If you’ve seen the movie I, Robot or the television show Westworld, chances are you have a healthy distrust of Artificial Intelligence. All joking aside, there is a stigma around AI because of the fear that it will replace humans in the workplace. When workers hear that there will be AI and machine learning (ML) deployed to help problem solve (for example, with the use of a chatbot), there is a natural distrust of these digital coworkers even as workloads grow and teams remain lean.
In the real world, AI advantages in ITSM can dramatically improve the experience of working at the IT service desk. In this post, we will cover the reasons to trust these “robot coworkers” and how AI with ITSM can be a recipe for service desk success.
The Relationship Between AI and ITSM
AI isn’t a new concept in the workplace. The goal of AI is to take the tasks where human intervention offers the least value and automate them while also creating pathways to quickly take in and analyze thousands, sometimes even millions, of data points.
In other words, think of AI as the secret sauce or hidden ingredient that powers things like automation in the greater recipe of ITSM and the service desk.
AI in ITSM can have a few different use cases, including:
- Classification and prioritization of a ticket to ensure that it is routed to the right person (automated workflows)
- Proactive identification and remediation of user issues
- Automated creation of knowledge responses using text analytics and smart data discovery on unstructured data
- Identification of knowledge experts and articles
- Knowledge access through a virtual agent
- Sentiment analysis
- Analysis of IT infrastructure and endpoints to locate potential issues before they occur (AIOps)
Perhaps the most common use case for next generation AI in ITSM is in the self-service sphere. Not only can AI be leveraged to improve user interactions through virtual portals like chatbots, but it can also be used for predictive article suggestions. For example, as you type into a self-service portal, predictive text will suggest articles, but taking it a step further, AI with automation will help ensure that the proper articles are presented based on which devices or software is relevant to the user.
It should be noted, AI advantages in ITSM should not be confused with the broader term of AITSM, which is defined by Gartner as “an initialism. It is a concept that refers to the application of context, advice, actions and interfaces of AI, automation and big data on ITSM tools and optimized practices to improve the overall effectiveness, efficiency and error reduction for I&O staff.”
What is the difference between a Chatbot, Virtual Agent, Machine Learning, and ITSM AI Anyway?
Did you read the previous section and think “well that’s nice, but those all sound like the same thing, and I STILL don’t trust AI.”
We’ve got you. Let’s break down the technologies mentioned above a little bit further to showcase the ways that AI is used in each element.
- Artificial Intelligence is the term for the general concept of machines acting in a way that simulates or mimics human intelligence.
- Machine Learning is an element of AI that works by feeding large amounts of data into a computer/software so that it can detect patterns and learn from behaviors, effectively creating predictions based on those patterns and learned behaviors.
- Chatbot is short for “chatterbot” and is a form of automation that answers pre-defined questions with a pre-determined script of information. TechTarget defines a chatbot as: “programming that simulates the conversation or "chatter" of a human being through text or voice interactions.”
- Virtual Agent is what you’d call an advanced chatbot. Sometimes called an AI virtual assistant, this is described by Chatbots.org as, "... a computer generated, animated, artificial intelligence virtual character that serves as an online customer service representative. It leads an intelligent conversation with users, responds to their questions and performs adequate non-verbal behavior.”
As you can see, each of these elements is powered by AI, if not directly called AI. In other words, you wouldn’t have these functions without some element of AI already at play.
Should human agents worry that AI will replace them at work?
Short answer: No! Human agents have nothing to fear when it comes to AI replacing them at work because AI will ultimately function as a service to augment the human experience and free up humans to handle the most important functions and tasks.
The longer answer: AI is only as good as the data being input and the intelligent analysis and actions that can only be completed by people. For example, think about AI that is being used to analyze service desk tickets in order to make a connection between incidents to link them to greater problems. Not only are humans necessary to resolve the incidents in those tickets, but humans are necessary to input the information about the incident correctly. Then, once an analysis is complete and data points have been scanned to connect these incidents together, a human is needed to verify whether the connection is credible. One error in data could make the analysis moot, and although human error can occur as well, people are the necessary fail-safe.
Furthermore, although AI is touted as a major cost optimization enabler, that does not necessarily mean reducing costs by firing people due to extra AI. Instead it means that productivity can be improved and the people employed can have higher levels of satisfaction.
Get Started with AI in ITSM
Understanding where human action offers the most value is the first step before implementing new AI technologies and techniques. Once you’ve mapped out the best areas for automation and AI to be implemented, you can begin to consider the capabilities of your current ITSM tool. To learn how EasyVista can help, get a demo today.