We continue to remain open and support our customers during the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn More
Grant Thornton LLP is one of the largest accounting firms in the U.S, with over 8,500 employees across 59 offices. With a work environment that prioritizes flexibility and efficiency, it’s critical that their employees maintain unhindered access to their devices, email, and other internal IT systems to stay productive.
IT support has always been a pain point for enterprises like GT. Traditional help desk approaches have become less effective in a fast-paced business environment. This is exactly the problem GT was facing—issues were taking weeks to resolve and everything was driven by escalation. They were also dealing with an increasingly expensive managed service provider (MSP) who didn’t provide the flexibility needed to address these major support challenges. The team knew they needed to make a change.
First and foremost, the quality and timeliness of the support to users had to be improved. At the forefront of leading this transformation is Diana Schuetz, Senior Director of IT Operations.
“There was a huge amount of frustration. Users had such a lack of faith in the system, they often wouldn't even reach out with their IT support questions at all.”
Grant Thornton ultimately turned to Cloud MSG as a partner who could help them reimagine the IT support experience. During the proof-of-concept phase the Cloud MSG team was able to seamlessly ingest and analyze existing ticket data. From this analysis, the team was able to come up with a strategy in three parts:
The first step was building a conversational AI interface that would automate repetitive queries, support requests, and workflows. The customized assistant, known as alyx, would act as the primary interaction point for all support requests, and be deployed within Grant Thornton’s primary communication channel, Microsoft Teams. With the help of Cloud MSG to curate their knowledge base within ServiceNow, alyx would be to give responses pertinent to the user’s request.
As an example, let’s imagine a user who is locked out of their device. The employee starts a conversation with alyx through a Microsoft Teams chat, and says “I’m locked out of my company laptop, how do I get access again?”. alyx will guide them through resolving their issue by providing instructions on a password reset, and can recommend best practices or relevant articles as needed during this interaction.
Once the employee’s problem has been resolved, the alyx AI will learn from this interaction, and provide even more accurate and relevant answers to similar future requests. In the 20-25% of cases where alyx is not able to resolve the issue, a user can seamlessly escalate their issue to a live agent.
Issues that have been escalated to a live agent would then be passed to the Cloud MSG help desk. These highly trained, U.S-based support agents would be able to further assist the user with triaging and escalating special requests.
The benefits of having a Cloud MSG on-shore support team include:
Avoiding legal and compliance challenges of an off-shore team
Seamless integration into the alyx AI chat interface
Fast and effective communication with users
Finally, the last step was establishing a way to improve the accuracy and usefulness of the AI. This is where Cloud MSG breaks the mold of a traditional IT partner. Service desk agents are now intelligence agents; utilizing a low-code platform, agents can spot knowledge gaps and build automations and process improvements. They are empowered to make changes and optimizations in real time, creating a truly self-driving service desk.
“Cloud MSG has built an operational best practice which continues to drive quality implementation and effectiveness of the solution.”
The true value of an IT help desk is when users can have issues resolved quickly and have their productivity uninterrupted. That’s exactly what Grant Thornton was able to achieve with this partnership. Within three weeks of launching, alyx was able to completely resolve more than 78% of all incoming tickets.
This incredible achievement earned the praise of executive leadership, and far exceeded initial goals and expectations. IT staff that were previously overloaded with manually resolving these issues were freed up to focus on higher priority projects.
More importantly, the company culture and sentiment towards the support team shifted. Since alyx proved so effective after the rollout, employees are now comfortable sharing minor IT support issues they wouldn’t have before—further improving their productivity.
“Out of the IT vendors in our portfolio, Cloud MSG is one of the few that I see as an actual partner. They knew and could anticipate how the users would engage with the system. If we didn't have that level of support, we would have never gotten it done in time.”
On a personal note from the Cloud MSG team, we’d like to give a special thanks to Diana Schuetz, Frank Messina, and Matthew Witman for their contributions to this case study and success of the partnership.