related costs.

The two Akis discussed how employee satisfaction sits at the center of the CMDB’s purpose. The better you can see, understand, and manage your assets and their relationships, the easier your teams’ job is, and the better you can serve your end customers.

The modern CMDB allows you to collate your data in one central place, manage integrations, produce reports, visualize services and applications, and automate processes with visual workflow tools. But what does the CMDB of the future look like? “We don’t expect any major evolution of the CMDB itself, but rather how it is utilized and the benefits we draw from it,” Aki Koivukoski explained.

There were a number of key future benefits discussed in the session. These included AI Assistance and an integration of CMDB into assistive functions of the ITSM tool, cost and value-based configuration management, and Experience Level Agreements which track and measure actual customer outcomes and experiences.

While all of the highlighted areas are of course important and relevant, the two Akis agreed that cost transparency is likely to be at the forefront of how we use CMDB in the future.

Digitalizing your identity governance

Jukka Papinaho, Senior Product Manager and Päivi Heikkuri, Senior Advisor at Efecte hosted a session on identity governance and how to optimize the value you get from your IAM system. Once your automation is running and processes are flowing ahead seamlessly, it’s time to consider what happens next. What can you do with all the information you have access to?

In this session, Jukka and Päivi showcased the possibilities that arise with an established, sophisticated IAM system – and what it means for the future of truly user-aligned service management.

Automation with a focus on people

Niina Hovi, VP of People and Culture at Efecte, delivered a presentation where she explored how a successful HR team can focus on services delivered, increase efficiency, and improve the employee experience. As the Human Resources function is shifting further towards automation of routine tasks, the roles of HR professionals will change. They can now spend more time on the things that truly matter to employees and to the business, using data to its fullest potential.

“By re-organizing, centralizing, and automating repetitive questions coming from employees, your teams can focus on developing the transformational projects within their organizations,” Niina explained. “This allows them to act as advisors for improving things like workplace culture and capability, leadership coaching, and employee well-being.”

A winning approach in the Nordics and Germany

As an interlude, we received a brief update on the state of Service Management in the Nordic region as well as in Germany.

This was followed by a division into two separate tracks covering regional-specific content. For the DACH audience, Rudolf Schraml, Head of Global Service Operations at Rödl & Partner shared an in-depth customer testimonial. A Finnish partner showcase featured the analytics platform provider Applixure, and how they elevate the digital employee experience with Efecte.

Meanwhile, Efecte’s Milla Kuosmanen, Customer Experience Lead, delivered a session on how to create a winning customer experience.

“One impact the pandemic has had on us all,” Milla highlighted, “is that we have seen a big push in digitalization – faster than expected. And when companies digitalize their business, it also shifts the customer expectation. Today, we expect everything to be delivered as a service, it should be available 24/7, and it should be adapted for mobile.”

A company that wants to build a 5-star customer experience needs to be creative and agile enough to keep up with expectations. The aim is to constantly stay one step ahead of the customer, to guide them through, and create the best possible experience.

Customer service is of course an important part of the experience puzzle. Every interaction matters for the overall customer experience. From the very first touchpoint, throughout the entire service event and ongoing support, we should consider the customer’s service perspective.

Milla used the analogy of baking a cake, using recipes, ingredients, and tools. The recipe represents the customer’s own expectation, agreements made, and processes for delivery. The ingredients, on the other hand, represents the elements of service delivery: People’s competences, data, and learnings from the past. And finally, the tools represent things like automation, transparency, and focus.

Milla touched on a number of success elements that need to be considered, such as attitude, service design, monitoring the experience, and allowing agility on both an organizational and an individual level – ready to change course when needed.

Once all these pieces are in place, we can predict and satisfy the customer’s expectation. “The working environment needs to be adapted to the customer’s experience,” Milla explained. “This makes it easy to deliver exceptional service.”

Digitalizing the Efecte customer experience

The keynote speaker of the day was Steffan Schumacher, COO of Efecte. His session was dedicated to sharing how Efecte uses its own approach to digitalization when creating an exceptional customer experience. He did so by highlighting how Efecte works today and how this digitalization will continue to accelerate in the future.

“Customer journeys are changing, and we all need to adapt,” Steffan announced. “Here at Efecte, our aim is to create a truly digital-first customer experience, and we do this using our own tools and systems. We ‘drink our own champagne’.”

In a modern business, all key areas are impacted by digitalization. This includes customer acquisition, post-sales activities, supply chain, production, and customer support. And this runs hand in hand with automation – which is required to boost productivity and consistency in service delivery. However, digitalization and automation need to be designed around the human factor. So how do we ‘humanize’ the digital journey?

“The Efecte promise is to be more agile, improve experience, and save costs,” Steffan explained. “We do this by designing a digital customer journey that is focused on extending the journey into a genuine relationship, rather than being just a transactional process.”

As part of his presentation, Steffan introduced a roadmap of Efecte service management add-ons, based on specific requests from customers. These include mass notifications of open tickets, activity reporting for multi ticket templates, certificate management, and more.

In addition to this, Efecte is also in the process of delivering a range of customer experience improvements such as a digital learning subscription program, new Efecte training certifications, and an Efecte Customer Experience Portal that offers a platform for onboarding, training, user community, insights and admin tools. “The portal is something I am particularly proud to introduce,” Steffan said, “as it allows us to deliver a truly exceptional customer experience.”

The end of Steffan’s session featured a fireside chat where Efecte CEO Niilo Fredrikson joined in the conversation around the ‘Efecte promise’ – to be agile, constantly improve experiences, and save costs. This is what enables customers to deliver world-class services, automation, and ultimately great human relationships.

Efecte’s road to ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certification

Efecte’s CTO Topias Marttila and CISO Marko Mantere hosted a session on ensuring ISO/IEC 27001:2013 compliance for an Information Security Management System (ISMS). In their presentation they explained how the Efecte platform can be used to dramatically simplify the management of your ISMS.

For Efecte, the reason to get ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified was mainly a pragmatic one. “We already had a strong culture of automation,” Topias explained, “which goes hand in hand with security. When you automate, you validate that your processes are implemented as intended. In addition, we also had strong management commitment throughout the preparations and audit process. Having the senior management team involved and dedicated to the process is a real success factor.”

There were of course areas that needed improving, such as formalizing the information security management system, documentation of established practices, and formal governance around risk, change, and access management.

“Our risk management used to be done in Excel sheets,” admits Topias, “but that’s not sustainable. Once we shifted this into the Efecte tool, this became a truly living document.” Topias and Marko explained how using Efecte for the certification project created three major benefits. It led to synergy between all processes, engagement across all those involved across the organization, and visibility and transparency of the progress and reporting.

Before the certification, the team had a number of key concerns. For example, they discussed whether the effort was reasonable compared to benefits. In hindsight, this was definitely the case as it was only a one-year effort, with one full-time CISO and some additional staff support. They also worried that bureaucracy may limit productivity, but they soon found that what they got was a standard, reasonable collection of best practices.

“Using Efecte as a tool, we were able to easily prioritize security improvements. This meant that we could continuously focus on what’s important and re-evaluate activities based on risks,” Marko concluded.

The disruptive power of DevOps

Meanwhile, in a rare glimpse behind the scenes of Efecte’s cloud solutions, we got to explore how DevOps is driving a new generation of cloud applications. Paavo Kyyrönen, Cloud Operations Team Lead and Gustavo Miranda, Cloud Management Tools Team Lead at Efecte led a session explaining how a relatively small DevOps team managed to deliver solutions with exceptional customer value.

“Even with only a handful of people, you can achieve great things when targets are aligned properly and derived from business needs,” Paavo explained. “We see ourselves through these two targets: we build robust solutions and we automate repetitive tasks.”

The two DevOps experts walked through Efecte’s current and planned deployment types and capabilities as well as recently achieved milestones, showing an exciting glimpse of the roadmap for the future.

 

Efecte Partner Program - Building Joint Success

In a session around leveraging partnerships, Teemu Lyytinen and Steffan Schumacher of Efecte discussed how the European-wide Efecte Partner Program can fit your business needs and help you to grow and succeed with your customers. The program has no long-term commitments, which means that Efecte offers the necessary flexibility to deepen your partner relationship as your business grows.

The strength of the partner program is built on the power of Efecte’s ability to help service organizations digitalize and automate their work. Customers across Europe today leverage Efecte’s cloud service to operate with greater agility, improve end-user experiences, and to save costs.

Building the European technology powerhouse

Niilo Fredrikson, CEO of Efecte, delivered a powerful closing statement where he reiterated the importance of recognizing the potential of the European technology market. Having been the underdog for generations, the European continent now has the opportunity to collaborate its way into the history books of the future, as a model of innovation and disruption.

“We’ve had two days of fantastic discussions, excellent keynotes, and presentations that have inspired and encouraged us. Together, we resolve to take action to make things happen,” Niilo explained. This reconnects perfectly to another Efecte promise: ‘We make it happen for you’, as Efecte helps service organizations digitalize and automate their work.

As the second day drew to a close, it was clear that we’ve heard some highly interesting and thought-provoking topics that will no doubt inspire action, collaboration, and innovation over the next few months and years.

From all of us here at Efecte, we look forward to welcoming you to the next Efecte annual event – hopefully in a world where we are once more able to meet each other in person!

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Written by Efecte