Here’s Why 2019 Will Be the Year of AI in ITSM
The next two years will be exciting for Service Management. We will see the realignment of existing practices as well as a new and strategic contribution from emerging technologies.
First, expect more experienced IT teams to reassess how we leverage best practices and frameworks including Service Management, DevOps, and Agile. With experience comes the understanding that these frameworks and best practices should only be implemented in the context of a strategy for IT and our business. These things are not the strategy itself and should be done in the right roles and in moderation and in the right balance.
Second, we will see Automation and AI accelerate dramatically in the contributions made to Service Management operations. Automation can offload our teams and enable us to focus our talented people on tasks that are more strategic, customer facing, or in advancing our innovation investments. These are key activities our people are uniquely qualified for. Similarly, AI has advanced dramatically in the past five years and can now further offload our teams and improve the customer experience. Intelligent assistants and Bots are now capable technologies when leveraged in the right roles. Automation has now made self-service, Request, and Knowledge experiences much more convenient and richer. But, with all of this advancement, it is important for Service Management teams to take some time to create the following three resources in 2019:
- IT strategy refresh and alignment with business strategy
- Service Management best practices roadmap
- Service Management technology roadmap
These tools can be short and simple but are important exercises for the Service Management team to undertake in 2019. These references then guide how we best leverage resources and technologies in 2019 and 2020. Then, decisions and investments are made in the context of the roadmap and not quickly and without thoughtful planning.
For example, with ITIL 4 releasing in early 2019 it can be an opportunity to improve and optimize ITSM ITIL process models, but the scope of this work should be defined in the Service Management Roadmap, including specific process improvements and timing. Likewise, we should evaluate the current state of ITSM operations and determine how the team can best leverage Automation and AI in 2019. This helps ensure we are deploying these exciting technologies in the right roles and at the right time. Experience has taught us (painfully at times) this should be done incrementally and with time for assessment and feedback. The deployment of Automation and AI in ITSM is no different.
Meeting the Challenge for Excellent Support
It’s no secret that IT teams are being asked to support more applications, make more strategic contributions, and improve customer satisfaction, all without a corresponding increase in budget or resources. Combine that with the increasing demand from employees and customers for better and faster (if not immediate) assistance with IT issues, and it becomes clear many Service Management teams will struggle to meet committed service levels. But this year promises help as proven AI-powered tools join the Service Management toolbox to deliver better support and services to employees while off-loading many routine tasks from IT teams.
What do you predict will be the biggest IT trend in 2019 and beyond?
Transforming the User Experience
One of the first entry points for AI will be handling frontline calls and requests from employees. Chatbots will let employees make requests or ask for help by just having a simple conversation. For example, an employee can just say “I need to reset my network password” or “I need VPN access,” and the bot will automatically log the request, kick off the appropriate workflows, including any required approvals, then provide an estimated resolution time.
Add in a knowledge base connection for “How to” answers or suggestions to common inquiries, it becomes clear how many routine tasks don’t need to be touched by a member of your team anymore. When you combine immediate responses, simple conversation interactions, and always-on help, more employees will have more satisfying engagements with IT. Throw in the absence of filling out forms for every interaction plus the automatic resolution of potential issues before an employee notices, and the picture only improves.
Helping ITSM Teams Work Better
Using chatbots to move self-service closer to the employee will offload routine work from IT teams but it doesn’t have to stop there. AI promises to further automate backend processes, as well as provide IT teams with recommendations to systems issues, sometimes anticipating issues before service disruptions become apparent to IT and the rest of the business. An AI-augmented Service Management solution promises to provide more insight, help identify resolution fixes and create the tasks to resolve the issue, as well as assignments to the appropriate analyst or technician.
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