How AI Can Reduce Service Desk Ticket Costs from $20 to $4 [Webinar Recap]

Author: Guy Nadivi

It’s the End of the IT Service Desk as We Know it (and We Feel Fine)

If you’ve been paying attention the last few years, you know Digital Transformation is a concept that’s sweeping through many organizations, and fundamentally changing how they operate and deliver value to customers.

There’s some very cool, but still somewhat emerging technologies underpinning this disruption, and you’re no doubt familiar with them. Things such as:

  • Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Artificial Intelligence

But in the last couple years, the emerging technology that seems to have garnered the most mindshare faster than any of them is chatbots. That’s right! Chatbots are the coolest kids on the digital transformation block, because they assimilate many of the benefits from data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence into a form that can be used today, and deliver value to your organization and customers right now. As a result, chatbots have emerged as perhaps the most familiar digital transformation experience for end users.

BTW – There isn’t any consensus yet on a single definition of “Digital Transformation”. One thing just about everyone can agree upon though is that shifting more of the laborious, repetitive tasks that people shouldn’t be doing in the first place over to chatbots is a good idea. This becomes especially true when you look at some numbers.

A the 2017 HDI show, Jeff Rumburg, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of MetricNet, an IT research and  advisory practice, delivered a presentation on the results of his research into the costs of different service desk access and communication channels. He discovered some amazing disparities.

Jeff found that incidents requiring Vendor Support cost on average a whopping $599 per incident.

If you needed to get IT Support involved (that’s level 3 support), the average cost was $104 per incident.

Desktop Support (level 2) was cheaper, but still relatively expensive at $69 per incident.

Incidents going through the Service Desk, your level 1 support tier, cost $20 per incident. Since level 1 tickets comprise by far the highest volume at most service desks, that’s a logical place to start applying chatbots.

If you can push out incident resolution for level 1 tickets to your end users, enabling them to initiate and remediate their own incidents with chatbots, the cost of support drops down to a very economical $4 per incident. Yeah, wow!

At this point, some more skeptical people in IT might be asking – are chatbots a passing fad or are they here to stay? Let’s look at the objective data on that, and see what direction the numbers point to.

Earlier this year, Salesforce.com released a major report entitled the “State of Service”. Nearly a quarter of their respondents (23%) said they currently use AI chatbots and nearly another third (31%) said they plan to use them within 18 months.

That represents a projected growth rate of 136% in the use of AI chatbots over the next year and a half. By any definition, that’s a viral trajectory.

Spiceworks published a report not long called “AI Chatbots and Intelligent Assistants in the Workplace”.

One question their survey asked was about utilization of intelligent assistants and chatbots by department. Guess which department uses chatbots more than any other? That’s right – IT.

Another question in that Spiceworks survey specifically asked IT professionals if they agree or strongly agree with a number of different statements. The statement IT professionals overwhelmingly agreed with more than any other was that AI will automate mundane tasks and enable more time to focus on strategic IT initiatives.

Those IT professionals Spiceworks surveyed were right. One of the biggest benefits of chatbots is that they automate many of the robotic, laborious tasks that humans shouldn’t be doing anyway. That frees up those IT professionals to work on more strategic and far more valuable IT initiatives. Which in turn makes those professionals more valuable to their organizations.

Why is offloading that tedious work from IT staff so important? Because Gartner has shown that the biggest budget item for IT Service Desks is personnel. Between 2012 and 2016, the average percentage of a service desk’s budget allocated to labor ranged from 84% – 88%. With digital transformations driving up the demand for IT support, there’s simply no way an organization can hire their way out of this situation, even if they wanted to.

The reality is that quality service desk personnel simply cost too much, and no matter how good those personnel are, they can only keep up with so much volume. At some point the laws of physics reassert themselves, reminding everyone that people simply don’t scale very well. Chatbots though, have infinite scalability.

That limited human capacity to scale, combined with the increased volume of requests for service desk support, is degrading end user experiences.

A 2016 Harvard Business Review Webinar titled “How to Fix Customer Service” revealed that:

  • 81% of consumers say it takes too long to reach a support agent.
  • 43% of customers try to self-serve before calling a contact center.

What that tells you is that waiting for human support has gotten so insufferable, end users are increasingly willing to remediate their own issues. All they need is for IT to enable a channel for them to do that.

What kinds of requests are keeping IT service desks so busy?

Well if you’ve attended any of our previous webinars you might’ve heard us cite a well-quoted statistic from Gartner that as much as 40% of an IT service desk’s call volume is nothing but password resets. 40%!

Another big drain on your service desk? Requests for ticket status updates. Those can comprise as much as 10% of a service desk’s call volume, and we’re citing ourselves (Ayehu) as the source on that.

How do we know? Well, Ayehu knows because our clients tell us which workflows have the biggest impact on reducing call volume to their service desks.

Therefore, if you can use a chatbot to automate just these two processes – password resets and ticket status updates – you could cut call volume to your service desk in half! That’s huge, and it will go a long way towards reducing your service desk ticket costs dramatically.

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It’s the End of the IT Service Desk as We Know it (and We Feel Fine)

Ayehu and Rulai team up to turn chatbots into workbots, enabling the self-driving IT service desk

San Jose, CA and Campbell, CA — October 29, 2019 — Ayehu, a leader in intelligent automation, and Rulai today announced a partnership to deliver a self-driving IT issue resolution offering powered by AI. The Rulai integration goes beyond the limitations of traditional chatbot communication capabilities to deliver virtual service agents (VSAs) that complete IT service desk work.

“Let’s face it, people hate calling the service desk, experiencing long waits on IVR and sometimes waiting hours just to get a password reset,” said Gabby Nizri, CEO of Ayehu. “Ayehu and Rulai are disrupting the entire way the IT service desk works in enterprises today. Using the integrated solution, we eliminate the need for employees to call and wait for IT to solve their problems. Our chatbot VSA will perform these tasks, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction.”

IT service desk operation is extremely resource-intensive, with as much as 85% of the cost being labor according to some studies. Most of this work involves menial, repetitive tasks, that could easily be automated. This has led to the rise of chatbots, which can reduce the amount of human interaction considerably.

However, chatbots are often limited to basic interactions such as pointing the user to non-actionable static information pages, or at best, creating a well-formatted request that is then sent to a human operator for execution. Most chatbots use rule-based decision trees, have poor natural language understanding and limited ability to manage an ongoing dialog or execute a task. As a result, they are easily confused, and customers can become frustrated.

To address both limitations, Ayehu and Rulai have joined forces to create a solution that actually does the work.

Combining Rulai’s Level 3 Conversational Computing Platform with Ayehu’s intelligent automation engine, companies can turn chatbots into a Virtual Service Agent (VSA) – a workbot that has the ability to not only receive and communicate requests but complete and resolve them as well.  

Rulai’s platform allows companies to build AI-based conversational chatbots that can manage non-linear dialogue, and that require no code to develop or deploy. Ayehu provides an intelligent automation engine that receives user intent from Rulai, and acts on it. No code is required to build workflows that integrate with the widest range of applications, changing the IT service desk experience for the end-users.

“Improving employee experience has become one of the top goals for CIOs,” said Marc Vanlerberghe, CEO of Rulai. “We live in an instant gratification economy. Like never before, employees demand fast, frictionless engagement with companies. The combination of our Level 3 Conversational Computing Platform and Ayehu’s intelligent automation platform creates a delightful and frictionless IT experience, available 24/7, 365 days a year, vastly improving the employee experience.”

By running the service desk autonomously customers can achieve as much as a 35% cost reduction, while reducing MTTR by 98% which makes the end user satisfaction higher than ever.

Ayehu’s Rulai integration is available immediately. Please contact sdr@ayehu.com.

For more information, register for the upcoming automation webinar on November 13th: 

Rulai and Ayehu Present: How to Create a Self-Driving IT Service Desk. Register here:

https://info.ayehu.com/how-ai-can-reduce-service-desk-ticket-costs-from-20-to-4

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.

About Rulai

Rulai is a new Enterprise Conversational Computing Platform provider. Rooted in academia, the founding team has a combined 200 years of experience in AI research, published over 400 research papers and filed over 80 patents in advanced AI-based dialog management. It is the only SaaS platform in the market capable of supporting business teams in building Level 3 Virtual Assistants .

Enterprises in banking, insurance, retail, telco, and life sciences increasingly rely on human-centered automation to augment the work of customer service agents, as well as increase customer self service capabilities across sales and support. Rulai’s easy-to-use platform allows business users to create and evolve virtual assistants with support from IT. Rulai has been recognized by Gartner, Forrester, and Bloomberg, and was named to the Forbes 2019 AI 50 list.

Helping the IT Help Desk – What you Need to Know about Virtual Support Agents

What you Need to Know about Virtual Support Agents

This post was originally published as a guest article on InsideBIGDATA.

IT help desks everywhere are handling a growing number of requests from multiple channels every day. And the more time the service desk spends putting out fires by phone, through email, or in person, the less time they have to focus on resolving the bigger issues and applying their cognitive skills to more meaningful projects.

Are chatbots or virtual support agents the answer? The success of virtual support depends on several key factors. Here’s how to identify those factors and evaluate whether or not VSAs are right for your organization.

Chatbot vs. VSA

The first important piece of the puzzle is understanding the difference between chatbot and virtual support agent technology. While the concept is similar, there is a distinct and critical difference, particularly as it relates to use in the help desk arena. This difference can be summed up in one word: context.

If you’ve ever visited a website and used the “live chat” feature to ask a question, chances are the party you interacted with was a chatbot. And chances are even greater that the responses you received were basic and scripted based on a set of common inquiries. Simply put, chatbots are one-dimensional. They cannot engage beyond the basic communication that they’ve been programmed for.

Virtual support agents, on the other hand, when set up properly, have far greater functionality and flexibility than chatbots. Thanks to underlying technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and natural language processing, VSAs are capable of understanding the meaning and intent behind human communication, even if it’s vague or ambiguous.

In other words, VSAs can understand context. As such, they are able to hold realistic conversations, generate authentic dialogue and provide intelligent responses based not only on the data they’ve received (like chatbots), but also on the context of that data.

VSAs and the Help Desk

As mentioned, help desk agents field a mind-boggling volume of incoming requests, the majority of which are routine and repetitive in nature, but important nonetheless. For instance, password resets are a necessary evil in the IT support realm as they are required in order to keep others in the organization productive.

Yet, the process of manually resetting user passwords is not only a tremendous waste of human resources, but it’s also a massive waste of money. In fact, Forrester Research estimates that the average cost of a single password reset is $70. Multiply that cost by the number of times your support team executes this task and it really adds up.

That’s where virtual support technology comes in. VSAs enable the help desk to automate almost all routine, repetitive and manual tasks. Beyond this, however, is where the true value of virtual support becomes evident. In addition to automating the basics, the technology behind VSAs enables them to work alongside human agents, providing the same level of support and assistance.

How it works is remarkably simple. The virtual agent pulls data from various knowledge management resources to respond intelligently to incoming requests. Virtual agents are also capable of taking action on behalf of the end-user without the need for human intervention. This means fewer escalations and a more manageable workload so human support agents can focus their skills on more meaningful business initiatives.

The Key to Success

Of course, as with any technology, virtual support agents do require work in order to set them up properly. For instance, AI and NLP technologies are essential components to VSA functionality. The most fundamental key to success, however, is the establishment and maintenance of a comprehensive, dynamic knowledge-base. After all, this is the resource from which the VSA will draw its responses. Without in-depth and accurate data, virtual agents will not be capable of operating to their fullest potential.

Gartner predicts that by 2023, 40% of I&O teams will be using AI-augmented automation, resulting in higher productivity with greater agility and scalability. Given the current benefits, coupled with the promise of improving technology, it’s not a stretch to see that VSAs will continue to play an increasing role in making the help desk experience better for everyone.

Click here to view the original post on InsideBIGDATA.

Hybrid AI in the Future of Work

 Hybrid AI in the Future of Work - ITOps Guest Post
This article was originally posted on ITOps Times

Due to ongoing improvements in artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, we are on the cusp of an entirely new era in automation. Not only are software robots adept at performing routine, repetitive tasks on behalf of humans, but they are now capable of carrying out activities that rely on cognitive abilities, such as those requiring the use of judgment and emotion. One only needs to look at the cars we drive to recognize just how far automation technology has come.

Does this mean that there will be no place for humans in the future? The answer – at least for the foreseeable future – is a resounding no. That’s because, despite the growing list of benefits, there are also a number of drawbacks to having a system that is entirely autonomous. That’s where hybrid AI comes into play.

The concept behind hybrid AI is remarkably simple, even if the actual technologies and strategies driving it are incredibly complex. In basic terms, a hybrid model integrates humans throughout the automation process, but uses advanced technologies like deep learning and natural language processing to make automation systems even smarter.

AI needs humans
Beyond the hype, the truth is that artificial intelligence technology is simply not yet ready to replace humans – particularly when it comes to mission-critical applications. Take, for example, Tesla’s autopilot feature. While the vehicle itself is equipped with the capability to drive on its own, the driver behind the wheel is still required to remain alert and attentive to ensure his or her safety. In other words, AI is capable of running unassisted, but when it comes to mission-critical functions, it still needs humans, not only to train it, but to make sure everything stays on track.

The truth is, when artificial intelligence gets things right, everything is peachy. But when it doesn’t, the outcome can be disastrous – especially for larger organizations. And while modern AI may have some impressive cognitive capabilities, at the end of the day, it’s still just as its name indicates: artificial. Keeping humans in the mix ensures that the nuances of communication are present and that the output is accurate and relevant.

Humans need AI
On the other side of the coin, humans can benefit tremendously from artificial intelligence technology. And with 37% of organizations having already implemented AI to some degree, it’s clear that people and machines working side by side is becoming the norm rather than the exception. The reason being, artificial intelligence is like a force multiplier for human workers.

For example, data mining can be handled far faster and in much more massive volumes than any human being is capable of. Using AI, organizations can more effectively turn data into insights that can then be used to assist in human decision-making. This thereby drives innovation and competitive advantage.

Bringing it all together
As we progress toward a more automated future, a hybrid approach to integrating AI can help organizations figure out how to get from point A to point B with as little business disruption as possible. One way executives are handling the shift is to create automation centers of excellence (COE) that are dedicated to proliferating automation throughout the organization. Taking a structured approach like this helps to reduce confusion and limit friction.

Members of the COE are responsible for planning, ongoing testing and continuous oversight of the enterprise automation strategy. Typically, this group is made up of individuals who possess a mix of critical IT and business skills, such as developers, operations specialists and business analysts. Additionally, an entirely new role of automation engineer is being created to support the COE.

CIOs may choose to create their COEs with existing employees who are reskilled or newly hired team members. Regardless, COEs represent a strategic approach that is designed to drive adoption across the enterprise while delivering key results in support of company goals.

Ultimately, choosing a hybrid approach that includes a combination of humans and artificial intelligence, is simply the logical evolution of any disruptive technology. It safeguards against the risks of early-stage gaps and helps organizations get the most out of new solutions every step of the way. Done right, technology enables humans to focus on mission-critical applications while using AI to streamline operations and identify the best opportunities and strategies for ongoing organizational success.

AI is not an either/or proposition. It’s up to each organization to determine the right mix of humans and technology that makes sense. As new capabilities and options emerge, that mix will inevitably evolve. And the IT leaders that fully embrace their increasingly strategic value will know how to create the balance that will continually optimize and elevate staff, technology and the entire future of work.

This article was originally posted as a guest piece on ITOps Times. Click here to redirect to the official publication.

5 Mistakes to Avoid with Self-Service Automation

Self-service automation is becoming more of the norm rather than the exception. In fact, a recent survey by SDI found that 61% of businesses were focusing on some type of self-service initiative (up from 47% in 2015). And it’s not only for making your customers’ lives easier. Many organizations are realizing the benefits of providing self-service options to employees to eliminate the need for many of the common issues plaguing the help desk, such as password resets and system refreshes. If you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, here are a few common mistakes you should actively avoid.

Inadequate Communication – If you want your employees to adopt and embrace self-service technology, you have to ensure that they understand its many benefits. This is particularly important for your IT team, some of whom may feel uneasy or even threatened by the thought of automated technology handling some of their tasks. Gain acceptance and buy-in by communicating how self-service options will actually make the lives and jobs of everyone easier and more efficient.

Lack of Knowledge – What types of activities can you – and more importantly – should you be transitioning over to self-service? Many otherwise savvy IT decision makers rush into self-service implementation before they truly have a good understanding of what tasks are most beneficial to automate. Take time to learn about what your IT team is bogged down by and also what areas the end-user might not only benefit from, but actually appreciate the ability to handle things on their own.

Not Choosing a Tool Carefully – Not all self-service automation platforms are created equal and if you don’t carefully and thoroughly do your homework, you could end up with a less-than-ideal result. Not only does implementing a faulty tool mean more headaches for your IT department, but the frustration of everyone who has to use it will ultimately lead to disengagement, resistance and/or complete lack of adoption. Make sure the platform you choose is robust, user-friendly and versatile enough to handle both full and semi-automation needs.

Setting and Forgetting It – Like anything else in technology, self-service automation isn’t something that you can simply put in place and never think about again. Not only is it important to keep up to date from a tech standpoint, but it’s equally important to ensure that the system you have in place remains as effective as possible. Conducting regular audits of both the IT department and the end-users can help you determine whether new tasks could be automated or if existing ones could use some tweaking.

Forgetting the Intangibles – Last but not least, maintaining an environment in which self-service automation is embraced and celebrated involves regular assessment and selling of the many benefits this technology provides. When calculating ROI, don’t forget to also consider the intangible ways self-service is good for your organization, particularly how it allows IT to improve its meaningful contribution to the organization. That is a value that can and should be recognized across the board.

What could self-service automation do for your company? Why not find out today by starting your free 30 day trial of Ayehu. No obligation, just enhanced efficiency and better overall operations. Get your free trial now by clicking here!

3 Ways Virtual Assistants are Transforming the Service Desk

A few years ago, the chatbot phenomenon swept the consumer world. Today, people are becoming more and more at ease using conversational AI and virtual assistants to do everything from set their doctor appointments to planning travel. Yet, despite this consumer-driven craze, one area that seems to have been left largely in the dark is the IT help desk. Surprisingly (and frustratingly) enough, for many organizations, even something as basic as requesting more storage and resetting your password still requires opening and waiting for a ticket to be serviced.

The truth is, what once began as an innovative service to help employees has somehow evolved into more of a costly distraction. Budget-conscious executives have come to view the IT service desk, not as a core component of the business, but as an expensive necessity. As such, the help desk has long been the target of cost-cutting reductions. Yet, despite these efforts, one recent report indicates that the expenses surrounding service desks are actually on the rise. Today, a typical help desk is massively overloaded and majorly underfunded.

Enter the virtual assistant. Unlike the many other “solutions” CIOs tried in the past, chatbot technology has the potential to dramatically disrupt and ultimately transform the modern service desk in a way that is both positive and sustainable. This will happen in three distinct ways, as follows.

Automating the humdrum.

According to Gartner, password resets account for 40% of all service desk requests. In this way, help desk support agents can feel like mere robots, repeatedly responding to the same requests over and over (and over) again. Why not transition these mundane, repetitive tasks to actual robots? AI-driven virtual assistants can handle everything from simple tasks to complex workflows. This frees up human agents to focus on higher-level initiatives.

The best part? Chatbots are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. They work weekends and holidays and they don’t require overtime. This means not only can you offer round-the-clock support, but scaling to higher volumes will not require an increase in headcount. The tremendous value this promises has led many large, global enterprises to begin deploying virtual assistants.

Removing the human from intuitive tasks.

Under normal circumstances, a typical service order can take more than a full business day to resolve. This process generally includes several interactions between support analysts and often requires escalation to subject matter experts. Next generation chatbot technology is now capable of using historical interactions – such as voice transcripts, prior transactions and other preexisting data – to learn, engage, suggest and recommend resolutions. Even complex troubleshooting can be handled almost, if not entirely by virtual assistants.

Revamping the user experience.

The IT industry has spent a fortune in an attempt to improve employee self-service. Yesterday’s setup was centered on the creation and maintenance of an institutional knowledge base where users could log in and search for answers to their questions in lieu of opening a help desk ticket. The results of these queries were often mixed. Today, thanks to advances in artificial intelligence technology, a user can type, text or even speak their question and a virtual assistant can engage in a meaningful exchange to resolve the issue.

Despite getting off to a markedly slow start, large enterprises around the globe are beginning to recognize the value that conversational AI brings to the table. As such, we are seeing a rapidly growing number of organizations “hiring” virtual assistants to help transform their service desks into the highly effective, cost-efficient and innovative business benefits they’ve always dreamed of being.

Get started with virtual assistant technology and see how it can revolutionize your help desk by downloading your free 30 day trial of Ayehu today.

Want Big Improvements in ITSM? Start Small.

Have you ever faced a challenge so big that you didn’t know where to begin, so you simply did nothing? It’s happened to the best of us, and it happens far too often in the world of ITSM. In many cases, IT decision makers know improvements must be made, but the looming costs and risks have them circling their wagons, afraid to take that leap and get started. If you are in this situation currently, the solution is simple: get back to basics. Rather than taking on huge, risky and expensive ITSM projects, start where you are and take it one step at a time. By starting small, you’ll eventually achieve the big change you seek.

As an example, let’s take a larger ITSM organization that provides support service to external clients across the globe. An operation like this has a ton of service desks, some of which support multiple customers, others are dedicated to individual customers and still others are designated for internal users. Some service desks provide only logging and dispatch while others also offer level 1 support. Across all of these service desks, there are a wide variety of tools and technologies being employed.

In this scenario, the vast majority of communication with customers, for all the service desks, takes place via telephone. Decision-makers within the organization recognize the need for more efficient communication channels (i.e. self-service portals and chatbots). The problem is, in a company that large, the costs of implementation would be tremendous. IT leaders have actually already identified a tool capable of supporting such a complex environment, but because they lack confidence and adequate justification that the project would run smoothly and produce ROI, they can’t nail down funding.

Believe it or not, the solution to this monster of a dilemma is actually quite obvious. Rather than attempting to roll out chat for their entire user base – a significant and costly undertaking – all they really need to do is begin where they are and implement in several smaller steps.

For instance, IT could introduce an easy-to-use, out-of-the-box chatbot platform and designate a small group of users to begin using this tool when they need IT support. IT would then closely monitor the process to identify any issues – either on the service desk or end user side – and work to resolve those issues before scaling up. Over time, the IT team will have:

  • Pinpointed and addressed many issues as they relate to chat-based interactions with the service desk
  • Identified which types of requests are best suited for chat and which are better handled via other channels
  • Figured out how to best encourage users to transition from telephone support to chat
  • Gathered and analyzed data regarding the volume of requests each agent can manage using chat
  • Determined exactly how much time and money could be saved if scaled to the entire organization

Rolling out chatbot support this way is far less risky, and by starting with a tool that is easy to use and doesn’t require coding and/or a ton of training, the overall cost of implementation also remains low. As the project is slowly scaled up, the IT team will have all the information they need to determine whether full implementation would be a cost-effective investment with quantifiable proof to back them up. They’ll also already know what needs to be done in order to ensure success as the project expands.

The good news is, starting small is easy when you have the right tool in your corner. Ayehu is specifically designed to provide rapid time-to-adoption and enhanced simplicity to even the most complex ITSM projects. Don’t believe us? Try it free for 30 days and experience it for yourself. You have nothing to lose!

5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation

Pros and Cons of IT Chatbots

When IT chatbots were first introduced, admittedly, they were less than impressive. They were slow, clunky and in many cases, it was painfully obvious that a robot was on the other end. Advances in artificial intelligence technology, however, have addressed these concerns and the virtual agents of today are becoming more human-like by the minute. And their popularity is growing, with Gartner predicting that by next year, 50% of medium-to-large enterprises will be using chatbots.

Should you be one of them? Let’s take a look at a few of the ups and downs of using virtual support.

Pros of IT Chatbots

Frees Up Humans Resources – The first and most obvious benefit to deploying IT chatbots for the helpdesk is that it shifts a significant portion of the workload from human to machine. This frees up human agents to be able to focus their high-level skills and cognitive talents on more complex and important business initiatives. This is a much more optimal allocation of resources.

Enables 24/7 Support – Most organizations can’t afford to pay for round-the-clock IT support, and for those that do have the budget, justifying it can be a challenge. IT chatbots are available 24/7, which means if a problem arises at 2am, there’s a good chance it can be automatically addressed and resolved without human intervention. A higher level of support without having to pay live agents? Yes, please.

Advanced Interaction – With the right software solution, IT chatbots can be fully customized. Furthermore, thanks to advanced AI technologies like machine learning and natural language processing, virtual agents can be so “intelligent” that the end-user doesn’t even realize they’re interacting with a robot and not a fellow human.

Cons of IT Chatbots

Volume – The overarching goal of any IT chatbot implementation is to automate routine, manual and recurring tasks. Logically, if the volume of recurring activities for your IT team is low, the benefits of introducing virtual agents may not outweigh the cost and effort it takes to implement.

Time/Resources – While it’s true that chatbots free up existing IT staff, the technology isn’t something you simply plug and play. It requires oversight and maintenance by skilled human workers who can make sure the software has all the information it needs, can add new services, applications and processes for the end-user as needed and that the bots are properly tested.

Fear/Resistance – Lastly, as with most automation technology, chatbots often elicit feelings of fear and resistance from human workers who may be concerned that they are being replaced. Additionally, if the technology is not up-to-par, the end user may push back against the idea of working with virtual agents vs. human help desk support.

These issues can be overcome, provided the right people, technologies and policies are in place. In fact, if you take your time to fine-tune your chatbot platform, it can easily become an effective and realistic channel for supporting end-users, making it well worth the time and investment.

Get started today by laying a strong foundation. Try Ayehu FREE for 30 days. Click here to download.

Planning a Chatbot Strategy? Here’s What NOT to Do

When it comes to utilizing chatbots, there are plenty of resources out there to tell you what you should do, our own blog included. But as with anything in business, it’s just as important to know what not to do as it is to know best practices. By learning from the many common mistakes made by others, you can hopefully avoid going down the same wrong paths with your own chatbot initiative. That said, let’s dive into a few of those common mistakes below.

Not Gauging Need

Chatbots are great, but only if you’re using them the right way and for the right purpose. Adopting this technology just for the sake of it isn’t going to produce sustainable ROI, if any at all. To be successful with chatbots, you must first identify what you are trying to accomplish and what the desired end results should be.

For instance, are you trying to automate a simple process or are you looking for something more sophisticated, interactive and that will learn and improve over time? This will help you choose the right platform and strategize a plan for implementation.

Focusing on a Single Use Case

One of the trickier things about chatbots is that they are capable of far more than many business leaders realize. Unlike other packaged software and SaaS products, which are typically designed to meet a specific business need, the more a chatbot system learns, the more use cases it can take on.

For example, as a Q & A bot answers questions from customers and/or employees, its company knowledge and language understanding grow. As a result, the same core technology can be trained and used for a variety of different instances, thereby multiplying its value. If you limit your approach to just one or two use cases, you also limit the potential return you can achieve.

Overlooking the Human Element

With so much emphasis on training chatbots, it’s easy to forget that your human users also need to be brought up to speed. According to recent data, 43% of people who haven’t used chatbots yet are merely unfamiliar with the technology. And these aren’t tech illiterates, either. 65% routinely use SMS and 61% Facebook Messenger. They simply haven’t been exposed to chatbots nor given adequate guidance for their use.

Furthermore, even users who are familiar and comfortable with chatbot technology may need a reminder that it’s available. For instance, if a user only interacts with the IT helpdesk two or three times a year, they could easily forget that self-service bots are at their disposal. This is another powerful reason for leveraging bots for multiple use cases.

And on the other side of the coin, it’s also important not to overlook the value of the human connection. A shift to 100% chatbot support, for example, could result in frustration and backlash from end-users. Ideally, a bot-human relay should be established through which escalation from machine to human occurs when necessary.

In Conclusion…

With investment into chatbot development expected to top $1.25 billion by 2025, it’s clear that this technology is here to stay. Realizing savings and other benefits from chatbots, however, requires the right training and implementation. Knowing what mistakes to avoid, such as the three key areas above, can prevent your organization from having to deal with costly consequences.

The good news? You can now implement intelligent chatbot technology without the need to code or program. Resolve common IT actions, manage HR tasks, handle incoming customer support inquiries and more – and all via the interface of your choice. Click here to try Ayehu free for 30 days.  

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What will 2019 have in store for AI and machine learning?

There’s been plenty of hype about machine learning and artificial intelligence and that buzz isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon.As we prepare for another new year, it’s always a good idea to consider what’s in store for technology and all indications point to 2019 being a major year for AI and ML.

What might we expect to unfold over the coming months? Well,for starters, next year is poised to be one in which those who have been teetering on the fence about adopting machine learning are likely to finally take the plunge. Let’s take a closer look at a few other trends to watch for in 2019.

Cross-Industry Infiltration of Machine Learning

To put it plainly, there simply isn’t a single industry that would not benefit in some way from machine learning technology. As more decision-makers begin to recognize this, more widespread adoption will occur alongside the ideation of newer and more innovative ways to use ML.

A great example of this is the U.S. Army. Over the next year, they will be rolling out the use of machine learning sensors to predict when combat vehicles are in need of repair. The health care industry is another field that is finding new uses for AI. For instance, algorithms now exist that can predict – with 95% accuracy – the probability of a patient’s death. Physicians can use this data to literally save lives.

It’s safe to say that as we ramp up adoption of AI and ML,forward-thinking companies will continue to discover new ways to leverage these technologies to read, interpret and apply data for greater success.

Increasing Use of Chatbots

Most of us utilize AI assistants on a daily basis, whether it’s asking Alexa to play our favorite song list or checking with Siri to see how traffic will be for the commute home. These basic interactions are really just the tip of the iceberg.

In 2019, development of chatbots will snowball, making AI assistants an even bigger part of our everyday lives. Not only will they be in our pockets and in our homes, but chatbot technology will continue to make its way into the business world.

For instance, in the IT service management realm, chatbots will be used increasingly to enable end-users to self-remediate while simultaneously freeing up human talent to be focused on more complex projects and business initiatives.

Deepening Interactions between Humans and Machines

The concept of AI being a robot merely capable of performing repetitive, mundane tasks has become antiquated. To the contrary, more and more organizations are recognizing artificial intelligence as an integral part of their workforce, working alongside their human employees and playing a pivotal role in their success. This relationship will only continue to evolve as we push onward into2019 and beyond.

As AI technology advances further, we can expect features and functionality that mimics human behavior in much greater detail. Imagine a chatbot that not only recognizes what a human is saying, but the tone and nuances behind those words. The possibilities are virtually limitless.

And as AI continues to become ingratiated into the fiber of how organizations operate, the fear and uncertainty that clouded human workers in the past will begin to dissipate. In its place will be a newfound respect and an optimism for the new opportunities these innovative technologies will create.

Without question, 2019 will be a critical year for both machine learning as well as AI. The three predictions above may very well just be scraping the surface of what’s truly in store. One thing’s for certain:these technologies are here to stay and they’re changing our world in ways beyond what we ever thought possible.

Want to experience the power of AI and machine learning for yourself?Start your free 30 day trial of Ayehu today!

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