ITSM Trends - Role of AI & ML

The Paradigm Shift In ITSM

Written by on September 28, 2017

The world is changing, and so is IT support. IT has evolved from a traditional fire-fighting model to an employee-centric support system, thanks to the wide gamut of ITSM trends and innovations. The ever-changing behavior and expectations of today’s customers/employees demand businesses and solutions to deliver exceptional end user experience. Thanks to technological advancements like AI and ML, anything that is perceivable is possible. The question isn’t whether something can be done, but rather, whether it should be done.

Traditional IT systems used to be reactive and their primary goal was to ensure speedy service recovery. But today’s modern IT has taken a proactive, 360 degree approach in predicting infrastructure-related issues, being omnipresent, ensuring seamless business operations and ultimately providing better employee satisfaction.

Millennials and Gen Z are transforming the way businesses operate as we continuously evolve in the way we communicate and interact in our personal and professional lives. Having said that, let us discuss how these changing behaviours influence ITSM.

Connected workforce

Messaging apps and social networks redefine how we communicate at our workplace. Common examples include Skype for business, Workplace by Facebook, Whatsapp, and Slack that help employees share and keep up with various internal events and updates.

Messaging apps combine the three keys to powerful relationships in any digital environment: frequency of use, emotional connection, and convenience. – Forbes

Customer support has already seen footprints of this and now internal IT support is starting to embrace these ITSM trends. Therefore, it is a great challenge as well as an opportunity for IT to match these demands and deliver a consumer-like experience.

Gone are the days when ITSM tools were available only as form-based templates, handled by human agents. Today, we live in an era where IT support has become social, automated and it is essential for ITSM solutions to adopt these technologies.

So, what can businesses do now to match these expectations? Let us discuss some of the trending technologies that can help in boosting efficiency of service desk operations.

Leveraging ITSM trends to improve efficiency and experience

Forrester predicts that investment in AI will grow 300% in 2017. Self-driven cars and voice assistants are rapidly becoming commonplace and we are already seeing them in our day-to-day lives. When it comes to ITSM, AI and ML have started influencing service desk efficiency. Let us discuss some potential IT use cases powered by these ITSM trends.

Smart messaging through Chatbots

Chatbots supplement human agents in service desk environments to handle L1 and L2 tickets. According to industry data, 80% of service desk tickets are generally around password reset, system access, application configuration. Bots can help users resolve these saving their time and that of service desk agents.

With the advancements in ML, chatbots can be used to resolve novel issues based on learnings from previous issues they’ve encountered. Chatbots reduce time taken to resolve by performing an extensive search of the past ticket database and suggesting the right solution. They drastically improve engagement level with the end users as they are available at all times.

Chatbots can be considered the apps of voice interfaces. In the near future, we should expect enterprises to adopt to chatbot platforms in the same way they are currently embracing mobile and IoT platforms. – CIO Magazine

Self-service automation through voice assistant

Companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google have invested heavily in voice assistants that are revolutionizing the support world already. We are getting used to summoning the assistant even for trivial tasks. Virtual assistants solving complex problems in a jiffy are not that far away. Interactions extend not only to agents but end users as well. Here’s a quick example:

IT Agent – “Hey, I need to pull out a report on last month’s ticket data classified by region. Can you help me?”

Virtual agent – “Sure. Please check your inbox for the necessary data”

Virtual agents have made the job much easier than racking our brains or dealing with massive amounts of data.

“Voice recognition and response solutions are the most-widely used AI technologies, according to business executives, with 32% who said their organizations have already employed such solutions. Machine learning is the second-most widely used technology among enterprise organizations, at 24%, followed by virtual personal assistants, at 15%. (Source: eMarketer)”

More power to the knowledge base

A comprehensive knowledge base can help deflecting tickets leaving more time for the IT team to innovate. Improve your knowledge base further with the help of ML:

  • Optimising search functionality by increasing search accuracy and identifying the right article through previous search/usage history and pattern
  • Proactive smart suggestion of solution articles not just based on the keyword match but also through data-driven recommendations
  • Creation of new articles based on the information gathered from ticket details that have provided resolutions to end users

Sentiment analysis

Employee satisfaction has become one of the key metrics in measuring service desk success. Predicting end users’ sentiment at the time of raising tickets depending on the usage of words and previous CSAT survey results can help agents respond appropriately and increase CSAT ultimately. ITSM trends involving AI and ML play a role in this and be proactive in the approach.

Trending similar tickets

ML helps identify similar trending tickets in the service desk that helps agents gain quick context and provide faster resolution. This typically suggests a list of past similar issues that are relevant to the current issue raised by the end user. This helps in further investigation and can even eliminate future outages.

Connected devices

We live in a world of data and IoT will revolutionize enterprise automation and Big Data. Connected devices help organisations manage infrastructure efficiently with the help of data analysis. Effective configuration management is mandatory for smooth IT operations and IoT facilitates digital transformation of the organisation. According to International Data Corporation (IDC), worldwide spending on the Internet of Things (IoT) will reach nearly $1.3 trillion in 2019, from $698.6 billion in 2015

  • Proactive monitoring of devices using IoT sensors will reduce device downtime thereby reduction in number of incidents
  • IoT will improve discovery of configuration items through agentless mechanism. As devices are connected through IoT network, updates will be immediate and scheduling of scan is not really required
  • IoT network includes numerous interconnected devices. This will help in performing a detailed root cause analysis during problem management, identifying potential threats and major incidents.

In conclusion

ITSM is moving towards the next phase of automation and ITSM trends such as AI, ML, and voice assistants complement human agents, thereby increasing the overall efficiency.

According to Gartner, “By 2019, IT service desks utilizing machine learning enhanced technologies will free up to 30% of support capacity.”

I feel that these advancements will make a huge impact in the field of ITSM, and that we’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg. That said, we’re already seeing some major benefits of this shift:

Significant reduction of cost – Effective knowledge management deflects L1 and L2 tickets. This allows human agents to focus on more complex projects, thus saving time and resource.

Consistent end-user experience – Interaction with service desk can become consistent for end users with the help of chatbots and virtual agents which deliver seamless service.

Faster ticket resolution – These technologies enable agents with the right resources, sometimes handling tickets by themselves which result in reduction of resolution time.

Continuous availability and agility – Chatbots and virtual agents ensure 24/7 availability to step up anytime in place of human agents and answer queries.

Adopting these technologies within ITSM pose a huge opportunity for businesses to deliver exceptional end user experience. These technologies will complement human support in real-time to meet the high demands of customers and increase productivity. If you haven’t adopted this trend already, you might lose the big game! Review the current system, devise the right strategies and embrace these technologies to create a connected ITSM environment that works.

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