Break IT down: IT service management

By: Darius Koohmarey

The hope for artificial intelligence in IT service management (ITSM) is to augment the productivity and value of existing resources and improve people’s service experiences.

Here’s my take on where we are today and a first look at some of the topics I’ll be covering at the IBM Think conference in my session Intelligent ITSM — Powered by IBM Watson and ServiceNow (Session ID 1927A).

What’s the latest buzz in IT service management?

It’s still all about machine learning, virtual agents and discovery. On the support side, AI should first be implemented as supervised machine learning, using historical data to aid in the classification and routing of ITSM tickets.

Machine learning technology can also recommend relevant pieces of information to help technicians resolve issues faster. Virtual agents powered by natural language then augment technicians’ capacity by deflecting common, low-complexity issues and freeing labor for higher-complexity, value-added activities. Speech-to-text technology can also gather data for ticket summaries from phone calls handled by support, while NLU extracted sentiment information can help prioritize unhappy customers.

Machine learning is also extremely efficient when it comes to identifying anomalies and — importantly — root causes through its ability to identify patterns in the immense seas of event data.

Why now?

The cost of cloud computation and the efficiency of algorithms have improved to a production-ready state. This stuff is now available at affordable prices, and as-a-service models reduce implementation complexity and time to value for ITSM customers.

We can seamlessly add intelligent services to our product sets — it’s like having an army of data scientists and industry experts at your fingertips.

Why am I paying attention?

Artificial intelligence is a win-win for service providers and their users. Providers get the contextual information they need to solve IT service management issues, automatically reducing the knowledge gap between a tier 1 and tier 3 technician. Not only will they solve issues faster, but virtual agents will field common, low-complexity questions so IT professionals can spend time on more complex issues rather than simple, repetitive tasks.

Meanwhile, customers get help faster — through virtual agents and in terms of time to resolution. Plus, machine learning reduces data input requirements. That makes life easier.

It’s kind of like…

Having your own R2D2 droid always ready and willing to help. It needs guidance from humans and may not always be perfect, but it’s a good custodian of people, processes and technology. It augments the existing efforts of humans around it, providing information, identifying issues and orchestrating fixes automatically.

I’m keeping an eye on…

The opportunities AI will offer in terms of emotional intelligence and human insights — such as tone analysis and sentiment and personality insights. That will only improve ITSM experiences and make interactions more personalized.

It’s an interesting paradox: The more we implement systems that can augment the human element, the more the same technology can also highlight insights that are core to our humanity.

Missed Chairman Ginni Rometty’s Think 2018 keynote or a session? Watch a replay.

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About The Author

Darius Koohmarey

ITSM Intelligence product manager, ServiceNow

Self-published author and technology evangelist, Darius Koohmarey, emphasizes innovation, automation, and optimization on his quest to bring harmony to the triad of people, process, and technology. His current work involves bringing intelligent, AI-powered solutions into the IT service management (ITSM) domain to simultaneously improve each customer's experience IT professional efficiency. Darius enjoys exploring applications of... Read more