We hear a lot about machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) these days, and business analyst Gartner estimated that the potential business value of these technologies would reach over USD 3.9 trillion within the next five years. How will AI impact ITSM? Is the buzzword here to stay?
As we know, ITSM is a best practice for organisations willing to take control over their IT services and resources by implementing structured processes and workflows. Thanks to ITIL and DevOps progress, most ITSM solutions came to provide some service automation, so delivery activities and user support could ensure greater efficiency and superior quality. We might, therefore, figure out AI as a step forward in the ITSM evolution path, offering the opportunity to leverage advanced algorithms to data analysis and enrichment, and even to customer-facing services.
Let’s consider standard IT maintenance processes. Failures, incidents and breakdowns usually are tracked and recorded, but the IT department could work into high gear if applying AI to the analysis of hardware and software occurrences. It would become possible not only to have smarter data about what happened in the past but also predict what is likely to experience problems or disruptions shortly. Service delivery outages could be prevented, ensuring resilience and business continuity.
Another interesting AI application could be around service-level agreements (SLA). Almost all organisations struggle to achieve SLA targets. Thanks to algorithm-based systems, it would be possible to use correlation and regression models, and define how to adjust resource allocation and overall effort to optimise SLA performance.
As for customer service, AI could contribute to a quicker and more efficient routing of help desk tickets and support requests. Basic queries could be answered automatically or via chatbots, while complex ones would be escalated to human IT operators, assigning them to the person or team with the right expertise and skills to deal with the specific issue. According to Gartner, AI and machine learning can free up to 30% of IT service desks capacity by the end of 2019, releasing resources that could be directed to value, innovative projects.
Some very recent research proved that AI could even be used to improve phone conversations: voice-detection systems and sentiment analysis algorithms could help customer service operators to better recognise the counterpart’s emotional condition thus tuning answers and reactions in a more sensitive way.
We can definitely say AI is here to stay, and it has already started to change the ITSM scenario. AI won’t probably replace ITSM solutions as we conceive them today, but in the next five years, AI-based platforms will surely make traditional ones obsolete.
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