Part of KPMG's series COVID-19: Insights for CIOs and IT executives on considerations for building IT and business resilience in challenging times.

From crisis response to thriving in the new reality

With an increase in remote working, there has also been a significant increase in the need for support resources, such as the use of intelligent automation, self-service, and artificial intelligence. Prior to COVID-19, according to KPMG research, over 40 percent of companies were actively investigating automation, self-service, machine learning and AI. Since February, early indications show that number has increased to over 55 percent.

While not everything in IT can be automated, there are tools to turn to in time of disruptions of your global supply chains, employee work patterns, contact centres and overall operations. Tools such as self-service digital and chatbots, contact centres combined with Self-Service Voice (voicebots), and tool-chain automation can help fill in the gaps, especially for certain work types. Below is more detail on each type to consider.

Self-service digital

Before picking up the phone to call a contact centre, many customers will start with a single portal of controlled access, via a chatbot, for simple communication and requests. This can create a seamless handoff across channels between self-help bots and human agents, as well as helping to avoid significant cost levers.

While chatbots can be both economical and customer-friendly, they can also often leave a customer dissatisfied with the overall end-to-end service experience, especially when dealing with more complex issues. There are two tips to help ensure a user-friendly chatbot experience:

  1. Not all calls should go to a virtual agent: Using AI to monitor and analyse user requests and intelligently route complex, urgent or emotional issues immediately to live agents can help keep a positive chatbot experience.
  2. Take time to design: Even in times of urgency, work with expert bot managers, data architects, and interaction designers that can help build out the best possible chatbot end-to-end path for your technology.

Contact centres

Robotic process automation (RPA), along with AI and machine learning are now foundational elements of how CIOs are rethinking their operations playbook when it comes to offshore contact centres. One factor within IA tools that has become even more prevalent in the time of COVID-19, is the key performance measure of empathy and personalisation. As you continue to integrate other systems that provide insights into customer preferences, keep in mind how you could incorporate a more empathetic agent experience. And while there are hundreds of tools as your disposal, humans are not irreplaceable nor obsolete. A successful automation and AI implementation needs to be trained by experienced agents.

Self-service voice

Recent KPMG experiences in Australia have shown maturing VoiceBot capability can bridge the gap between Self-Service and Contact Centre, ensuring a personal experience is maintained and hold times are significantly reduced, while controlling demands on scarce phone operators.

IT value chain

The recent events of COVID-19 are requiring the CIO and IT functions to look at automation differently, even with recent investments in Agile and DevOps. Digital transformation programs today are even more digitally enabled than pre-coronavirus pandemic, so in order to keep pace, the IT tool chain must also step up and become smarter, more integrated and enable continuous improvement. This can enable the IT organisation to run a fast, safe, and cost competitive and effective environment.

Although there is no one tool solution that can automate the entire DevOps continuum, most enterprise-wide tools are simple enough to integrate through open APIs. For many companies, success will be determined by securing your architecture, data schemas and ways of working.


If you have any questions regarding the content of this article and would like speak to someone from our team please contact us.

COVID-19: Insights for CIOs and IT executives series