The new IBM Support Portal Beta team approached my design team to envision a way for IBM customers to self-serve assisted by cognitive technologies. IBM Support has a larger support transformation initiative headed by the Senior Vice President for Support and this capability was in keeping with some recommendations made by IBM Design's Incubator program. If IBM could prototype this capability and get feedback from IBM customers and IBM Support Engineers, it could be a shared capability to help reduce the number of tickets.
Methods & Practices
Adam's UX team reviewed the concepts around cognitive and talked with IBM Support Engineers on what type of support documents are most helpful to users, as well as reviewing user interviews on the same subject. The Support team is developing a new database called Augmented Reuse Model (ARM) where support resources (a resource can be anything) are evaluated for their usefulness by users. They also reviewed a self-help concept called IBM Care that was powered by Watson Alchemy. They also spoke with a Watson team that was experimenting with self-help support.
Adam's UX team concepted Guided Support that would be a workspace that would take an initial search query and use that as the starting point to collaborate between a user and ARM/Alchemy databases. They determined the types of messages and forms that would be generated to help a user narrow the support resource funnel and produce a series of resources for each conversational transaction. A user can review the resources and evaluate their usefulness or reject all the resources and ARM/Alchemy will continue the conversation until a user either is able to solve their query or open a ticket for IBM Support to solve.
Adam's UX team gave access to Guided Support to several IBM Support Engineers to use for Websphere Application Server (WAS). They found the overall concept helpful and had comments on the usability of Guided Support as well as comments about the usefulness of resources. They then gave access to several WAS customers and they provided feedback. For each cycle we made specific improvements to Guided Support from a UX and database standpoint.
Impact & Outcome
Adam's UX team was able to prove the validity of Guided Support as a self-help resource that could reduce the need for users to call IBM Support as well as open tickets prematurely. Guided Support remained in the IBM Support Portal Beta through December 2016. Guided Support could also be abstracted as a larger capability for IBM Support Portal around the handoff between cognitive help and IBM Support professional help.