Cognitive Computing Comes to the Help Desk

By: Larry Loeb| - Leave a comment

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In many organizations, support for IT problems can be somewhat haphazard. The result of a user request often depends on the IT worker responding to it, who needs to ask the correct series of questions to get the answers they need. This may not be a straightforward process, however; what workers think they need to know may not actually be correct. A breakdown in support functions may even lead to the rise of shadow IT, as workers become frustrated and revert to using the tools they understand instead of those approved by the organization.

Creating the Cognitive Help Desk

Luckily, cognitive computing is now making an appearance at the corporate help desk. In April of this year, IBM announced the new program Workplace Support Services With Watson. Designed to work with a myriad of hardware devices and locations, this program can resolve IT issues faster than manual methods by seamlessly integrating with other help desk automation functions that already exist. It also provides a truly mobile solution that adapts to any device it encounters.

The need to support a geographically dispersed mobile workforce with a multitude of devices has never been greater. Manual methods must modify any existing help desk rules in order to be aware of a particular situation that might not be directly reported by the questioner. Watson can understand who is asking the question, their organizational role and clearances and the device they’re asking it on.

Additionally, Watson understands input beyond text questions. It picks up other nonverbal information from the user, such as clicks, time spent and task completion, to receive feedback on the accuracy and quality of information that it has provided. Watson is also sensitive to natural language to ensure any nuances in the language used are accounted for and reflected in the solutions proposed.

Watson’s Diverse Offerings

Watson can also perform the kinds of support that have come to be associated with the help desk, like adding additional storage to an email account, unlocking a password or ordering a new phone. It is flexible enough to perform varied actions directly, rather than simply recommending that they be done.

Having the Watson tool available in expanded areas like the help desk broadens horizons for users to gain better information for their tasks, as well as better solutions. The full potential of a help desk can be unlocked by the availability of Watson to all users, no matter how they communicate.

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