AI Is Coming to ITSM – Are You Ready?
AI is already in use all around us: scheduling assistants to book your appointments, voice assistants to answer your queries, face detection when you upload your photos on Facebook. Hey, Dominoes are now trialing self-driving cars to deliver their pizzas, did you see that?
The point I’m making here is that AI is no longer the pipedream of tech enthusiasts that it once was. It’s here, it’s real, and it’s making its way into the ITSM industry.
This is incredible news because AI has the power to help us reduce costs, resolve IT tickets faster, provide a better customer experience, and of course, the one we all like to hear, prevent incidents from even occurring in the first place.
The question for those working in the world of ITSM now is: are you ready for AI?
HOW TO PREPARE FOR THE ARRIVAL OF AI IN ITSM
AI technology isn’t just something you can switch on, sit back and watch the results come in. You’ve got to work hard to make it work for you and this is where many organizations are already on the backfoot.
At Mint Service Desk we understand that there are multiple ways for an organization to prepare itself for the arrival of AI in ITSM, so, we thought we’d go over a few of the top ones to help get you started.
In Gartner’s ‘Predicts 2018: IT Operations’ paper they stated that ‘through 2020, 90% of AI initiatives in ITSM will fail due to the lack of an established knowledge management foundation.
Even at the most basic level of AI use, we can see why knowledge management holds an important role. Let’s take a look at a use case of AI in ITSM: the chatbot.
Your end user needs assistance from IT so they jump onto your self-service portal to find help. They engage with a chatbot which can easily answer their query. It does this by looking into your knowledge management system, finding the relevant document, and presenting it to your customer.
Now imagine this scenario in an organization that does not have an efficient knowledge management process in place. The chatbot may not be able to return a result, or it might even provide an outdated document which not only doesn’t resolve your customer’s query but it also delays them from getting the support they need.
One day AI will be used to rapidly search through all available knowledge bases out there to get the answer it needs in an instant. It will even be able to write a knowledge document answering the query for your organization’s own knowledge base and it will do it faster than any human ever could. But, until that day, your organization will need its people to be involved in building a solid knowledge foundation if AI is going to provide the results you expect.
Data is especially important for machine learning because it needs large data sets in order to learn. However, problems arise when you have bad data—inaccurate, incomplete, biased—these make life far more difficult for your AI and hampers machine learning abilities.
In ITSM it’s a good idea to look at the data you collect via your IT service desk and, if it’s inaccurate or incomplete in any way, look at how you can remedy this situation.
Implementing a data management process will help you to keep your data clean which is fundamental to the success of AI.
Good, clean data will enable your AI to learn efficiently and provide the intelligent answers that you expect.
In ITSM one of the major changes that AI will bring will be to the role of the IT service desk agent.
First-line support agents currently spend a lot of their day on repetitive tasks such as ticket management, resolving basic IT queries, assigning assets to end users, and answering the same questions time and time again. AI can take all of these routine tasks away freeing your agents up to deal with more complex incidents, maybe writing knowledge documentation, certainly any activities that can actually add value to the organization and increase productivity.
Whatever activities AI takes over, and whatever tasks your IT service desk agents will turn their hands to instead, this will all start at self-service which means that creating a self-service environment is going to be an absolute necessity.
If your organization is not already utilizing its self-service capabilities as well as it should be, then this is a great place to start.
Make self-service the norm now so as that you’re not battling with too many changes in one go which could easily overwhelm your people.
ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Speaking of change … it’s fair to say that bringing AI into ITSM is going to cause some major changes to the industry and how we work. It’s also fair to say that often, people resist change because they fear the unknown.
Organizational change management is a methodology designed to help people within an organization adjust to large changes.
AI is already known to cause fear amongst some people as they believe their jobs are at risk, in ITSM this could be particularly true for your IT service desk agents who see their tasks being automated or handled by chatbots.
Before you introduce AI into your ITSM activities get your people together and show them the benefits of AI, in particular, show them how it will benefit them in their role.
IT service desk agents can say goodbye to routine admin tasks and can instead focus on dealing with more complex queries.
Problem managers can get excited by the prospect of AI finding and fixing problems before they impact end users.
Change managers can revel in the idea of reducing risks when implementing changes as machines predict the outcome of the change before it goes live.
ITSM roles are going to change so it’s important to be upfront with your staff about your organization’s ambitions and why AI will help.
Explore organizational change management and involve your people with the introduction of AI to prevent resistance.
Getting ahead of the game now will put you ahead of your competition and ensure that your organization is ready for AI.
The digital transformation is changing how we work and we need to be prepared for what’s coming if our organizations are to survive.
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