How IT Service Management Can Be Transformed With Intelligent Chatbots

In today’s digital landscape, organizations are facing increasing demands to do more with less, keeping expenditure at a minimum and efficient output at a maximum. In response, more and more enterprises are turning to artificial intelligence to bridge the gap. In fact, a recent report by Oracle revealed that 80% of brands either already use or plan to implement AI — specifically chatbot technology — to better serve customers by the year 2020.

But what about internal customers? Couldn’t they, too, benefit from chatbots? The fact is that the IT help desk has become an indispensable component of business success. With increasing pressures to cut costs and a growing demand to drive efficiency, however, IT technicians and administrators often find themselves struggling to keep their heads above water. As a result, delays and bottlenecks impact end-user productivity, and IT talent is wasted.

I believe that intelligent chatbots have the potential to revolutionize the way the service desk is run, transforming inefficient, manual-laden workflows into a streamlined, self-driving operation.

What Are Chatbots?

Chatbots are essentially computer programs that are powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to facilitate automated, digital conversations with people. If you’ve ever used the online chat feature of a website, it’s highly likely that you were interacting with a bot – and chances are, your issue was resolved entirely without the need for any human intervention.

Intelligent chatbots are capable of understanding language, both written as well as spoken, and contextually interpreting that information to a significant degree in order to produce an appropriate response. In addition to pre-programmed data, intelligent bots also have the ability to extract data from various sources, such as wikis, best practices and user guides to help end users resolve issues quickly without having to open help desk tickets.

The Role Of Chatbots In IT Service Management (ITSM)

Some experts estimate that anywhere from 30% to 50% of all Level 1 help desk support functions are repetitive in nature (password resets, anyone?). Not only are these tasks time consuming and monotonous, but they are also quite costly from a human resource perspective.

Paying skilled IT personnel to perform laborious elemental work day in and day out isn’t just a waste of money. It’s a waste of talent. And when the work isn’t meaningful, the risk of employee turnover also goes up.

Meanwhile, from an end-user perspective, sending help desk tickets and waiting for responses impedes productivity. So, not only are IT agents bogged down by tedious requests, but the entire workforce can potentially be impacted.

A Better End-User Experience

Introducing chatbots into the IT service management process enables organizations to shift the regular and repetitive tasks and workflows away from human agents and toward AI-powered software. Intelligent bots are capable of answering simple user inquiries, troubleshooting issues and providing self-service remediation options. When an end user has a problem that they need IT’s assistance to solve, they can get their answer or resolution via a quick chat using a conversational electronic interface — just as customers do when using a live chat.

As a result, end users no longer have to wait for resolution. In fact, in many cases, employees can be empowered to use self-service options to resolve issues entirely on their own.

Cutting Costs

Simply requests like password resets are time-consuming and costly. Consider the time it takes for the end user to get locked out, open a ticket to the help desk and wait, as well as the time it takes the IT agent to manually process the request. Surely there are better ways for talented IT professionals to spend their time and energy.

Shifting simple but essential tasks like this from human to chatbot can save tremendously, both in time and in end-user productivity levels. And this is just one example. Take into account the aforementioned 30% to 50% of other repetitive Level 1 help desk functions, and you’ve got something you can really take to the bank.

Finally, though equally as important, introducing intelligent chatbots into the service desk system can take much of the pressure off of IT personnel. Enter artificial intelligence and machine learning, which, according to Gartner, Inc., will free up to 30% of support capacity for IT service desksby the year 2019. Rather than wasting time and energy on mundane, tiresome tasks, IT workers can use their creativity and cognitive abilities to perform work that interests and challenges them.

Getting Started With AI And Chatbots

If your organization decides to invest in chatbots, maximize your investment by looking for quick wins that solve specific ITSM issues, or tasks that can be automatically performed by a bot. These are typically relatively easy to automate but will produce a fast and measurable return on investment.

A good place to start is with a simple IT service desk chatbot that can create and assign tickets, escalate tickets to real agents, assist end users with questions and provide important updates on critical incident IT and security.

Intelligent bots can take that a step further. In my experience, here are a few good places to start:

• Ticket handling: Categorization, prioritization and assignment of tickets.

• Level 0 support: Leveraging artificial intelligence to provide 24/7, self-service support.

• AIOps: Use of advanced analytics technologies to proactively detect, diagnose and address problems.

• Decision support: Utilization of the predictive capabilities of machine learning algorithms to make better, more data-driven decisions.

Simply put, intelligent bots have the potential to supercharge the IT help desk, skyrocketing the productivity of both the support agents and the end users. This ultimately results in greater efficiency, lower operational costs, improved retention and the opportunity to innovate at a much faster rate. And in today’s digital age, this is what will separate the success stories from the failures.

This article was originally published in Forbes Technology Council. To see the original publication, click here.

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Have you fallen for these 3 common AI misconceptions?

Artificial intelligence has been around for decades, though it just recently became a hot topic in the business world. During this time, many individuals have confused AI with automation, sometimes going as far as using the two terms interchangeably. The reality is, while the general concept may be similar, the two are distinctly different. Furthermore, this confusion has led to a number of other myths and misconceptions. We’d like to clarify a few things, beginning with the difference between AI and automation.

IT process automation involves programming technology to perform routine, manual tasks based on a prescribed set of instructions. Artificial intelligence takes this concept several steps further by using intelligent machines which are capable of displaying human behavior, thought and decision processes. Where automation is essentially set in stone (unless manually modified), an AI machine increases its own intelligence and can adapt its actions automatically, based on information it receives.

From a business perspective, artificial intelligence has the power to help organizations make more informed decisions. It can extract valuable information from mountains of data, analyze and organize it in a logical manner and essentially close the gap between insight and action. Given its complexity, however, AI is still often viewed in a negative light. To change this, we’d like to dispel three of the most common misconceptions as follows.

Artificial intelligence is a distant dream.

Many people believe that AI is a technology that won’t be readily available and practically applied until many years into the future. The truth is, widespread adoption of AI, both in our professional and personal lives, is much closer to becoming a reality than you may think. In fact, given that so many organizations across all industries and around the world are already employing automation to some degree, the idea that AI could be worked into the mix isn’t all that far-fetched.

Artificial intelligence isn’t really going to make that much of an impact.

The idea that AI is somehow inapplicable in the business world stems largely from the technologies complexity. People tend to discount things they have difficulty understanding. The reality is that AI is not only practical for business use, but it’s incredibly beneficial. The machine learning component of AI means that computers will have the ability to learn without the need for programming. It also has the capability of mining and analyzing big data to extract valuable insights which can then be put into action to achieve better results. These are things every organization can benefit from.

Artificial intelligence is going to eliminate the need for human workers.

While it’s certainly true that AI will make human workers redundant to some degree (think routine, repetitive tasks like reporting and data entry), this technology will not fully replace humans. This is particularly true in certain fields that require high-touch interactions, like HR, health care and consulting.

Likewise, while intelligent automation will streamline and optimize operations for many organizations, it cannot and will not replace the need for the development and nurturing of customer relationships. AI can, however, leverage data to provide human workers with the insight they need to deliver better, more personalized service.

And because implementing and managing new technology will always require some degree of human input, new roles and responsibilities will naturally evolve, which means that for many, AI will present great opportunities.

Like it or not, AI isn’t going anywhere. In fact, 61% of businesses are already implementing artificial intelligence to some degree. By addressing and overcoming the biggest misconceptions about AI, companies can harness the power of intelligent automation to streamline operations and provide competitive advantage.

Want to see AI in action? Click here to request a demo. Or better yet, claim your free 30-day trial today!

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Reskilling Your IT Team for Digital Transformation

The number of job openings for data scientists is steadily on the rise, with IBM predicting a 93% growth rate in data science skills, followed by 56% predicted growth for machine learning skills. Without question, artificial intelligence experts, machine learning developers and data scientists are in high demand, and as that demand rises, the number of qualified candidates to fill open roles will dwindle.

In fact, according to the 2018 State of the CIO report, 36% of respondents cited difficulty filling roles for business intelligence and data analytics. AI roles also made the top 10. Rather than hiring new employees, many organizations are instead looking to reskill existing staff to prepare them for the roles needed to achieve digital transformation.

Let’s take a look at how some companies across various industries are preparing their existing personnel for the AI era of tomorrow.

Back to School

There is no shortage of formal training programs available at higher education institutions across the globe where those interested in gaining expertise in the way of AI, machine learning and data science can pursue their professional development. The most advanced training typically takes anywhere between a year to a year and a half to complete. It also requires basic programming skills and a solid understanding of programming. There are also a variety of online courses and programs to consider.

Forward thinking companies looking to transform their existing workforce can offer tuition reimbursement and flexible work schedules in order to encourage employees to go back to school. The promise of a newer, better role at a higher pay grade can also be great incentive.

Formal In-House Training

Another way organizations are getting existing employees prepared for digital transformation is to create in-house training centers. These will often include test environments in which trainees can experiment with AI and other disruptive technologies. As employees learn and skills are mastered, the training can then be extended to other teams and departments, including the C-suite.

For those companies that don’t have the capacity to create learning centers, availing themselves of vendor-provided training can be the next best thing. For instance, Ayehu offers a free Customer Success Program as well as free Webinars each month aimed at accelerated training of various AI and machine learning applications.

Peer-to-Peer, On-the-Job Training

As companies begin to build up a pipeline of skilled internal talent, they can then begin investing in peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities to further spread knowledge and education. For instance, a department might attend a starter course to familiarize themselves with the concepts of AI, machine learning, etc. and then transition to a mentoring strategy thereafter.

This approach begins by incrementally exposing employees to smaller areas where the use of disruptive technologies can have a large-scale impact. Once comfortable, they can then move toward improving workflows and tackling other, more complex projects – all under the supervision of experience mentors. Many business leaders utilizing this approach feel that it’s much more effective and that employees learn, absorb and build upon critical skills much faster than they would in a traditional classroom setting.

Keeping Pace with Change

The challenge of reskilling to facilitate digital transformation is that technology is evolving at an incredible rate. Keeping pace with the rate of innovation is the key to success. That means developing and fostering new skills on an ongoing basis.

To address this, some organizations invest in regular educational sessions and AI-related training held either ad hoc or at specified intervals. Access to routinely updated educational resources, like online tutorials, onsite training and industry/sector conferences is another option. The thing to remember is that, given the rapid rate of change, you simply cannot overeducate your employees.

With a staffing shortage that’s growing by the day, business leaders must compensate by reskilling existing employees. Otherwise, they risk losing ground in the race to digital transformation.

Give your team a solid foundation by investing in top-of-the-line, Next Generation Automation and Orchestration. Give it a try free for 30 days. What do you have to lose?

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5 Ways Intelligent Automation is Impacting the C-Suite

The enterprises of today are raising the competitive bar by leveraging various forms of artificial intelligence. From virtual assistants and chatbots to deep learning and intelligent automation, companies are transforming how they operate. Leveraging these advanced technologies successfully, however, requires that the C-suite plays a pivotal role in identifying opportunities, risks and challenges, in particular, what type of impact it will have on the people and processes currently in place.

A recent study by McKinsey which analyzed over 2,000 work activities across 800 different occupations. The study found that 30 percent of what 60 percent of occupations involve could easily be automated. In fact, 5 percent of occupations could be automated entirely. As a result, more and more businesses are experimenting with the various forms of AI technology available to do everything from improve efficiency and forecasting to assisting with key decision-making activities.

One of the biggest impacts intelligent automation has had on the C-suite is the increasing scope of responsibility. Today’s executives are no longer solely responsible for managing people. They’re now expected to manage a new workforce of people and intelligent machines operating in tandem. They must also come to the realization that AI and intelligent automation are no longer just IT initiatives, but something that should be approached from a company-wide perspective. It’s a whole new world.

Regardless of where an organization happens to be in its journey, here are a few ways that intelligent automation is already having an impact on the C-suite.

Shift in Mindset

As the partnerships between humans and machines continue to grow and evolve, the very definition of “business as usual” also continues to shift. Technology is being used to automate more and more functions, streamlining departments across the enterprise, including finance, HR and procurement. Executives must take on a new viewpoint of labor, proactively pursuing ways to augment their workforce with artificial intelligence.

Opportunities Weighed with Risks

Intelligent automation is facilitating exciting new, competitive opportunities. These opportunities, however, are not without risk. C-suite players must thoroughly weigh both in order to avoid the unexpected and mitigate potential damages. When considering the adoption of a new technology, leaders need to examine their overarching goals and gain an accurate understanding of the implications that technology could potentially have on the company, its customers and its shareholders.

The Age of Hyper-Agility

Most executives are already well aware of the need for agility in order to remain relevant and competitive. But in today’s climate, simple agility won’t cut it anymore. By utilizing AI and intelligent automation, organizations can achieve a greater degree of adaptability and gain even deeper, more meaningful insights into customer preferences and behaviors. This will enable more data-driven decisions.

Eyes Wide Open

One obstacle many business leaders face when implementing intelligent automation is a lack of in-depth knowledge about the process they are trying to automate. The keys to successful automation adoption is good planning and proper communication. Mapping out precisely what is to be automated, tracking the current status and initiating the next steps. It simply cannot be viewed statically, but rather with an eye that is constantly trained on change.

Careful with Assumptions

Some companies approach intelligent automation from the viewpoint of workforce reduction when, in reality, it’s more about workforce evolution. For instance, a leader might assume a reduction of 50% of his or her staff with the rollout of automation. But, who will build out the workflows? Who will oversee and quality assure the process? Who will run projects and initiatives that are spawned as a result of the automation? The goal of intelligent automation shouldn’t be replacing humans, but rather making them better at what they do.

Without question, AI and intelligent automation are revolutionizing how organizations compete. In order to be successful in this respect, however, those operating in the C-suite must step up to the plate and be willing to consider a much broader spectrum that extends far beyond technology alone.

Want to experience the power of intelligent automation for yourself? Launch your limited-time, free 30-day trial and take Ayehu for a test drive today!

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Managed Service Providers: Could this be hindering your growth?

Making the transition from basic IT support to a full-fledged Managed Service Provider isn’t necessarily easy. There will inevitably be a number of obstacles to overcome along the way. Thankfully, many have gone before and essentially paved the way for newer players to enter the field. Learning in advance what challenges you can expect and the best way to meet those challenges head on will help you avoid potential pitfalls that might otherwise become a barrier to growth. Let’s take a closer look at the three most common issues today’s MSPs struggle with.

Fear of Change

Let’s face it. Making a major change to your business model is scary. What if things don’t work out? Will you be able to recover? The reality is, however, that success requires a certain degree of risk. If your team is feeling particularly leery of making the shift to Managed Service Provider and/or pursuing aggressive growth initiatives, the key will be communication. Be open, honest and transparent. Acknowledge the uncertainty many of your staff members are experiencing and take the time to address those concerns and put them to rest.

Additionally, there may also be an underlying fear that switching to managed services will result in the loss of business. Chances are very good that this will, indeed happen, as not everyone is suited for an MSP level of support. Understand, however, that while you may very well end up saying goodbye to a small portion of your customers, over time you will gain others to replace them. It’s just part of the shift.

Lack of Differentiation

Without question, the Managed Service Provider field is highly saturated. The organizations that thrive are those that have found a way to stand out from the competition. This is especially critical for those just entering the marketplace. If potential clients can get the same service from an established player that they already know and trust, why would they take a chance on you? It’s up to you to convince them otherwise.

To do so, you must identify what new and better services your company can offer. For instance, if your prospects are seeking growth themselves, focus on services that help maximize efficiency and empower them to achieve those goals. If you’re unsure of what angle to take, tap into your sales team to find out what they’re hearing in the field. Or, better yet – ask your clients and prospects directly.

Underpricing

Finally, there is the challenge of how to appropriately price your services. In fact, making a switch from fixed price to a more profitable pricing model can be a difficult transition. This is often compounded by a mere lack of full understanding and a subsequent underestimation of the true value of the services you will now be providing.

At the end of the day, you want your customers to pay you what you’re worth. If you are undervaluing your services, chances are you are also underpricing yourself, which means you will not be able to achieve sustainable growth. Be honest and do your homework. Figure out what you are worth and what you will need to make in order to bring your business to the next level and then implement the necessary changes to make it happen.

Now that you’ve got a clearer picture of what may be standing in your way, it’s time to get to work turning things around. Here are a few helpful pointers, to overcome these common issues:

  • Evaluate your current business plan and strategy, as well as team member skills and abilities.
  • Utilize technology and tools, like intelligent automation, to make service delivery much more efficient.
  • Build technical credibility through key certifications and specializations.
  • Understand your pricing model to ensure that it properly supports your level of service.
  • Keep in close contact with customers to recognize and capitalize on trends and opportunities. 

Making the transition from basic IT support to full-fledged managed service provider may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, with a well thought out plan backed by a confident team and advanced technology, you will be well positioned to compete in today’s fast growing market.

Want to experience the power of intelligent automation backed by AI technology? For a limited time only, get a free 30 day trial of Ayehu by clicking here.

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Ayehu Announces Free 30-day Trial Availability of its Newly Enhanced Next Generation Intelligent IT Automation and Orchestration Platform

The Free Trial Version Featuring an Enhanced Workflow Designer and AI-Powered Automation Engine is Now Available for Download from the Ayehu Website

San Jose, CA –- October 16, 2018 Ayehu has enhanced its Next Generation Automation and Orchestration Platform powered by AI. This latest release is designed to deliver IT and security operations teams even greater productivity and ease of use. To give enterprise users the chance to experience the platform firsthand, Ayehu is offering a free 30-day trial.

Today’s enterprises are overwhelmed by a massive amount of system alerts, incidents, and user requests. This is further complicated by the IT and security skills shortage. The need for streamlined processes and fast, quantifiable results has never been greater.

Ayehu’s Next Generation Intelligent Automation Platform incorporates artificial intelligence to augment human ingenuity, in order to enable the creation of the next generation of intelligent applications. The platform delivers no-code, automated workflows that help enterprises save significant time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure.

The new version includes the following enhancements:

  • Productivity – For greater efficiency and results, the platform now features a full web-based GUI, includes power search capabilities, a library of over 500 pre-built activities and a codeless workflow designer. Out-of-the-box integration packs are also available, with advanced Rest API for rapid integrations with 3rd party applications
  • Scalability – Scaling to support a high volume of incidents and safe guard against a single-point-of-failure, the latest release features built-in automated load share, and the ability to run more workflows simultaneously
  • SaaS Ready – Ideal for hybrid deployments, the new version can run multiple instances on the same virtual machine, run different environments on the same station, and manage all environments from one place
  • Chat Bot Integration – Ayehu BOT platform is integrated with Slack, Microsoft Teams, IBM Watson, Microsoft Luis and other applications for the easy creation of a self-service interface

“Since we launched our intelligent automation platform, customers have realized that artificial intelligence combined with IT automation is a game changer,” said Brian Boeggeman, Chief Revenue Officer, Ayehu. “As we continue to make our solution even easier and more valuable, we are offering a free trial so that everyone can simply start automating today. IT professionals that experience it will immediately see a huge leap in productivity and efficiency.”

To experience Ayehu’s Next Generation IT Automation powered by AI, claim your free trial here. To learn more about the Ayehu Next Generation Automation and Orchestration Platform powered by AI, click here.

About Ayehu

Ayehu’s AI-powered automation and orchestration platform is a force multiplier for IT and security operations, helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure. Trusted by hundreds of major enterprises and leading technology solution and service partners, Ayehu supports thousands of automated processes across the globe. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com and the company blog.  Follow Ayehu on Twitter and LinkedIn.

How to Become an Intelligent Automation Leader in 4 Steps

Intelligent automation is rapidly transforming the global economy, delivering momentous gains to enterprises that adopt it at scale. One recent article by McKinsey revealed that some organizations have been able to automate 50 to 70 percent of their workflows, generating ROI that reaches into the triple-digits. In addition to cutting costs, intelligent automation can also deliver precision, speed and enhanced customer experience.

In order for organizations to enjoy the full value of intelligent automation, IT leaders must be willing to take a guiding role. Unfortunately, many IT executives find this challenging, whether due to the increased complexity of IT processes, lack of understanding and/or clarity, inconsistent or fragmented tools that hinder scaling, or the misconception that intelligent automation cannot be adopted without major re-engineering of existing processes.

How can these challenges be overcome? And how can IT leaders succeed in their automation initiatives? The answer to these questions lies in the following four key steps along the intelligent automation journey.

Step 1: Evaluate the high-level potential value

The first step in becoming an intelligent automation leader starts with the development of a clear business case. This involves assessing the potential high-level value of the company’s main IT activities. Some examples of what these areas of value might look like include:

Incident Response – A significant number of IT incidents are initiated through support desk requests. These typically result in tickets being created and assigned to Level 1 support agents. While these are the obvious candidates for automation, the portion of tickets that are escalated to specialized L2 and L3 agents are also ripe for the picking, thanks to the advanced technology behind intelligent automation. And since these activities are generally well-documented, categorizing and prioritizing them by automation potential should be relatively straightforward.

Planned Activities – In addition to the one-offs and unexpected support tickets that crop up, IT is also responsible for performing a number of planned activities on a regular basis. These activities typically include things like backups, upgrades and patching. They may also involve more complex security audits. The amount of time and resources required to perform these duties can collectively add up to around 20 percent of the IT budget. Calculating this figure can help determine the potential savings intelligent automation can deliver.

Introducing New Applications – From a business perspective, this activity is often viewed as the one that produces the most significant value. It can also account for an additional 20 to 40 percent of the time and resources put forth by IT. These activities are not exclusive of application development, either. They also include such tasks as testing and hosting. This places increasing demand on both the application team as well as the infrastructure group.

Step 2: Dig deeper to identify which specific use cases are best suited for intelligent automation.

Determining how to effectively implement intelligent automation requires a deep dive to uncover the root causes of issues. It may also involve the untangling of complex systems and the development of an accurate picture of how to leverage automation to extract the greatest value. In other words, the process is a complicated one and requires a certain degree of commitment. Let’s take the three potential use cases above as an example.

Incident Response

Automating IR begins with identifying which incidents are the best candidates, which can be challenging. The goal should always be digging deep enough to uncover the “why” of documented incidents. Without this information, efforts are futile. Text-mining can help by automatically reading ticket descriptions and extracting the necessary insights to sort them into three categories:

  • Automatable
  • Requires machine learning
  • Highly cognitive/manual

This analysis should leave you with a prioritized list of incidents to automate and the type of automation best suited for the job.

Planned Activities

Most enterprise-grade IT departments rely on industry-standard tools to manage their infrastructures. Unfortunately, due to factors such as advanced customization, adjustments due to mergers and specific user requirements, managing these systems often requires a significant amount of manual effort, diminishing the overall value.

For instance, despite the widespread adoption of infrastructure and application monitoring tools, support teams are often unable to respond effectively to the logs being generated, either because there are too many of them or because of the many reasons why they are being generated in the first place. As a result, IT leaders are often unclear on how to approach intelligent automation implementation.

In situations such as this, machine learning technology can be “trained’ to identify the reasons behind alerts and then either recommend or autonomously make better decisions on which action to take. This eliminates much of the complexity for the IT team.

Introducing New Applications

Many IT executives fall into the trap of focusing solely on the reduction of manual labor. As a result, they fail to see and achieve the full value potential of intelligent automation. Faster and more accurate delivery of applications requires the development and design of a new operating model, with an emphasis on DevOps and agile.

Reviewing this entire process to gain an understanding of how to make the most use of this new operating model can result in entirely new approaches to work. Intelligent automation can facilitate some of these new ways of working. For instance, automating the testing process will enable applications teams to iterate more quickly. Likewise, developing a self-service model for things like automated server provisioning allows the operations team to become more responsive. The list goes on.

Step 3: Execute your proof of concept

In order to demonstrate the true value and validate your case for intelligent automation, the next critical step is executing a proof of concept. A great place to start with this is incident management. Organizations that have successfully deployed intelligent automation for incident management have been able to achieve substantial cost savings in a relatively short period of time.

Thankfully, there are many different incidents that can quickly and easily be automated to support your proof of concept, including such tasks as password resets and employee onboarding. In its most basic form, a proof of concept requires the following:

  • Collaboration with subject matter experts to identify where automation can best be applied and understand all the steps and systems involved in a particular process or workflow.
  • Careful selection of an intelligent automation platform. Look specifically for products that can be integrated with existing systems and applications and offers pre-packaged, no-code options. (This will enable rapid adoption and time-to-value.)
  • Obtaining necessary IT and overall business approvals with regard to regulatory constraints, security guidelines and access limitations.
  • Ongoing testing and monitoring to capture results and document value

This phase is also an ideal time to consider building stronger internal intelligent automation capabilities; for example, developing a team to spearhead a future automation center of excellence (CoE). This team will ultimately become the foundation and engine that drives all IPA initiatives.

Step 4: Build intelligent automation capabilities to scale

Achieving the full benefits of intelligent automation requires the development and nurturing of certain skills and capabilities, in addition to rolling out an entirely new company-wide culture. This is essential as successful adoption of IPA requires that automation become embedded into the very heart of the organization itself. There are plenty of ways to accomplish this, but generally speaking, companies that have been successful have done the following three things:

Build on success to expand into new areas of IT (and beyond).

Once the basic tasks and workflows have been automated, it’s time to move on to more advanced level-2 and level-3 activities. The IT team should be expanding beyond incidents to begin leveraging the AI and machine learning technologies to assist with things like analytics and decision support. The goal is to eventually roll out intelligent automation to as many routine and complex processes as possible.

Spread the word.

With a strong foundation of capabilities and experience, IT leaders can begin to position themselves as subject matter experts for the rest of the organization. This process involves continued outreach, such as connecting with other leaders across the enterprise to advise them of the specific benefits IPA can have for them. This outreach also provides the opportunity to identify additional areas where automation might be beneficial.

Explore the advanced elements of intelligent automation.

While the majority of organizations have thus far only focused primarily on simple process automation, the future belongs to those with an eye toward artificial intelligence and cognitive learning. These solutions are already making an impact on companies with forward-thinking leaders. The best way to break into this arena is to start working on small AI initiatives. From there, just like basic automation, you can continue to build, expand and grow.

Intelligent automation is maturing rapidly and quickly becoming a core component of the IT landscape. IT professionals who recognize the importance and understand how to develop their automation capabilities have the potential to become respected leaders in the process – a title that will serve them well throughout their careers.

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Have you fallen for these AI myths?

artificial intelligence AI mythsArtificial intelligence has been around for decades, though it just recently became a hot topic in the business world. During this time, many individuals have confused AI with automation, sometimes going as far as using the two terms interchangeably. The reality is, while the general concept may be similar, the two are distinctly different. Furthermore, this confusion has led to a number of other myths and misconceptions. We’d like to clarify a few things, beginning with the difference between AI and automation.

Intelligent automation involves programming technology to perform routine, manual tasks based on a prescribed set of instructions. Artificial intelligence takes this concept several steps further by using intelligent machines which are capable of displaying human behavior, thought and decision processes. Where automation is essentially set in stone (unless manually modified), an AI machine increases its own intelligence and can adapt its actions automatically, based on information it receives.

From a business perspective, artificial intelligence has the power to help organizations make more informed decisions. It can extract valuable information from mountains of data, analyze and organize it in a logical manner and essentially close the gap between insight and action. Given its complexity, however, AI is still often viewed in a negative light. To change this, we’d like to dispel three of the most common misconceptions as follows.

Artificial intelligence is a distant dream.

Many people believe that AI is a technology that won’t be readily available and practically applied until many years into the future. The truth is, widespread adoption of AI, both in our professional and personal lives, is much closer to becoming a reality than you may think. In fact, given that so many organizations across all industries and around the world are already employing automation to some degree, the idea that AI could be worked into the mix isn’t all that far-fetched.

Artificial intelligence isn’t really going to make that much of an impact.

The idea that AI is somehow inapplicable in the business world stems largely from the technologies complexity. People tend to discount things they have difficulty understanding. The reality is that AI is not only practical for business use, but it’s incredibly beneficial. The machine learning component of AI means that computers will have the ability to learn without the need for programming. It also has the capability of mining and analyzing big data to extract valuable insights which can then be put into action to achieve better results. These are things every organization can benefit from.

Artificial intelligence is going to eliminate the need for human workers.

While it’s certainly true that AI will make human workers redundant to some degree (think routine, repetitive tasks like reporting and data entry), this technology will not fully replace humans. This is particularly true in certain fields that require high-touch interactions, like HR, health care and consulting.

Likewise, while intelligent automation will streamline and optimize operations for many organizations, it cannot and will not replace the need for the development and nurturing of customer relationships. AI can, however, leverage data to provide human workers with the insight they need to deliver better, more personalized service.

And because implementing and managing new technology will always require some degree of human input, new roles and responsibilities will naturally evolve, which means that for many, AI will present great opportunities.

Like it or not, AI isn’t going anywhere. In fact, according to IDC research, worldwide spending on artificial intelligence is expected to reach $19.1 billion this year – an increase of more than 54% over last year. By addressing and overcoming the biggest misconceptions about AI, companies can harness the power of intelligent automation to streamline operations and provide competitive advantage.

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Adopting Intelligent Automation: Managing Resistance to Change

Intelligent automation offers a variety of benefits to organizations, including improved efficiency, enhanced productivity, greater accuracy and output and an overall cost savings. For companies that have yet to employ this technology, however, the biggest hurdle to overcome in doing so is often resistance from employees. For some, this contention comes from fear of becoming obsolete, while others simply don’t like change. Whatever the reason, having the right strategy in place can help make adopting automation a smooth, painless and positive experience for everyone.

Change Management is About People

On the surface, managing change while implementing a technological advancement such as intelligent automation may seem to be all about the systems and processes being automated. In reality, however, change management is about understanding the fears, needs and desires of your company’s most valuable asset: your people. By addressing the human side of change, you can overcome the roadblocks and obstacles in your way and effectively change the outlook of even the strongest opposition.

Generally speaking, people tend to fall into 3 distinct
categories when it comes to adopting something new:

  • Those who vehemently oppose the proposed change
  • Those who are tentative about change
  • Those who are change champions

When planning your intelligent automation project, your strategy should incorporate the appropriate actions to address those individuals who fall into the first two categories. The ultimate goal is to change how your employees view the new technology being rolled out so that the process becomes a positive initiative that is driven forward by support rather than bogged down by resistance. That said, here are some proven best practices for effectively managing change in the workplace.

Conduct a readiness assessment. This can be done a number of ways, from holding focus groups to conducting a survey amongst all users. The purpose of a needs assessment is to identify the risks, benefits and potential obstacles that you may encounter when rolling out your intelligent automation initiative. It can also be helpful in determining areas of greatest resistance as well as the reasons behind the contention. Remember the old adage, you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken.

Sell the benefits. People aren’t going to jump on your intelligent automation bandwagon unless and until you’ve convinced them that it’s worth their while. They want to know what’s in it for them. Address this by identifying, documenting, communicating and reiterating the specific benefits that adopting automation will have for each individual and team.

Make communication a priority. One of the biggest reasons people resist change is because they don’t understand what is being done or why it’s happening. This lack of knowledge naturally breeds fear, which can derail your intelligent automation initiative. To avoid this, keep the lines of communication open and make sure everyone knows not just what the big picture is, but also their important role in contributing to that big picture goal.

Lead by example. Leadership at every level and in every department should be on-board with adoption of intelligent automation. Excitement and positivity can be very powerful tools in effecting change across an organization. Make sure you have complete buy-in from all executives prior to launch and that they understand the importance of solidarity across the board.

Identify and leverage change champions. These are the individuals who are most excited about the adoption of intelligent automation and the many benefits it will provide. By identifying these key employees, you can begin to leverage them to influence their peers who may be feeling a bit less enthusiastic about the proposed change. These individuals can help bridge the gap between front-line employees and management and become a voice for those directly impacted by change.

Intelligent automation can dramatically improve your organization’s overall performance, but rolling out such an initiative can rarely be achieved without some type of resistance. By taking a proactive approach and developing and implementing an effective change management strategy, the experience will be much more positive for everyone involved.

Nervous about how your intelligent automation project will be received by your employees? Ayehu is designed for fast and seamless implementation, so you can focus your efforts on what’s most important: investing in the happiness of your employees. Experience it for yourself by clicking here.

 

 

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5 Ways the Service Desk can Use Chatbots

Pull up any IT related website and you’ll undoubtedly see dozens of headlines dedicated to artificial intelligence, machine learning and chatbots. Some of what’s being published relates to the threat of job replacement. And while that’s certainly true to some degree, AI isn’t something to fear – even for those who work in IT support. To the contrary, the service desk is ripe with opportunity to leverage chatbots to benefit both the end user as well as the support team. Let’s take a look at a few ways this technology can be used in tandem with the service desk.

Human Resource Optimization

Whether it’s resource planning or the redirection of work away from the service desk, AI can be used to make smarter use out of service desk personnel. For instance, machine learning algorithms are capable of analyzing patterns to predict future workload and plan staffing needs accordingly. Routine IT support tasks, such as password resets and remote restarts, can be shifted to chatbots, essentially supplementing (not replacing) help desk workers.

Improved Decision-Making

Decision support is another powerful way AI technology can aid the help desk. From low level automation of workflows to the prediction of future trends in the IT service realm, such as the demand for new or different IT services, the sky is really the limit with how this can be applied. Predictive analytics can even be used to forecast future customer satisfaction levels based on the impact of various factors that occurred in the past.

Self-Service IT Support

There are many different use cases, including intelligent search, through which machine learning algorithms apply meaning and context and draw from previous search successes to deliver more accurate search results. Intelligent autoresponders can provide automated resolution to service tickets without the need for human intervention. And, of course, the use of chatbots to provide a more engaging IT support interface using artificial intelligence and automated solutions. This not only takes much of the heat off of busy IT professionals, but it also empowers end-users and boosts productivity.

Proactive Service Improvement

In addition to identifying and addressing common IT problems that are occurring presently, predictive analytics can also be utilized to project possible high-impact issues that may occur in the future but have not yet been realized. This enables IT support staff to take proactive measures in reducing the risks of those possible future issues, often stopping them before they occur. And thanks to the technology’s advanced learning capabilities, it can improve on its own, getting better over time.

Improved Customer Experience

Each of the four points above contribute to a better customer – or in this case, end-user – experience. From better solutions to faster, more efficient support to self-service options (including chatbots and autoresponders) to proactive problem resolution and more. AI will undoubtedly continue to play a critical role in IT support’s customer experience journey, improving as time goes on.

These are, of course, just a handful of the many ways the service desk can leverage AI technology. There will be many other opportunities to use chatbots in the not-so-distant future. The most important thing to note is that artificial intelligence technology is already here and those in IT support that are currently using it will remain a step ahead of the competition.

Don’t get left behind. Schedule a free product demo of Ayehu today and learn how you can leverage chatbots to bring your service desk to the next level!

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