How Microsoft Teams Inspired Our Microsoft Teams Service Desk Solution

Tikit: Microsoft Teams Ticketing and Service Desk Solution

You Gain an Efficient, Intuitive AI-Powered Ticketing System

We probably wouldn’t have thought of creating a ticket from a Microsoft Teams chat if Covid-19 pandemic shutdowns hadn’t forced companies to temporarily transform operations and transition to remote work. Microsoft Teams use skyrocketed, and its value as a communication and collaboration platform became, well, very real. IT service desks needed a reliable way to reach end user employees and adapt ticket management.

We thought, “What if analysts could just create a ticket from a Teams chat?”

From there, your feedback and ideas have been instrumental in developing two Tikit products, Microsoft Teams Ticketing (simple ticketing in Teams), and Microsoft 365 Service Desk (a more mature service desk). We’re going to break down Tikit’s key features, the problems they solve and why the functionality is valuable—and unique—for IT analysts, administrators and managers.  

What is Tikit?

Tikit is a Microsoft Teams service desk solution that offers different degrees of functionality:

  • Microsoft Teams Ticketing: simple service desk for companies getting started with a structured solution.
  • Microsoft 365 Service Desk: mature service desk with ITIL-friendly functionality.

Because Tikit was built exclusively for Microsoft Teams, it provides a native Teams experience. You are managing the ticketing lifecycle in Microsoft Teams and performing many ticketing functions a bit differently than other SaaS ticketing solutions.

How You Benefit from Tikit’s Architecture

Along with improved analyst and end user experience, you get:

  • Innovative features that provide agility in ticket management.
  • A way to simplify aspects of IT service management (ITSM).
  • A ticketing management system built on a cost-effective Microsoft Teams platform.
  • A platform built for the M365 ecosystem that integrates with additional Microsoft products and builds on your existing M365 investment.

ITSM and Unique AI-powered Processes

Tikit uses automation in innovative ways to consolidate the ticketing lifecycle. AI deflection is part of its foundation, but you will find process efficiency using ITIL-friendly features like templates, custom forms, smart knowledge base and groups for routing and triage (explained in sections located below).

But Tikit performs these functions differently, some of which is due to Microsoft 365 connectivity and strategic use of artificial intelligence (AI). Self-service is just one concept that Tikit has transformed. Instead of giving end users a place to go and search for answers or resources, Tikit uses AI to serve those answers or resources directly to the end user. The end user asks for help, and they receive answers predetermined by IT admins. Pretty much immediately.

You don’t have to have in-depth skill, knowledge or experience working with AI to benefit from it. Tikit is fairly self-sufficient, and it can make a big difference in service desk operations.

Once you trial Tikit, you’ll start to see how ticketing is more efficient.

Why Microsoft Teams?

As a Microsoft Gold Partner, Tikit’s parent company, Cireson, successfully helps enterprise customers enhance Microsoft investment with complementary IT service and asset management software. Cireson’s hallmark is helping you get even more value from infrastructure you own, namely Microsoft System Center Service Manager (SCSM), and securely enabling data flow and use across platforms.

Microsoft Teams is Conversational

So, we recognized Microsoft Teams’ potential in developing Tikit. Teams is structured around sharing information and communication—whether by group or breakout direct chats, video meetings/calls, spontaneous or scheduled meetings. All of which plays some role in ticketing.

But Teams is multi-faceted and conversational. That alone sparked ideas; company employees are becoming more and more used to chatting in Teams.  That comfortable, informal, immediate way of connecting…we believed that we could make ticketing more satisfying for end users and analysts alike by reinventing a ticketing lifecycle process in this style. Plus, we could see the time-saving value of centering the process in Teams, where everyone is already working.

Connected to the Greater Microsoft 365 Ecosystem

Teams is popular and convenient, true, but it is also connected to the greater Microsoft 365 ecosystem. (Example: files shared on Microsoft Teams or recorded meetings are stored in SharePoint). We understood that as Microsoft continued to expand Teams functionality, we would also have opportunity to capitalize on that functionality and continue to make Tikit even better, so that you can do more.

Create Tickets from Microsoft Teams Chats and Email Using Tikit

It’s a simple concept but also the cornerstone of Tikit: you create tickets by clicking on a Microsoft Teams chat or an email, and you can continue communicating and/or respond in that channel.

Location: Work Tickets and Communicate in Whatever Channel You Prefer

End users can initiate support requests in Teams or via Outlook email.

Analysts can create, track and resolve tickets via Microsoft Teams web, desktop and mobile app and Tikit web app. Tikit gives you flexibility to work interchangeably in the channel you choose, while automatically updating the ticket history throughout the ticket lifecycle.

The great thing is that Tikit works where you choose to work. End users can engage in email, for example, but analysts can work tickets from their preferred channel. This is how email dialogue might unfold:

  • Adele (end user) has created a ticket via Outlook.
  • Diego (service desk analyst) responded to her in Teams.
  • Adele gets that notification via Outlook.
  • Adele responds to this notification from Outlook and her ticket in Teams is updated via Tikit!

Analyst Workspace: it’s Flexible and Contains One View with Tickets, Calendar, Tasks and Email

While we’re on the subject of flexibility, Microsoft 365 authentication makes it possible to bring additional Microsoft applications into analysts’ ticketing experience. For example, productivity tools like Microsoft Calendar, Tasks by Planner, Email and Tickets render in the My Work tab. So, you have one workspace—and one view—that contains everything you need in your workday. You can also view it via Kanban board.

How Tikit Works: AI Deflection, an Innovative Use of Automation

AI deflection is Tikit’s star quality. It uses an AI-powered virtual agent (called Tikit Virtual Agent) to relieve analysts from repetitive and common end user requests. The result is that analysts receive far fewer common asks from a range of channels, and instead have more time to work higher priority issues from a streamlined source.

How does AI deflection work?

Tikit Virtual Agent acts like another analyst on the service desk. When an end user emails or chats regarding a tech support issue, Tikit Virtual Agent will:

  • Assess the request for predetermined phases or keywords.
  • If the ticket can be deflected, the virtual agent uses natural language processing to identify relevant knowledge base content, serve it to the end user and resolve the ticket.
  • If the problem isn’t resolved, the support analyst can step in and resolve the issue. Tikit can create and populate a ticket (with relevant documentation) so the analyst isn’t starting at square one.

Why is AI Deflection Important?

AI deflection is a time and resource saver. AI is best applied to business processes you may unknowingly take for granted, and it could be considered as a technical solution looking for a business problem. The key to automation is applying it to repetitive, high volume, simple processes. And where better to start than with a tech support team that routinely receives similar requests?

Consider:

• The time it takes for people in various departments to ask questions, and the time it takes for the tech support team to respond.
• The same question may be posed in a few different ways, but it may be asked repeatedly, say, 25 times per month.
• It may take anywhere from 2-6 minutes to answer, due to research and documentation. This may involve online searches for links, consulting with others, looking up documentation on SharePoint or a OneNote, etc.

Analysts could potentially spend one – two hours per month answering the same question. At least. Have you quantified that effect on your service desk and on the organization as a whole?

AI deflection gives analysts a break by allowing Tikit Virtual Agent to tackle a request first.

End User Experience: Self-Service is Transformed into Self-Served

This process is easier for end users: they ask for help and get served a response and/or KB instructions, articles or resources. They don’t have to search or problem-solve—the AI is working to serve answers to the end user or route the issue to the appropriate group or subject matter expert. 

If tickets evolve or escalate, Tikit responds accordingly, intelligently chatting and responding to user questions in a manner that lowers analysts’ ticket workload. 

Analyst Experience: Relief from Repetitive Requests

Analysts always have something to do. But Tikit’s Virtual Agent just gives them more time to do it. Analysts play a key role in cross-training Tikit (more on that in the next section). They fuel AI without having to possess a high degree of AI knowledge or skill.

As Tikit Virtual Agent learns relevant, helpful responses to common requests, they will be able to successfully help more end users. As virtual agents become more proactive, analysts can yield. But they aren’t removed from the process. Analysts can see progress in the ticket history. If Tikit Virtual Agent is tapped out, analysts receive notification to step in and resolve the issue.

You can see the end user and analyst experience working with Tikit Virtual Agent in this Tikit demo video.

So, What Triggers the AI (Tikit Virtual Agent)?

Analysts cross train Tikit Virtual Agent (and trigger the AI) by contributing knowledge base articles. This is done by going to the knowledge section and click “add knowledge.” Then enter as many phrases as you can think of for a certain type of request. For passwords, for example, this could look like:

  • Password help.
  • Password isn’t working.
  • Locked out.
  • I can’t log into [software name].

Just like Google serves up content based on search intent and context (instead of solely by keywords), so does Tikit Virtual Agent by assessing a user request and recognizing a related knowledge base (KB) entry.

Knowledge can be trained to respond to a request with an answer or a template. Responding with a template is the way to stimulate AI to work on your behalf in a completely automated cycle (more on that in the next section).

Tikit’s Knowledge Base: It’s Rich, Smart and Stylish

Tikit’s knowledge base is designed to contain more than just text articles. This is a comprehensive resource center that triggers AI, so you are able to enter multiple phrases and responses in one KB entry. This is how it can assess and respond to multiple requests about one type of issue that may be phrased differently.

Thanks to the KB’s WYSIWYG editor, analysts can add style to improve formatting and include images and other media to entries. These touches make the KB a comprehensive, higher-quality resource that improves the end user experience.

Achieve Greater Process Efficiency with These ITIL-Friendly Features

Tikit Templates

Templates are often used in ITIL circles to streamline and provide consistency. In Tikit, templates place choices directly in front of end users, so when they request a laptop, for example, Tikit Virtual Agent can respond with, “choose from this drop-down list of laptop options.”

Templates create a more direct interaction between user and analyst (or a user and virtual agent). With more information being gathered during the initial interaction, analysts can save a lot of time on paperwork.

We put together a pretty comprehensive overview of how templates work in Tikit. If you follow each step, you will be able to take your hands off the wheel and completely delegate to Tikit Virtual Agent. To better understand the process, check out this Tikit template series:

Custom Forms and Microsoft Adaptive Cards

Tikit, which gives users a native experience in Microsoft Teams, uses Microsoft’s Adaptive Cards. They are the basis of our templates and custom forms, used to condense and fully automate the ticketing process. Tikit can provide this flexibility, enabling analysts and end users to request and manage tickets in email and Teams chats (and our new Web UI), because Adaptive Cards provide the same experience and the same formatting, inputs and configuration that you control. Information can be collected, contained and exchanged from app to app in a consistent way. From a user perspective, it’s seamless.

From a design perspective, capitalizing on Microsoft architecture and using Adaptive Cards in feature development gave us an easy way to exercise innovation and speed development. The cards are documented Microsoft pieces that can be used across the Microsoft ecosystem.  

Just as Tikit’s AI is triggered by its knowledge base, custom forms are the foundation of Tikit’s templates. We walk through custom form best practices that demonstrate how to set up, use and serve custom forms to end users in the most optimal way, so that you have a strong foundation for future innovations and automation.

Route and Triage Directly with Groups

Triage is an important aspect of ticketing; we walk you through the process of setting up a triage channel in this video.

Tikit has a feature that allows you to get more specific in where and to whom you route tickets: support groups. For some teams, creating support groups and assigning tickets to these groups offers a better way to triage. You can put tickets directly in front of the analysts who will be working them, whether by name or specialty.

It’s just another way to improve ticket resolution time and overall efficiency. You can see how to work with support groups in this video. Recent enhancements also allow you to:  

  • Assign tickets to a group.
  • Associate a group with a Teams channel.
  • Filter tickets by group.
  • Create automations based on groups.

Categorize Tickets More Specifically using Tikit Type Properties

Categorizing, or classifying, tickets in pre-determined buckets of differing values gives you a way to prioritize them. Service desk teams categorize tickets in various ways, including by type, urgency, department, product, etc.

Tikit gives you a more expansive way to categorize tickets using a feature called ticket type properties. These are additional data points that help you route tickets more directly to specific groups. They also lay the groundwork for efficient reporting and ticket analysis.

You can categorize tickets according to type:

  • Incidents: a request to fix something that is broken.
  • Service Request: something is needed but not broken, like a new laptop request.
  • Change: requests to change something involving systems, like process changes.

You may choose to use these ticket types for the functions mentioned above, or you can give them a different name and meaning. What’s key is that you can apply another category to tickets, choose what it means, how you will use it and change the type at any point.

Tikit type properties give you flexibility to organize and track tickets in a way that is most meaningful for you.

Reporting: Provide More Insight and Visualization of Ticket Data

With the use of ticket type properties, you can better track and report on specific, meaningful data points. But Tikit also supports reporting with low code integrations, specifically to Microsoft applications, that help you connect to vital systems, import data and create visuals. This is achieved via:  

  • Power Automate: low code connections to other systems.
  • Power BI: visualize imported data. 
  • APIs: freedom to build integrations to a wide range of technologies.

We created a dashboard blog series to demonstrate how to:

The process helps you better gain insight from data—and share those insights across the organization.

Our Vision for Tikit

Being able to unlock data across your Microsoft 365 ecosystem to fuel a wide range of initiatives is the holy grail to us. We are stiving to help you do more with the high-performing technology you own, including providing:

  • Access and use of files across platforms, but they reside in your OneDrive or SharePoint, secured via your protocols.
  • A Power Platform connector for Power BI.
  • Connection to user profiles in Microsoft 365, Intune and Active Directory.

Microsoft Teams Ticketing (simple ticketing) and Microsoft 365 Service Desk (mature service desk) provide different levels of functionality to accommodate ticketing needs.

Check out our feature comparison breakdown to determine which is the optimal plan for you today. The great news is that as your company grows in size and process complexity, Tikit scales accordingly (thanks to Microsoft connectivity and your existing 365 investment). You can move at your pace and unlock value as you need it. Give it a try with no obligation: we offer a fully functional 14-day trial.


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