Expert Speak

Closing the Corporate Communications Floodgates: How AI Can Help Employees Prioritise and Stay Productive

Written by Cullen Childress, Senior Vice President, Product at SolarWinds

In the constant quest for greater levels of productivity, enterprises have equipped employees with a myriad of tools — email, texts, virtual meetings, instant messengers and more. But far from liberating the workforce, these tools have had an unintended side effect. Studies show that today, the average employee spends the majority (57%) of their time using office software for communication — meetings, email, and chat. Rather than being the facilitators of quick collaboration, these tools have made communication the focal point of the workforce, leaving employees with little time to do creative, innovative, and meaningful work.

This communications overload is the reality for most teams across the enterprise, irrespective of department. However, the good news is that there is a solution to streamline internal communications, requests, and tasks.

Expanding the Concept of ITSM
Having been at the receiving end of constant enquiries and requests for support for decades now, IT teams have long recognised the value of IT Service Management (ITSM) solutions in streamlining and improving efficiency. In recent years, these systems have even begun to incorporate AI to help automate routine tasks, prioritise requests, and provide self-service options for employees. Instead of having a real person do this alone, AI quickly supports simple tasks such as automating service ticket routing, leveraging virtual assistants to answer frequently asked questions, and developing an endless feedback loop to enhance the end-user experience.

The positive results of this approach are abundantly clear. A recent survey of SolarWinds customers found that its AI features in ITSM solutions enabled IT teams to reduce the time to resolve tickets by 24% and save an average of 23 hours per week. Given that many of the challenges these AI-enabled systems solve are no longer exclusive to IT departments, it is time to expand their utilisation.  Moving from traditional ITSM to what is being called “Enterprise Service Management” is key to enabling other departments to build their AI-driven ticket management systems that cut through the noise and put productivity back on track.

Fighting Back the Communications Flood
The expansion of Enterprise Service Management (ESM) provides every department across an organisation with its own service portal, ticket management system, and service catalogue. This empowers HR, legal, marketing, sales, and other departments to enjoy the same increase in efficiency and productivity that IT teams have seen for years. And with the integration of AI into ESM services, further facilitates inter-departmental cooperation, enabling the entire organisation to enhance service delivery, better manage requests, and speed up workflows for better employee and customer experiences.

Consider an HR department which plays a pivotal role in an organisation’s success, from recruitment and onboarding to benefits administration and employee engagement. They are frequently inundated with inquiries, from leave requests to payroll issues and everything in between. Traditional communication channels like email, phone calls, and instant messages often result in bottlenecks and delays, leaving HR departments struggling to keep up.

With an ESM system, HR departments can transform their operations and significantly reduce the need for email or phone calls. For example, leave requests can be streamlined through the ESM system. Employees could submit requests through the portal, which would then automatically route them for approval to the appropriate managers, with notifications and reminders built in. This reduces the administrative burden on HR and ensures that requests are processed promptly, enhancing employee satisfaction.

The AI Advantage: Scaling Success Across the Organisation
The benefits of ESM get even better with the integration of AI, which has already proven it can be a powerful tool for businesses. AI algorithms within ESM can analyse data generated by various requests and interactions, providing valuable insights to all teams. AI-powered ESM solutions can go beyond just appropriately directing ticket requests, for example, by providing personalised responses based on the employee’s profile and past interactions. AI will also be able to identify trends in employee inquiries, helping departments proactively address common concerns and improve company policies and workflows. With the promise of AI, the entire organisation is poised to become more productive and efficient.

Working Smarter, Not Harder
AI will have a profound impact on our businesses and teams. But counter to some concerns, we foresee this to free up our teams’ time for more impactful work rather than mean a loss of jobs. We can expect people to work alongside their new AI “colleagues” while taking on new creative and innovation-driving roles that AI is not suitable for. In short, rather than replacing jobs, AI will empower humans to spend their time where it’s most engaging and impactful.

Organisations cannot afford to let inefficient internal communications slow their operations and creativity. It’s time to envision a workplace where employees throughout the entire organisation can dedicate their attention to their substantive responsibilities instead of being overwhelmed by a flood of alerts and notifications. The future of work has arrived, leading to unprecedented creativity, innovation, and productivity, no matter the size of your business or industry.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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