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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How to Successfully Implement a Chatbot Strategy in 5 Steps

Chatbot technology is disrupting almost every industry, with everyone from Verizon and Capital One to NASA jumping onboard. But while artificial intelligent is certainly not a new concept, developing and implementing chatbots in a practical and profitable way is still in its relative infancy. Unlike other, more established technologies, there aren’t necessarily any real standards for using bots. Thankfully, there are things we can learn from those already paving the way. Here are five real-world tips to help your company bring a chatbot strategy to fruition.

Identify audience and need.

For bots to produce ROI, they must solve a specific problem (or set of problems) and/or deliver real, measurable improvement (such as with staff efficiency or productivity). As such, the initial phase of your chatbot strategy should involve identifying who you are trying to help and exactly why. The narrower you can get with this step, the better the outcome. Keep in mind you may have multiple iterations of the same engine, based on the user you are targeting.

Select a platform.

Once you have a clearer picture of your target user and target problem, the next step should involve choosing a platform through which the bots will be built and managed. This is the phase of the project that can overwhelm some decision makers. The good news is, there are platforms (like Ayehu) that are so easy to use and quick to implement that you can be up and running in mere minutes – no coding or scripting required. Even if you have a highly talented IT team, this would be the best case scenario.

Define your measure(s) of success.

One of the biggest challenges of chatbots (and artificial intelligence in general) is proving financial value. The easiest and most straightforward way to approach this is to determine as early as possible which metrics matter the most. What type of ROI do those in the C-suite and/or other stakeholders expect out of this initiative? Bear in mind, also, that some measures of success aren’t as easy to quantify, but are just as – if not more – important, such as end-user engagement levels.

Start fast – don’t wait for perfection.

Many people make the mistake of trying to make things perfect before rolling out their project. Instead, the focus should be on building fast and executing fast, even if that involves some degree of failure in the process. Take, for instance, NASA, which approaches each chatbot initiative as a small startup with the goal of launching as quickly as possible. If you cannot iterate that fast, optimize the process as much as possible. For example, while Verizon was developing their Mix and Match bot, the consumer plan was being developed simultaneously. This made the actual rollout more seamless and successful.

Adjust and learn continuously.

A chatbot strategy isn’t something you set and forget. There is also the need for continuous adaptations and ongoing training to consider. Artificial intelligence is a fluid technology, which means your bots should continue to learn and improve over time. There will almost always be something to add, whether it’s a new term or a tweak in “personality” to better serve end-users. The main thing to remember is that chatbot development is an ongoing process and must be treated as such if it is to be successful.

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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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