As the workplace becomes increasingly digital, enterprise IT departments are adding a new member to the team: AI technology.

Digital transformation has greatly enhanced enterprise productivity. Cloud solutions have replaced outdated, on-premises systems and bulky, physical assets are disappearing from desks. But the increasing number of digital users also produces mass amounts of service requests. Leading enterprises recognize the rising number of service requests as an opportunity to innovate and incorporate AI into their IT service management (ITSM) solution. Specifically, IT teams are implementing conversational AI, commonly configured as chatbots.

Chatbots receive plenty of hype, both in the world of ITSM and beyond. A recent study revealed that 80 percent of businesses want to have their own chatbots by 2022. And for ITSM, the same study stated that conversational AI is set to become the most important new platform for enterprise IT organizations by 2021.

Chatbots Offer Service Around the Clock

AI’s ability to predict and offer solutions makes chatbots powerful and valuable. With a simple, typed query, chatbots automatically recommend a solution to the user. With low-level service requests, the chatbot directs users to knowledge base articles with solutions. For mid-level requests, chatbots guide users through the request until it’s solved. Helping users solve problems on their own before requiring the help of a technician is the key to timely service and increased productivity — on both ends.

Chatbots relieve the service desk of these low-level issues, allowing technicians to focus on critical tasks. This significantly reduces maintenance overhead costs and improves existing IT infrastructure. The savings from chatbots alone are expected to reduce business costs by $8 billion by 2022.

Some critical IT problems will still require a technician’s expertise. In these situations, chatbots recognize the critical issue and create a request for technicians. As the technology improves and learns, it can predict when users are struggling with a high-level issue sooner and send the request to a technician faster.

Adding chatbots to existing ITSM offerings empowers users to ask for and receive service at all hours of the day. Stakeholders no longer wait for call center hours or for teams to respond to a service request or email. Instead, instant service offers a significant advantage for productivity — the sooner a user is offered a solution, the sooner they can go back to work.

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Learning Opportunities

Alleviate Fears of AI

AI-powered service desks are not an Orwellian concept. AI is already present in everyday activities, from smartphone applications to video games. In fact, most of the automation that users encounter is much simpler than what they have seen in smart cars and the movies. Tech giants like Salesforce and Amazon have even developed platforms that will make it easy for individuals to implement automation into their own use cases across industries.

Developers are on board with and confident in the benefits of AI — and 85 percent of IT professionals believe automation will make their teams more efficient. But for potential adopters and business stakeholders, the benefits of AI applications as outlined above can be overshadowed by an initial distrust of the technology. 

It’s one thing to understand the potential advantages, but it’s another to invest in them. To alleviate any fears of the unknown and encourage investment in the technology, vendors can apply a two-fold strategy:

  • Make AI relatable. Because of the buzz surrounding AI, vendors should communicate results rather than technology to potential adopters. Presenting AI’s game-changing capabilities with unsensational language makes the technology consumable and non-intimidating. It’s not necessary to dive into the technical, jargon-filled details of AI  — introducing it as a predictive tool is enough.
  • Aim to prove AI’s value, first. Approaching a customer and declaring that AI will predict when their application is going to fail is a bold statement. Before anything that critical can be presented, customers have to feel confident in the technology. Widespread adoption and confidence in AI is only possible when backed up by real examples where the technology has solved practical problems. Vendors must provide real-life case studies and data where predictive tools have created value, reduced maintenance overhead and improved IT infrastructure.

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Building a Predictive World

To provide better service, IT teams must move from a reactive world to a predictive world. Adding AI technology to the arsenal of productivity tools ensures that ITSM practices are keeping up with the digital workplace transformations already happening. With confidence in the technology and proven solutions, chatbots will enable service desks to keep up with innovation and continue offering high levels of service to their stakeholders. 

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