Transforming the GW Student Experience With BMC Helix

University reports resounding success by adopting cognitive capabilities

Polygonal brain

“Martha” recently moved onto campus at George Washington University (GW), as the newest addition to the college’s IT service desk. She’s a chatbot, helping students connect to the wireless network, register their devices, and submit service requests via text or the web.

“Martha began as a pilot project,” says Donna Hill, Assistant Director, Service, Configuration, and Continuity Management at GW. “We defined a manageable scope that enabled us to learn the ins and outs of chatbot technology. We selected incoming freshman as our target audience because, being new to GW, they likely would need more support resources — especially during the first few weeks of the semester. We identified the most common support requests from this audience and set them up in the chatbot.”

The pilot was a huge success, with 88% of the project’s participants saying Martha should become a permanent campus member. As for the university, the chatbot technology from BMC Helix has enabled 24/7/365 self-service support and reduced the number of routine calls that IT staff have to address, freeing them to handle more complex issues.

The Rise of Cognitive Technology

Successes like Martha will increasingly become more common as organizations adopt cognitive technologies. In recent IDG research, IT leaders have said cognitive is critical to their digital transformation efforts, as they aim to improve back-office operations and enhance both agent and customer experiences.

Companies are fast latching on to the cognitive capabilities enabled by artificial intelligence, chatbots, virtual agents, robotic process automation (RPA), and machine learning. IT leaders say their investments in all of these technologies will increase over the next 12 months as they seek:

  • Operational efficiencies
  • Reduced IT labor costs
  • Improved customer and user satisfaction
  • Improved accuracy of service delivery
  • Improved quality of service delivery

BMC Helix enables companies to reap these benefits. For example, BMC Helix Digital Workplace provides conversational experiences for end users across multiple channels — Skype, Slackbot, Chatbot, and SMS — no matter the type of device they’re using. The interface offers a familiar, shopping-like interaction with access to a single-service catalog.

Digital Workplace simplifies IT service delivery by automating workflows, which can be customized to best suit organizational needs. Also, the solution easily integrates with major platforms like Microsoft Office 365, Amazon Web Services, Atlassian JIRA, and more.

By providing these enhanced user experiences, as evidenced by GW, organizations not only improve interactions they also reduce the burden on IT resources, driving faster delivery of services throughout the organization.

What’s Next?

For the university, cognitive technology is just one step toward automating other areas and departments.

“Word of Martha’s success is spreading,” says Hill. “Departments outside of IT have contacted us to ask how chatbot technology can help them leverage their knowledge to enrich students’ educational experiences, and make information readily available for faculty and staff.

“Automation has helped IT keep pace with demand and increased our capacity for innovation,” she continues. “We’re now taking the next step — Cognitive Service Management — to ensure the quality experience students expect in the digital economy. We’re embracing cognitive technologies in a big way.”

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