Applying automation to increase IT call center capacity

From crisis response in the wake of COVID-19 to thriving in the new reality

Greg Horvath

Greg Horvath

Managing Director, CIO Advisory, KPMG US

+1 414-226-1183

Denis Berry

Denis Berry

US Microsoft Business Leader, KPMG US

+1 312-665-2866

Part of KPMG's series COVID-19: Insights for CIOs and IT executives on considerations for building IT and business resilience in challenging times

As customer interaction channels, global supply chains, and employee work patterns are increasingly disrupted, support resources like contact centers, product teams, and operations have been heavily impacted. Now is the time to turn to chat bots, self-service and tool-chain automation to help cover the gap, especially for certain work-types. It is important to separate the hype from reality, especially as different businesses have different needs, and while not everything in IT can be automated, there are some immediate use cases you might consider.

In this video we explore the importance of accelerating the use of intelligent automation, self-service, and artificial intelligence within IT to better support the enterprise through the recovery and position the company for the new reality.

Video companion text

Enabling self-service and scale automation

Barry Brunsman
Principal, CIO Advisory, KPMG in the U.S.


With the increase of remote working, there has also been a significant increase in a need for support resources, such as the use of intelligent automation, self-service, and artificial intelligence. Prior to the COVID-19, according to KPMG research, over 40% of companies were actively investigating automation, self-service, machine learning and AI. Since February, early indications show that number has increased to over 55%.

While not everything in IT can be automated, there are tools to turn to in time of disruptions of your global supply chains, employee work patterns, contact centers and overall operations. Tools such as chatbots, self-service and tool-chain automation can help fill in the gaps, especially for certain work types. Below is more detail on each type to consider.


Before picking up the phone to call a contact center, many customers will start with a single portal of controlled access, via a chatbot for simple communication and requests. This creates a seamless handoff across channels between self-help bots and human agents, as well as helps avoid significant cost levers.

While chatbots can be a both economical and customer-friendly, they can also often leave a customer dissatisfied with the overall end to end service experience, especially when dealing with more complex issues. There are two tips to ensure a user-friendly chatbot experience.

Tip 1: Not all calls should flow to a virtual agent. Using AI to monitor and analyze user requests and intelligently route complex, urgent or emotional issues immediately to live agents will help keep a positive chatbot experience.

 Tip 2: Take time to design. Even in times of urgency, work with expert bot managers, data architects, and interaction designers that will help build out the best possible chatbot end to end path for your technology.

Contact Centers

Robotic process automation or RPA, along with AI and machine learning are now foundational elements of how CIOs are rethinking their operations playbook when it comes to offshore contact centers. One factor within IA tools that has become even more prevalent in the time of COVID-19, is the key performance measure of empathy and personalization. As you continue to integrate other systems that provide insights into customer preferences, keep in mind how you could incorporate a more empathetic agent experience.  And while there are hundreds of tools as your disposal, humans are not irreplaceable nor obsolete. A successful automation and AI implementation needs to be trained by experienced agents.

 IT Value Chain

The recent events of COVID-19 are requiring the CIO and IT functions to look at automation differently than ever before, even with recent investments in Agile and DevOps. Digital Transformation programs today are even more digitally enabled than pre-pandemic, so in order to keep pace, the IT tool chain must also step up and become smarter, more integrated and enable continuous improvement. This will enable the IT organization to run a fast, safe and cost competitive and effective environment.


Although there is no one tool solution that can automate the entire DevOps continuum, most enterprise-wide tools are simple enough to integrate through open APIs. For many companies, success will be determined by securing your architecture, data schemas and ways of working.