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: