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Help desk robot saves time and energy

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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.


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