The way we interact with technology at work is changing dramatically, thanks to millennials and Gen-Z. The tail end of the millennial generation (born between 1981-1996) is entering the workforce while Gen-Z, born after 1997 and the 27% of the population, is just beginning to work. (Business Insider Intelligence)
These are also the first generations to be immersed in technology--including cell phones, social media, and the internet--from a young age. Unlike boomers, they expect technology to work and, if there is an issue, they want to fix it quickly with minimal effort.
This mindset extends into the workplace and is quickly redefining the relationship all workers have with technology. They want to spend their time creating and innovating, not slowed by technology issues.
As more Gen-Z workers enter the business world, expectations around technology are expected to become more pronounced. A recent ServiceNow survey found 69 percent of Gen Z workers said they believe that when it comes to using technology, work life should be as easy as home life. Nearly a quarter of the respondents noted that they found it difficult to use their workplace apps/software during their first weeks on the job. That means most IT organizations have some work to do.
Creating a frictionless environment
Organizations need to transform IT support to provide a frictionless experience where technology just works. Organizations eager to recruit the best talent have already begun shifting their view of the role of technology in the workplace.
For the past year, ServiceNow has been exploring what it means to provide a frictionless experience to our employees. We are launching various initiatives, including expanding self-service so employees can find quick answers to their questions about technology. We are also using AI and machine learning to spot and prevent incidents before they occur.
Here are just a few of the areas where we’re reimagining our employees’ relationship to technology:
Personas. We have created personas, such as manager, new hire, and employee. The personas are based on user trends and behavior. This approach puts employees in a position to receive a great experience because our IT Support team has an initial understanding of their role.
Self-service. We are also expanding our search capabilities, making it easier for employees to find and resolve issues without submitting a ticket. Search has been extended to a wider variety of content repositories across the Now Platform®, including our knowledge base, product documentation, dot-com site, internal sites, and the service catalog.
We have invested a great deal in our Now® Mobile app, which puts a variety of tasks at one’s fingertips. The Now Mobile app provides the ability to support many of the features ranked highly by Gen Zs in the survey, such as scheduling meetings (70%), setting up conference calls (52%), accessing company maps (50%), and submitting expense reports (33%).
The ServiceNow® Mobile Onboarding app also addresses a key desire expressed by Gen Z in the survey: 62% want access to info about their role before first day. Our Onboarding app guides new hires through the hiring process so they can become familiar with the company, their responsibilities, and the resources, processes, and tools they need to be productive.
The survey also found that in the next five years 43% of Gen Zs will want to use AI tools and 53% will want to use connected devices. Our chatbot is an integral part of this self-service experience. Users who visit the employee portal can use the chatbot Now Bot to initiate a conversation with IT. The bot feeds users content so they can resolve the issue themselves or, in some cases, will automatically do it on behalf of the user. If it can’t resolve the request, the bot seamlessly hands it off to a live agent for fulfillment. Natural language processing drives this process, making it easy and simple to engage with IT and helping the bot continually expand its self-serve capabilities.
We are adding digital workflows to automate simple, common processes such as password reset, distribution list creation, and software installation. Even more complex workflows, such as automated drop shipping of computers from vendors directly to employees, are potential targets for self-service and automation.
Proactive action. Personas help take issue avoidance to a new level by providing a foundation of knowledge for IT to respond appropriately. We are supplementing this with automated responses based on analysis and facilitated by machine learning and AI. We can proactively identify and fix issues that an employee may not be aware of or won’t bother to submit a ticket for.
For example, sophisticated log analysis driven by machine learning can now spot when an employee has an issue with our video conferencing system or VPN. The system alerts us of the issue. We can automatically contact the employee via chatbot or email to confirm the issue, then help them fix it, whether by providing a self-serve knowledge base link or generating a ticket.
More workflow automation. IT requests are the next target for workflow automation. We are automating responses to predictable requests, such as software downloads or password resets. Through an automated HR onboarding process, we are providing new hires access to their devices and apps (desired by 51% of Gen Zs) and ensuring their workspace is ready to go on day one (49%).
Providing a frictionless experience is also changing the role of IT Support as we move to automated workflows and self-service. The number of low-priority issues is slowly dropping and, as a result, the demand for Level 1 (L1) support. In the next two years, we expect to phase out L1 support in favor of a highly experienced Level 2 (L2) staff that acts as consultants and can solve complex, high-priority issues quickly.
While our IT transformation can be traced back to the demand by millennials and Gen- Z for a frictionless experience, the impact stretches to all corners of IT—from service delivery to operations. As we empower people to self-solve their own issues and use more AI and machine learning to prevent incidents, the employee relationship to technology will continue to evolve. This transformation is vital to attracting a talented workforce and providing a great place to work.
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