AI promises to be one of the most disruptive and innovative technologies during the next 10 years. Based on the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey, 14% of organizations employ AI and nearly 50% intend to do so in 2020. Face of the traditional service desk is changing with advent of AI.
According to Gartner, by 2020, 25% of customer service and support operations will integrate virtual customer assistant technology across engagement channels, up from less than 2% in 2015
Gartner uses the umbrella term “intelligent automation” to cover a variety of strategies and technologies. These range from rapid-automation technologies (i.e., robotic process automation [RPA] software or scripting) to artificial intelligence (AI) approaches such as deep learning, machine learning, natural-language processing, speech recognition and synthesis, machine vision and machine reasoning.
IT self-service has been a key feature in any service desk operations. Self-service has been around for a while in the form of basic searches to the knowledge base. But these days it’s becoming much more sophisticated. With chatbots and intelligent search recommendations users are able to arrive at the right solution. AI is expected to increasingly help IT support teams in predictive analytics for incident management.
AI could be leveraged for service desk operations in three key areas:
Chatbots, knowledge management, and incident/request auto routing. Basic chatbots use NLP [natural language processing] through a conversational platform.
Action could be to carry out a targeted search of the knowledge base or answering faq type queries. The capability is also extended to take further actions based on user inputs using RPA technology. The actions could be from simple password resets to creation of VMs in private or public cloud. The auto-resolution feature helps overall IT support function in removing the manual overhead associated with high-volume, low-value service desk activities.
Routing incident and request tickets to proper support group takes substantial amount of time of a help desk agent. AI is leveraged in auto-classifying, prioritizing and routing incidents or service requests to appropriate support groups.
Another new capability evolving in AI driven service desks is AI-assisted knowledge management. This includes an intelligent search function that doesn’t just rely on specific keywords but understands context and meaning. The further advance capability is to display results of only the portion of knowledge article relevant to the search and not the entire article.
AI can also deliver intelligent autoresponders that reply to end-user emails with the most likely solutions. The AI capabilities not only help the end users but support functions as well. It can suggest relevant action to be performed based on prior and current incidents, changes, problems, known errors. The self-healing is achieved through Incidents getting automatically resolved based on prior knowledge.
The support level responsibilities are evolving as well. Gartner depicts spectrum of support levels as follows:
Gartner april 2017
As we have seen earlier, AI is playing a key role in self-service, self-diagnostics and self-healing as well.
Gartner research shows that 75% of issues on average (service requests, common software issues, password resets, “how to” questions and outage notifications) have the potential to be resolved without requiring Level 1 or higher support (i.e., “Level 0 solvable”)
Thus, AI would help service desk operation to shift left as seen in the figure above. This shift helps in leveraging current support staff to do more complex operations at L3 levels by freeing them from performing low level, mundane tasks.
Summarizing, AI can assist in reducing overall costs, improving user experience, increasing agent productivity, helping forecast IT issues, identifying problems, managing changes better, and improving key metrics including resolution times and SLA compliance level.
We offer “ServiceRize” as a unique service consisting of creative combination of virtual and human agents. Besides the advantages given above, goal is to reduce overall service desk operations cost by 30-40% in the first year and 5-15% YoY leveraging technologies such as AI and RPA.
We can also analyse your service desk ticket data in identifying “automation candidates” and guide you in transforming your service desk operations.
Prashant heads global delivery of Vyom Labs consisting of various practice units such as BMC and ServiceRize. Prashant has illustrious career over thirty years in information technology and has served at senior executive levels with global companies such as: IBM, BMC, Veritas and Citibank. Prashant has built, scaled and managed various IT, professional services & product development/support organizations. His technical expertise is in IT infrastructure management, automation and managed services. He is passionate about business transformation using cognitive technologies such as AI and machine learning.