With many acquired companies in the Micro Focus family, it was inevitable that multiple toolsets were in use to manage the IT service and support processes.
Kim Evans, Integration Service Management Architect at Micro Focus, explains how that affects service delivery: “With over 10 different systems in use across our services, and over 5,000 support tickets to manage each month, it was difficult to maintain consistent service level agreements (SLAs) across the board. Routing service tickets required complex integration work, and we were really missing integrated chat and social media features, which are commonplace communication tools in today’s world.”
The aim was to consolidate all IT support teams on a single platform, with a sophisticated selfservice function, so that users can source knowledge articles which could reduce the volume of support tickets. A central service portal would also allow users to interact directly with support teams, using tickets and chat functions, without the need to place a service desk call. The portal would ideally not just support IT requirements but be the go-to place for any other business support queries. A modern user experience would be key to user adoption.
Reviewing its own product set, the team opted for Micro Focus SMAX. Evans explains why: “We really liked the SMAX social features, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning capabilities, and could see huge potential for these. SMAX also includes an intent-based smart virtual agent which interacts with users, rather than just providing a search function. We liked the ease of integration into our operational toolset, and the opportunity to deploy a mobile app as another channel for users to communicate with us, all on one unified platform.”
DXC Technology, Micro Focus’ managed services partner, worked closely with Micro Focus Professional Services and the product support teams to design and implement the out-of-thebox best-practice service model. An out-ofthe-box approach gave the team the workflow, transaction definitions, and APIs required, and the standard data models included in SMAX supported the existing enterprise architecture definitions and operational model. SMAX integrates seamlessly with eDirectory, Micro Focus Operations Orchestration, Operations Bridge, uCMDB, and Vertica. A link to Workday is nearly finalized as well.
Evans on SMAX implementation: “We found SMAX easy to implement and simple to configure for our developing needs. Within just three months we moved our entire service desk onto the new SMAX toolset and consolidated 75 percent of our IT support functions onto the new platform.”
Users benefitted immediately from the single support portal where they can find information, or request support. The powerful search feature lets users search unstructured data for current and historic issues. Leveraging the machine learning capabilities included within SMAX, the system recommends solutions for support requests, vastly accelerating repeat issue resolution. The service organization is more agile, and can easily introduce new resolver groups, adapt workflows, add new service offerings, and post knowledge articles to support rapidly changing business requirements.
The intuitive nature of the SMAX agent console simplifies onboarding of new IT service staff, while everyone benefits from the ease of use, powerful search functions, and reporting and dashboarding capabilities. Leveraging machine learning, Live Support, a SMAX feature, enables agents to, in real-time, complete the request form and receive immediate suggested resolutions from the tool, to feed back to the requestor for faster resolution.
Users can choose their preferred communication channel for their support or service query, be it via portal, SMAX chat, phone, or mobile application, with all communication captured against a single ticket in a central repository. This makes for much more effective knowledge management communication and easier compliance with SLA requirements. Self-service through knowledge management articles, and automation with SMAX virtual agents are reducing the number of calls to the helpdesk. Currently, 50 percent of support queries are self-submitted through the portal.
As engagement in the SMAX portal is increasing, the team has the volume metrics to work on automating the resolution of the ‘most popular’ requests. This no-touch approach routes requests through the systems for automated fulfilment without requiring agent involvement.
Evans also likes the direction SMAX is heading in supporting enterprise service management (ESM): “During our consulting and implementation phases, it was clear that people, processes, and tools are superbly integrated within the SMAX solution. This makes it a great solution for not just IT-related requests, but any line of business within our organization. We have onboarded our HR Direct function, and are working to onboard software and asset management, cybersecurity, license management, and procurement functions. The ultimate aim is a one-stop single portal for any IT- or businessrelated user request.”
He concludes: “The SMAX support processes and feature releases keep the operational toolset functional and current, highly available, and up-to-date with minimum effort on our part.”