Education Today Logo


Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Help desk robot saves time and energy

News Image

A help desk is perhaps the definition of tedium but for the Catholic School system in NSW employing Serena has taken most of the pain out of resolving, for the greater part, lost passwords and usernames.

Serena is a chatbot, developed to offer first line support to CSNSW’s 11,000-strong user-base spread across almost 600 schools and free up the IT help desk. It took two days to get Serena built and running, which halved the log-in related problems and reduced overall support costs.

Alex Dean chief technology officer of CSNSW explains; “We noticed a lot of questions were coming into the helpdesk that a bot could handle. The bigger picture over the long run, was to design a bot or a range of bots that could become interactive help systems for users of various online applications that Catholic Schools are providing to their stakeholders maximising the resources we have internally and reducing the time spent on frequent support calls. It would also improve the user experience for the stakeholders.”

Going through emails that had been coming in on a frequent basis showed the tech team frequent questions that could be answered. They then made the bot more interactive around specific tasks or specific problems that users are having, building workflows into the bots.

The system runs on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud system and the CSS has started running testing environments for business applications in Azure, and to speed up deployment processes. The next stage is migrating infrastructure into Azure, hosting web machines and virtual networks.

“The organisation’s now digging deeper into analysing the vast amount of data available to us; starting to use things like machine learning and learning algorithms to be able to detect patterns in order to automate certain tasks within the organisation around reporting on that data.

“Azure is helping us. We’ve already started with the data catalogue capabilities in Azure to start cataloguing all of the different data sources. And, we’re increasing our Power BI footprint around reporting on all of the data that we have by providing dashboards to other stakeholders.

“The future’s bright when it comes to all the things that Azure could be providing this organisation, and I’m sure there’s going to be new services and features that we’ll be able to leverage in the near future to improve how we operate,” Dean says.

19 Feb 2019 | India
Breakfast and lunch for better learning News Image

Breakfasts at school have had a great effect on learning outcomes and it looks like the same goes for lunch according to an investigation of 120 million Indian students. Read More

18 Feb 2019 | Melbourne
Ivanhoe university campus at Latrobe commences News Image

Ivanhoe Grammar School has opened its  University Campus for Year 9 at La Trobe University. It offers a year-long program designed to expose students to the self sufficiency of university life. Read More

18 Feb 2019 | National
Scrapping HECS debt for remote teachers welcomed News Image

Experts have endorsed the announcement that the government will cancel the uni debts of teachers who commit to working for four years in remote indigenous communities and say more must be done to attract locals to teaching. Read More

18 Feb 2019 | National
New $15k Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy open News Image

The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund has launched the new $15,000 Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy, part of almost $2m it awards every year. Read More

14 Feb 2019 | National
Yamaha’s 60K Great Start Grant – applications open News Image

Yamaha Music Australia’s Great Start Grant is a nationwide initiative with a very generous $60,000 worth of musical instruments given to the winning school and more. Read More