Artificial Intelligence (AI) has already started to change the IT Service Management (ITSM) scenario: we don’t expect AI to replace ITSM solutions as we conceive them today, but in the next five years AI-based platforms will surely make traditional ones obsolete.
Business analyst Gartner predicted AI and machine learning to free up to 30% of IT service desks capacity by the end of 2019, releasing resources that could be directed to value, innovative projects. But don’t mix up AI with mere service automation: although the two concepts are sometimes interchanged, they are a different one from the other.
Automation is about the mechanisation of tasks which are typically repetitive and very simple, so there is little value in processing them manually. Technology can perform them by executing given commands and rules and following sets of routine instructions.
AI approach is quite far from this, as its goal is to reproduce human behaviours, language, and thinking, processing even more complex tasks and adding value to them. Thanks to experience-based machine learning techniques, AI-powered systems can also learn over time and improve their performance by adding new patterns and outcomes.
How does AI match with ITSM? First-level automation could be deployed by enhancing existing processes with pre-programmed logic and flows. This means 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. This could contribute to a quicker and more efficient routing of help desk tickets and support requests.
Moreover, superior AI application could enable chatbots to analyse and correlate user issues, leveraging advanced recognition and classification capabilities. Based on the continuous learning of ticket data, AI could provide self-service solutions for recurring problems, or draw up knowledge articles to support IT professionals. ITSM tools could also take advantage of operational intelligence to assess the context of incidents better, provide insights about past incident data, and even perform predictive analysis.
There are many opportunities in injecting AI into ITSM platforms, and CIOs must better be prepared for this transition.
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