Self-service IT support with a chat Bot

Self-service IT support within a company is possible by utilising the capabilities of the Microsoft Bot Framework in combination with Azure Cognitive Services. Whether it is a question, a service request or an issue, the chatbot can be used to answer the end user’s question or deliver the requested services/resources quickly via automation. The same Bot can be used in different channels, for example, Teams, SharePoint, Outlook, Yammer, Slack or a website. For the end user, the experience will be the same in the different channels. Each user request/question to the Bot can be registered in an ITSM tool such as Service Now for auditability or SLA purposes. The Bot can leverage the authentication and authorisation mechanism based on (Azure) Active Directory roles or groups.

Architecture
The end user connects to a channel that is connected via an Azure channel connector to the Bot services. Different channel types can be generated in Azure on the deployed Bot. The Bot in the centre of the design diagram below is a web service exposing just one API. This API will handle the incoming messages from the end user and answer them or create jobs for Azure Runbooks. The runbooks can implement the user’s request in the environment, for example, providing resources, generating custom reports or solving/analysing end user issues (e.g. password reset). Furthermore, the Bot leverages Azure Cognitive Services such as the Language Understanding Services (LUIS) for natural language interpretation or the QnA maker services for specific corporate frequently asked questions. Azure App Insight is used to monitor the performance of the Bot and analyse the event logs on critical errors.

Benefits
Implementing a self-service IT support Bot in the organisation can help to answer simple and basic questions quickly while the helpdesk can focus on more complex issues. It will also increase the speed of response and automatically deploy the requested resources in the environment. Utilising Azure Cognitive Services and Azure Automation, the Bot can easily be trained with new models to answer new questions or extend the runbook library with additional functionality. The use of a chatbot for self-service IT support will significantly improve the efficiency of the IT support as well as the user satisfaction.

Bot Demo
The video below illustrates the power and simplicity of a Microsoft Bot Framework built in C# and deployed in three different channels: Teams, SharePoint, and a website. The end user requests a new Azure Virtual Machine and specifies some variables through the Bot chat that will be used to create the Azure Virtual Machine. The Azure Virtual Machine is equipped with an Azure Runbook within a couple of minutes!
In a real-life scenarios, an approval workflow can be implemented or the user request can be registered in an ITSM tool as an incident.

Curious about what a Bot can do for your organisation or want to request a demo? Please contact us to schedule a call or a demo.

 

rbruinsma