The application period for this challenge is now closed

  • Governer Partner :City of Boulder
  • Department :IT Department
  • Category :CRM / application management, Data Collection / Security, Process Improvement

Project Summary

Customer support tools to enable increased self-service for users of IT Service Desk .

Challenge Details

Add tools to support the City of Boulder’s Information Technology (IT) Service Desk by enabling more automated, online self-help and request completion for users’ basic IT needs and processes

The City of Boulder’s Innovation and Technology Department manages a Service Desk to address IT requests, issues, and questions across for all city departments and employees. The Service Desk is staffed full time by two people and includes customer engagement, tip sheets, and training features focused on enabling greater self-sufficiency using IT products and platforms.

Currently, the IT Service Desk has three primary ways for city employees to submit requests, issues, or questions: accessing the online Service Desk Portal (still in beta), e-mailing the IT Service Desk, or calling the IT Service Desk directly. Regardless of how the ask was submitted, each interaction generates a ticket in IT’s Cherwell IT Service Management system. This ticket is routed to the appropriate IT group to address and track activities until the ask is met and the ticket closed.

The most common requests include new employee and financial system (Munis) account creation, ordering cell phones, software, or other accessories and setup of Microsoft resources such as shared mailboxes and email distribution lists. The average ticket resolution time is slightly over 11.5 days for all requests. So far in 2018, Service Desk staff have received just over 4,000 calls and spent 420 hours on the phone with an average talk time of about 6 minutes per call. Between January 1st and September 1st, 2018, the IT department has logged almost 9,000 tickets in our IT Service Management system (Cherwell).

Several “basic” requests (e.g., user account creation and disabling, known software and hardware ordering) either require IT Service Desk resources to complete or come through the IT Service Desk phone or e-mail paths despite efforts to direct requesting employees to the Service Desk Portal for direct request entry. To achieve first contact resolution, IT Service Desk staff regularly lose momentum when dealing with requests over email, as they frequently must wait several days for a response from the customer to move forward. Additionally, these intermingle with other requests that do require unique or immediate attention to address, causing inefficiencies and undo stress.

The IT Customer Engagement team regularly reviews the processes and communications around the Service Desk to find ways to make employee’s even more self-sufficient but have found that dynamic interaction even for basic requests and processes remains a go-to for many employees with IT issues. Recent efforts to routinely track IT Service Desk metrics aim to help further address possible inefficiencies in IT processes.

Pain points include:
• Inefficient use of limited IT Service Desk resources addressing basic requests
• Incomplete, misrouted, or inconsistent ticket completion by employees through IT Service Portal, leading to delays and further need of follow-up by IT Service Desk resources
• Undue burden on limited IT Service Desk resources
• Several requests could be automated (e.g., distribution list creation, account disabling), but we do not have dedicated staff who can spend time developing these processes
• We have several training guides and tip sheets on our IT intranet page, but they are not leveraged much by city staff, and a number of requests could be alleviated with staff training

Research into possible solutions for these issues have found results, but they remain cost prohibitive.

We are looking for an online, AI- or Chatbot-based, cost-effective solution that can receive, triage, and completely address “basic” requests, issues, or questions from city employees, enabling IT Service Desk technicians to better focus on particularly complex or pressing requests.

Key requirements of such a solution include:
• Dynamic, text-based presence on existing IT websites, particularly the SharePoint-based IT Headquarters, for employees to interact and ask their questions
• Built-in ability to address identified/programmed ticketing and servicing processes without need for IT Service Desk technician involvement
• 24/7/365 availability for city employees, with means to generate tickets outside of business hours (Mon-Fri 7am-5pm, excluding holidays)
• Sensing for immediate escalation to IT Service Desk technicians when needed (e.g., user aggravation)
• Seamless transition to IT Service Desk technicians when warranted, possibly including read-outs of prior text-based conversation or direct transfer to a Skype for Business call for voice-based follow-up interaction
• Integration into IT’s existing online service platforms (e.g., Cherwell IT Service Management tool) to automate ticket generation and other tools to automate completion of certain requests (e.g., MS Active Directory and MS Orchestrator [SCORCH] to create email distribution lists).