It’s been another information-packed day at Efecte’s virtual event ‘Digitalize and Automate’, and it’s time to highlight the second day’s sessions along with some of the key things we learned. After looking at the ‘why’ of digitalization and automation on Day 1, we have today explored the ‘how’ – with the help of some exceptional speakers.
Reidar Wasenius, Chief Creative Officer at Breaks Finland, again served as moderator and introduced the day’s format of presentation tracks, allowing participants to choose their preferred topics and themes.
To start off the presentations, Efecte Head of Product, Santeri Jussila, took to the virtual stage to present the Efecte vision and exciting product roadmap. “Yesterday, we’ve heard so many great stories about the need to digitalize and move forward with building European platforms – today we want to focus on how to make it happen, with examples, demo and best-practices”.
Looking at the current challenges businesses face, we realize that it’s more important than ever to digitalize and automate work. Employees are accustomed to easy-to-use applications for their personal usage and demand the same for their working environments. On the other hand, companies need to adapt to continuous changes with an even bigger clock speed. The protection and security of digital identities have become a big focus and all of us must be prudent with cost.
“We want to offer smart ways to help our customers in all these areas”, Santeri said and continued with the announcement of new product offerings on the Efecte platform.
The first and certainly biggest announcement of the day was the introduction of a new pillar to the Efecte platform, which is conversational AI. This development has been made possible based on InteliWISE technology; a company specializing in AI that joined the Efecte family earlier in the year. With that, the Efecte platform now serves our customers in three different areas which are ITSM and Enterprise Service Management, Identity and Access Governance, and conversational AI. All three work in synergy on the platform but are also available as stand-alone solutions. Most importantly, all of them are powered by the Efecte cloud which is available on your own terms as a dedicated or private cloud environment.
Santeri sees three main pillars for delivering exceptional user experiences, which are human-friendly interfaces, simplicity and ease of use, and collaboration. In the three areas, Efecte supports customers with a variety of new products, including the Efecte chat, chatbot, and life-chat; the all-new Efecte Self-Service and simplified agent UI, and new ways of agent collaboration via Microsoft Teams.
Santeri also stresses how important it has become to secure identities and access privileges. 70% of employees have more access rights than they need. With that in mind, Efecte has developed Efecte IGA for the automation of identity and access rights governance. To better support our customers even better in that field Efecte has now a new partnership with Signicat for strong authentication.
Efecte has also strengthened its offering in the field of IT Asset Management. All Service Management professionals know that a CMDB is the backbone of the IT service infrastructure. But without accurate data about your assets, the implementation of a CMDB cannot be done. To that purpose, Efecte now offers a new powerful IT Asset Discovery solution based on the Device42 technology to offer customers an agentless IT discovery solution that is integrated with the Efecte CMDB.
At the end of his keynote, Santeri opens the chapter on coming developments and especially highlights “Effi AI” which will be the next step for conversational AI development using voice bots integrated into the ITSM tool. That product is planned to be available in the current of 2023. Alongside these new developments, Efecte continues to invest in the robust platform architecture, always with the wish to make life and work easier for all Efecte customers.
Conversational AI to drive better business results and employee satisfaction
Building on Santeri's announcements on AI, Marcin Strzalkowski, CEO of InteliWise shared his vision and insights on that matter and how AI can be leveraged in the ITSM space.
According to Marcin, the one thing that has fundamentally changed during the past two or three years is that our work has become digital. Employees, from top programmers or blue collar to even physical workers, become digital workers and that changes how we work and the tools we are using.
This trend of people becoming digital nomads has significantly changed the workforce market because many people, according to Gartner 65% of employees, reconsider how and where they want to work. That leaves many companies with open positions, forcing them to increase their salary level, and enter the chase for talent. “It also forces us to refocus how our kids are actually educated,” Marcin said. “We need to make sure that we don’t end up without engineers, technicians, or other technical profiles to recruit in 15 years or so.”
The biggest impact however that Marcin sees on the way we work is the proliferation of digital devices and technologies, even at the lowest work levels, that, if not supported correctly, can cause a lot of frustration and problems.
All these changes have led Marcin to one conclusion: “The employee should be served as well as our customers are. The employees are the new customers”.
Marcin continued by stating that a new conversational approach using natural language processing is the solution for many current challenges. “Bots, including chatbots and voice assistants are the new way how end-users are communicating with digital systems and IoT.
He provided 5 real-life examples of how conversational AI is already helping companies to improve the employee experience.
“What’s in it for the organization?” Marcin asked. He sees a three steps automation process that leads to cost decreases. Indeed, he explained that AI and bots are the key tools for maintaining the quality of service at a growing scale, at a controllable cost. Bots allow for example a much higher level of scalability of parallel campaigns. He then explained what the three steps automation process would look like:
In the end, Marcin showed how all this is already becoming a reality in the Efecte platform. Agents will be able to benefit from AI Chatbots, called Effie AI, and AI Voicebots, as well as live chat, calling, messaging and video, all integrated into one Efecte platform.
Focus on digital transformation
Miika Soininen from Ponsse was the first customer of Efecte to take the stage. Miika told us about Ponsse’s digital journey and value creation in digital forestry. Ponsse Plc is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of cut-to-length forest machines. Ponsse started to work on this because they saw technological change both digital and overall. The transformation towards digital services was considered really important. Customers wanted to have real-time information about their services, and the company started to use data to support their decision-making. Over 1000 companies use Ponsse’s digital services today.
As Miika explained that their customers needed data to support the factory running efficiently, in resource planning, and transportation planning and they utilize data to increase efficiency. The challenge has been to understand the different customer needs and to figure out how Ponsse could provide individual customer experience and value fast enough.
They started the work with their customers, listening and discussing, visiting customer sites to understand their work, and then started to develop based on their customer’s needs.
The question around which everything revolved was if you believe in standardization, how to be individual?
Miika told us that they have been clear about where they want to be and how they have followed their vision to understand customer needs and empower their own teams with bigger autonomy. They have been building different services, collecting production information, delivering them through the cloud, and providing API services to those who want to use data in their own systems.
There’s also been a cultural development. Ponsse has changed its organization by building of product team towards single solutions always as a responsibility of one team. The company put effort to build releases, starting from customer journeys and also providing holistic views for customer journeys. As a result, they are now able to release in two weeks.
Miika explained that Efecte plays a key role in building their digital services. With Efecte, they have built a modular architecture, relying heavily on access management to enable the right components to the right people, enabling them to see only what they are meant to see. Ponsse has built a lot of automation - they can now provide services for customers and Ponsse employees and for example, dealers will see only their services. Ponsse has centralized incident handling, support, and feedback. There is also a lot of automation in incident management and efficient feedback management enabling Ponsse to support their customers better.
What they have learned in their digital journey:
The power of user-centric automation via integrated and augmented reality
Jörg Hesselink, Founder, and CEO of DC Smarter, an Efecte partner in the field of IT asset discovery and lifecycle management, delivered an exciting keynote about how augmented reality can drastically improve the way you deal with your assets.
Jörg started by explaining common pitfalls in asset and configuration management “We’re in the middle of the digital age, the complexity of IT is constantly increasing, and from a heavily centralized IT environment back in the 90s, we’re now facing decentralized environments with scattered data sources”, he said.
According to Jörg, there are two common challenges that IT professionals face in that situation: documentation management, which 50% of businesses do not have, and human error which causes 79% of all outages in companies. In his opinion, the answer to these problems is automation and digitalization. Thus, the workload is optimized, and decisions are based on real-time data. “Because let’s face it,” Jörg said, “the more technical your job is, the less the interest in boring tasks and documentation you have”. But this cumbersome work of documentation and data processing needs to be done since the number of interest groups in the company that rely on that information and a correctly working CMDB has grown. “The CMDB is that skeleton that keeps it all together”.
But how to get there? Well, either you have a lot of people to process the data, or you automate. In that latter case, you absolutely need a solution that supports your hybrid infrastructure, combining on-premise and cloud. At Efecte, we work with Device42, the leading DCIM technology provider worldwide.
At the end of his presentation, Jörg presented a totally new way of saving time and optimizing productivity in the data center, the use of augmented reality. DC Smarter develops a high-fidelity integrated digital twin of your data center infrastructure which you can use for automated discovery and regular updates of all of your assets. Make sure to watch the recording of this session if you missed the live demonstration of that great tool!
Efecte works together with Device42 to offer a cutting-edge discovery solution to its customers. See the product presentation and demo that has been delivered at Digitalize and Automate here
Round Table discussion and wrap-up
Araceli Rio Del Sastre, Paavo Kyrönen, Santeri Jussila, and Steffan Schumacher from Efecte came together in a panel discussion to look back at the two days and answer various questions regarding some of the most important topics of the day, including the cloud on your own terms, employees becoming the new customers, automation making digitalization real.
Araceli raised the urge to automate further in the field of identity and access management. Too many companies still do a lot of that management manually, making it too complicated and letting a lot of room for error. Our automation engine for IGA and the strong authentication capabilities with Signicat offer real support and drastically improve the user experience. According to Paavo, the most important takeaway regarding the European cloud topic was to never compromise when it comes to choosing your cloud. You should stick to what you need and ask for a cloud on your own terms. Second, he advises you to partner with an organization of a suitable size that engages the dialogue with you and adapts to your needs. Santeri finally came back to the main differentiators that Efecte offers to its customers: the most agile platform, that is a joy to use, fits your budget, and offers a cloud on your terms. We don’t want our customers to compromise, we want them to have an exceptional user experience and ease their workload as much as possible.
That made the perfect segway to the wrap-up of the day where Steffan Schumacher, COO, and Niilo Fredrickson, CEO of Efecte joined the stage together to end Digitalize and Automate 2022. The event started from a small dream in 2020 with a wake-up call to European companies and it has found its place on a European level, gathering more than 3000 registrations from 50 countries.
“During the two days, we clearly got the impression that things are moving forward, that there actually is a way to make the digital paradise come true”, Niilo said. Ponsee and Patria, both Efecte customers, have demonstrated in a very practical way what automation and digitalization already mean today for their businesses. Jussi Tolvanen and Aleksandra Przegalinska have made it clear how we humans will have to adapt to the technological change with a new skill and mindset and how AI should not be seen as a threat, but as a great opportunity to create more productivity and more happiness in what we do. At the same time, both agreed that we need regulation to ensure the safe development of new AI-based solutions and make Europe a role model in that matter.
We’re all looking forward to meeting you again next year, at Digitalize and Automate 2023.
During Day 2, more presentations have been delivered on the following topics:
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