Killing the IT ticket: Lexmark's proactive, AI-driven approach reduced IT worker stress and IT incidents by 90 percent

Working with Wipro, Lexmark used AI and machine learning to develop a proactive, KPI-driven IT model that cut incidents by 90 percent.

Killing the IT ticket: Lexmark's proactive, AI-driven approach reduced IT worker stress and IT incidents by 90 percent Working with Wipro, Lexmark used AI and machine learning to develop a proactive, KPI-driven IT model that cut incidents by 90 percent.

When it comes to IT, few things are more ubiquitous than the support ticket. A problem happens, someone or some system fires off a support ticket, and an IT pro steps in to resolve the issue. This reactive model is incredibly inefficient, often frustrates end users, and unnecessarily increases IT worker tension.

Kentucky-based Lexmark, a manufacturer of laser printers and imaging products, knew there had to be a better way. In 2018, the company looked to a new system to end the exhausting process of reacting to IT tickets.

"We needed to transform our services business so that we could deliver consistently for our internal customers while making sure our print services for our end users was perfect," said Lexmark CIO Brad Clay. "We wanted to monitor our business process in a unique way so we could predict incidents before they cause a disruption."

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Clay asked Wipro, an IT services company that Lexmark works with, for help. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the areas that needed to be monitored were identified.

"With machine learning, it is easy to give a streaming input of any business process data, it gives us a random 30-40 key performance indicators to look at," said Murthy Malapaka, the Head of Transformation Services for Wipro. "Instead of sitting around a room with a bunch of people asking what they think, we actually showed them their KPIs."

Armed with new information, Wipro was able to take the platform Lexmark was already operating on to create a better way to identify potential problems. Within 90 days, Wipro designed and installed a new system.

"The beauty of it is that it doesn't take any training, so the most simple solutions are those that are intuitively obvious to whomever uses them," said Clay. "When the application detects an anomaly, it puts a dot on the trend and you click on that, and it will take you straight to the impacted service."

Lexmark has seen a 90% reduction in the number of incidents that used to lead to support tickets. Clay says the strategic command center is now a calmer, more intuitive environment with fewer employees.

"We now have a vehicle by which we can monitor and understand exactly where the issue is when we do have a problem," said Clay. "This has allowed our IT organization to now branch out and drive a lot of other transformation opportunities because we've established that credibility that comes from doing things really well and delivering a world-class service in a really simple and novel way."

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By Karen Roby

Karen Roby is a reporter for TechRepublic. Prior to joining CBS Interactive, Karen worked as an anchor and reporter for several CBS affiliate stations owned by Hearst Communications and Gray Television.