Posts

The Rise of Artificially Intelligent Service Management (AISM)

It’s been said that the best way to serve customers is to anticipate their needs, whether it’s a restaurant concierge offering to walk patrons to their vehicles with an umbrella overhead on rainy evenings or rolling out an update on a software product. The same concept can be applied in the IT realm, specifically in IT service management (ITSM).

The fact is, with today’s technology, it’s entirely possible to predict that certain situations will occur, from simple password reset requests to servers crashing. It’s not really a matter of if these things will happen, but rather when. And if you know what’s coming, you can be prepared to respond and, in many cases, even head problems off at the pass.

That’s where artificial intelligence comes into play. Thanks to AI and machine learning technologies, ITSM professionals can now predict potential problems faster and with a much higher degree of accuracy. As a result, the end user (or “customer”) enjoys a much more positive experience. In other words, everybody wins.

What is Artificially Intelligent Service Management?

The core principles of ITSM remain sound. The introduction of AI into the mix doesn’t change this. Instead, it enhances it. AISM simply takes the fundamental concepts and processes of ITSM – incident response, service request management, etc. – and leverages newer and better technologies to make them even more effective. In the context of IT service management, AI can be applied to improve, simulate and/or replace the work of a human agent.

You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t this really just automation?” The answer isn’t necessarily cut and dry. The truth is, we’ve been automating processes and workflows for decades, and ITSM is no stranger to this technology. The difference is that with AI, these processes and workflows become more intelligent and independent. Rather than just carrying out predefined or scripted instructions, AI is capable of identifying and carrying out required actions all on its own.

How does AISM work?

Now, let’s take a look at how AI can enhance the execution of ITSM activities.

Support Request Management

The basics of ITSM: an end user needs assistance. They either pick up the phone to call the help desk, send an email request, submit a support ticket or browse the self-service options (if available). The steps necessary to fulfill that incoming request are then followed and the user receives his or her desired outcome. The problem is, that outcome could potentially take hours, days, weeks or even longer.

Now, let’s look at that scenario with AISM at the helm. The end user initiates contact and immediately receives two-way support from an intelligent bot. They request what they need and the bot – relying on underlying technologies of machine learning, deep learning, neural networks and natural language processing – understands the request and responds accordingly. Rather than waiting for a human to take action, AISM can produce results for the end user within seconds.

Incident Management

The ability to react, respond to and correct an incident is one of the most basic components of ITSM. Traditionally, a form would be filled out. Perhaps the analyst might do a little research. Ultimately, the task is assigned to a team. There it might sit untouched for a while before it is either rejected, resolved or possibly even assigned to another team altogether. In the end, the incident is resolved, but after much back and forth and passing of the torch.

Enter AISM. The end user reports a problem via his or her self-service portal and an incident is immediately created. Thanks to artificial intelligence, however, that same end user may instantly be prompted with various suggestions that are pulled from the underlying knowledge base. This may result in resolution right away.

If not, it is turned over to a support analyst who is automatically provided with suggested resolution methods. The AI can even advise who the incident should be assigned to, what relevant implications may exist, the scope of the situation and more.

Problem Management

In a traditional ITSM setting, problem management would often involve a person taking the time to review prior incident patterns and trends and develop possible resolutions. Along the way, however, many twists, turns, delays and bottlenecks exist. For instance, let’s say a support agent grows weary of addressing the same incidents over and over. The problem may be investigated further. Perhaps some knowledge may be created and a change is even identified. But, given the chaotic nature of the ITSM environment, time passes and nothing really gets done.

Now, take that same scenario in the context of AISM. Instead of a frustrated human agent taking the initiative to identify and resolve problems, machine learning technology continuously scans patterns of data to pinpoint and present potential issues that should be investigated. What’s more, thanks to data processing and learning across multiple patterns of work, AI is even capable of proposing a solution, backed by data-driven risk and impact analyses. In other words, it takes the guess-work out of decisions.

AISM – From Reactive to Proactive and Beyond

Getting back to our original point – that the best customer experiences are anticipatory in nature – AISM enhances service management by facilitating the shift from reactive (meeting needs when they occur) to proactive (predicting and preventing issues from happening in the first place). There are three key ways AISM can do this:

  • Guidance – The end user has a need and AISM uses a connection with endpoint tools to identify and make suggestions based on that need.
  • Learning – Building a knowledge base used to be a hassle. Not with AISM. Thanks to machine learning and AI tracking systems, the knowledge base can naturally grow based on issues encountered over time.
  • Strategy – AISM is capable of identifying and recommending both changes to existing core services as well as new innovations to improve for the future.

Conclusion

As you can see, AISM follows many of the same principles, processes and best practices of ITSM. It’s just faster and more accurate. And with AI being leveraged to intelligently automate complex tasks at just about every operations level, IT professionals will be freed up to spend more time innovating and evolving to help achieve business goals.

Buckle up folks, because AISM is poised to be a true game-changer.

Free eBook! Get Your Own Copy Today

IT service management from a different perspective

To date, IT Service Management has consistently been viewed as simply part of the IT infrastructure library (ITIL) processes. However, with the looming shift of IT operations from fragmented services to a more end-to-end, service-driven approach, the concept of ITSM is poised to play an increasingly critical role in business operations. In order to successfully navigate this shift toward service, IT professionals must essentially rethink what this practice is really about and how it will serve their organizations going forward.

The Original Intention of IT Service Management

When it was first developed, IT Service Management was intended to bring a more unified approach to how IT technology services were integrated within the organization as a whole. Rather than managing individual components, ITSM focused on developing a collection of best practice processes (ITIL) and using these best practices to deliver end-to-end services. Organizations would conduct ITSM audits which analyzed things such as ROI, budget adherence, and the effectiveness of communication and identifying and evaluating risk. The purpose was to identify areas that needed improvement so that IT services could be better honed to benefit the entire organization.

What’s missing?

While ITSM is still a concrete practice, in order to be truly effective it must evolve along with the changes of IT as a whole. What’s missing from the original concept of ITSM is the end-user – the customer. Internal processes may have been improved significantly, but if these improvements don’t translate to the customer, it’s not a true victory.

How can IT professionals change their perspective of IT Service Management?

In order to get the most out of ITSM, people must begin to shift their view from strictly internal to also include external benefit. The easiest way to do this is to simply drop the “IT” from ITSM and replace it with automation. This essentially expands the benefit of ITSM from the internal operations of the enterprise to also improve the customer experience through the delivery of faster outcomes, higher quality service and at a much more attractive price. Internal processes are streamlined and made more efficient, while external service also improves. It’s a win-win.

If businesses are going to be successful in the future, they must leverage new and changing technology to truly deliver the unique and unparalleled experiences that their customers are seeking. Adjusting the concept of ITSM to incorporate intelligent automation into the mix will accomplish this goal, providing the competitive advantage needed to thrive in the coming years.

Experience how ITSM automation can be a game changer by downloading your free 30-day trial of Ayehu today.

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

How to Stay Relevant in the Changing World of ITSM

When it comes to continual improvement, the focus often lands on systems, processes, applications and policies. What it tends to neglect is the importance of keeping human skills up to date. The fact is, the world around us is changing and the skills and abilities that were once considered valuable are not at risk of becoming obsolete. Today’s ITSM professionals must be diligent about developing and honing the skills and knowledge that will be needed in the future. Here’s a bit of advice on how to do just that.

Technology has evolved over the years. Whereas in the past an IT tech may have required in-depth experience using an oscilloscope and soldering iron to diagnose and repair computer problems, today an entirely different set of trouble-shooting skills are needed. Those who continue to realize success in ITSM are the ones that recognize and adapt to the changes as they are occurring. If one were to try and make a living using an oscilloscope in this day and age, they simply wouldn’t be marketable.

This same concept applies to just about any skill that one has developed over the years. If you became versed in ITSM a decade ago, chances are you learned all about the importance of having well-planned and documented processes or that defining metrics and reporting them in SLAs was critical. These things aren’t necessarily obsolete (yet). It’s just that, they’re simply no longer enough. It seems that every day we’re uncovering newer and better ways to manage incidents, deal with problems and engage with customers.

To remain relevant and continue to deliver value as an ITSM specialist, there are three key areas you should be concentrating on, as follows.

Focus on Agile Principles

A shift has occurred between delivering software and/or service to delivering value. Agile service management, in simplest of terms, means working smarter and watching solutions evolve through strategic collaboration. These days, customers want instant gratification. Launching massive projects that take months or years before they produce value are no longer acceptable. Instead, ITSM professionals should take an agile approach – one which involves continuous experimentation, ongoing learning and rapid adaptation.  

In short, focus on the following:

  • Pinpoint what could be improved upon
  • Develop a hypothesis around what’s standing in the way of progress
  • Establish a plan for fail-safe experimentation
  • Experiment, measure results and proceed accordingly

Go Lean

If you’re unfamiliar, the concept of “Lean” focuses on creating and delivering maximum value to the customer while minimizing waste. In terms of ITSM, the most relevant facets of Lean include:

  • Identifying end-to-end value chains
  • Mapping out specific steps to ensure full understanding of the work
  • Eliminating waste in every area to create maximum value
  • Ensuring that every action is value-added

Emulate DevOps

Many individuals involved in ITSM are under the false impression that DevOps is solely about development. As such, they miss a tremendous opportunity to (you guessed it) create value for the customer. There are five key DevOps characteristics ITSM teams can mirror:

  • Culture
  • Intelligent Automation
  • Lean Policies
  • Continual Process Improvement
  • Collaboration

These qualities can just as easily be applied to IT service management as they are in development.

Closing Thoughts…

The previous approaches to ITSM aren’t necessarily wrong. We still need to deal with change, manage incidents and resolve problems. But it’s how we go about doing these things efficiently and effectively that has to evolve. There are many new approaches that, if adopted, can help ITSM professionals do their jobs better and create more value, both for their employers as well as their customers. Those who are willing to adapt their skillset accordingly will be the ones who win the opportunities of tomorrow.

And remember – having an agile tool in your corner can’t hurt either. Ayehu’s Next Generation Automation platform is designed to streamline ITSM while freeing up agents to focus on honing and applying their evolving skills most effectively. Now you can try it free for 30 days by clicking here.

7 Time-Saving Tips for Busy IT Leaders

Without a doubt, the IT industry is one in which time is a precious commodity. It’s incredibly easy to become bogged down with the nitty gritty details and waste resources putting out fires to the point where other key areas of the organization begin to suffer. If optimizing your time is a priority for you (and/or your team), this article is for you. Read on to learn a few expert tips on how to find efficiencies, eliminate time-wasters and kick bad habits to the curb once and for all.

Tighten up your email practices.

Checking, sending and responding to emails is a huge time suck. But until it officially becomes a thing of the past, email is still something most IT folks will have to deal with. Optimizing your practices can make things more efficient. For instance, schedule specified time to manage email and use other communication methods, such as SMS, for urgent requests. Also, watch who you cc. If you’re including people on your messages who don’t really need to be included, you’re wasting your team’s time as well.

Ditch the waterfall.

Once a widely accepted project management methodology, waterfall has proven to be more of a hassle than what it’s worth, mainly because it can result in tremendous inefficiency. For instance, if developers discover something faulty with a previous step, the entire project must be scrapped and started afresh. And because testing doesn’t happen until later in the process, any existing bugs could have resulted in incorrect coding. If your team is still using waterfall practices, it may be time to consider making the switch to agile.

Expand your network.

It’s easy to feel as though the problems you, your team or your organization are experiencing are unique, but in reality most IT leaders are struggling with the same issues. Some of these other folks may already have figured out the best solution. Rather than wasting time, spinning your wheels and brainstorming on your own, why not tap into your network of peers. By leveraging the insight and advice of others, your decision-making will be faster and more on-point.

Automate.

To some, this one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many IT leaders are still dragging their feet on the automation front. Yet, when you look at the actual, quantifiable numbers, the benefits of automation and AI are staggering. According to a recent report by WorkMarket, 53% of employees say automation could save them up to 2 work hours per day (240 hours per year) and that number goes up to 3 work hours (360 hours per year) for 78% business leaders. At an average workweek of 40 hours, that equates to a time savings of 6 weeks for employees and 9 full weeks for leaders. What could you and your team do with that much time savings?

Scratch the standups.

Daily standup meetings may seem like a good idea on the surface, but when you gather your team on such a frequent basis, the results hardly make it worth the time. The real value of meetings lies in problem-solving, brainstorming and real-time collaboration. Daily scrum, on the other hand, tend to be more about status updates, which isn’t really the best use of anyone’s time. If daily huddles are currently your thing, you may want to consider spacing those meetings out and reserving them for specific needs rather than check-ins.

Fail fast and ditch what isn’t working.

Just because something’s always been done a certain way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. In fact, you or your team could very well be wasting precious time on practices and policies that are out-of-date and wildly inefficient. Agile isn’t just a methodology for project management. It’s also an important mindset – particularly for an IT leader. Make the coming year one in which you work to identify things that aren’t working and take the necessary steps to change them for the better.

Don’t be an island.

Just because you happen to be in a position of power at your organization doesn’t mean you have to solve problems entirely on your own. To the contrary, the most efficient and successful IT leaders not only value but actively seek the assistance of others. Think about it. You are already leading a team of educated problem-solvers. Your job should be to expose existing issues and then let the team determine the best resolution. Not only will this save you time and aggravation, but it’ll also enable you to develop a sense of trust and respect amongst your employees, which can go a long way toward retention.

Free eBook! Get Your Own Copy Today

Taking a New Approach to IT Service Management for Greater Results

Approaching IT service management from a different perspective for better resultsAs it stands today, IT Service Management (ITSM) continues to be viewed as simply part of the IT infrastructure library (ITIL) processes. However, with the looming shift of IT operations from fragmented services to a more end-to-end, service-driven approach, the concept of ITSM is poised to play an increasingly critical role in business operations. In order to successfully navigate this shift toward service, IT professionals must begin to shift their view of what this practice is truly all about and – more importantly – exactly how it will serve their organizations moving forward.

The Origins of IT Service Management

The practice of IT service management was originally intended to deliver a more unified approach to how IT technology services were integrated within an organization as a whole. Rather than managing individual components, ITSM focused on developing a collection of best practice processes (ITIL) and using these best practices to deliver effective, efficient end-to-end services.

Organizations would conduct ITSM audits which analyzed such things as ROI, budget adherence, and the effectiveness of communication, identifying and evaluating risk. The purpose was to identify areas that needed improvement so that IT services could be better honed to benefit the entire organization.

So…what’s missing?

While ITSM is still a respected practice, in order to be truly effective in delivering its purpose, it must evolve along with the changes that IT is experiencing as a whole. What’s missing from the original concept of ITSM is the very end-user – the customer. Internal processes may have been improved significantly, but until these improvements don’t translate to the customer, it won’t be a true victory.

How can IT professionals change their view of ITSM?

In order to optimize ITSM, IT professionals at every level must begin to shift their perspective from strictly internal to also include the potential external benefits. The easiest way to do this is to simply drop the “IT” from ITSM and replace it with automation. This essentially expands the benefit of ITSM from the internal operations of the enterprise to also focus on improving the customer experience through the delivery of faster results, higher quality service and at a much more attractive price. Internal processes are streamlined and made more efficient, while external service levels are also improved.

If businesses are going to be successful in the future, they must leverage the evolving technology available to them to truly deliver the unique and unparalleled experiences that their customers are seeking. Adjusting the concept of ITSM to incorporate automation into the mix will accomplish this goal, providing the competitive advantage needed to thrive in the coming years.

Want to learn more about how automation can position your organization for future success? Experience it for yourself today by downloading your free trial of eyeShare.





10 TIME-CONSUMING IT TASKS YOU SHOULD AUTOMATE!




Five IT Service Management Operations you Should Automate Today

Five IT Service Management Operations you Should Automate TodayWhen it comes to IT service management automation, there are some things that are a must, particularly in terms of implementation. In order for your organization to realize the maximum benefits, the following 5 components should be present and accounted for.

Configuration Management & Service Asset

For IT service management automation to run most effectively, integration with the AMDB and CMDB are among the most critical. Automation can take care of keeping CMDB current and consistently up to date. Successful automation can also lead to a greater level of accuracy.

Actionable Service Catalog

An organization’s service catalog contains an organized list of any and all information and business technology-related services performed by said enterprise. Furthermore, an actionable service catalog provides the ability for end-users to request services on-demand as well as perform self-service tasks. ITSM automation can help enhance this feature, benefiting both the user as well as the IT department.

Change Management

ITIL should be closely aligned with a company’s change management strategy. Given the importance of a solid policy for managing change, IT service management automation should support any and all change initiatives, not hinder them. Change tickets can and should be opened via automation and should also accompany the approval process to ensure proper compliance.

IT Financial Management

Establishing a cohesive integration between IT service management automation and IT financial management is no longer just an option. It’s a necessity. Successfully achieving this will enable portfolio owners or service providers to maximize output and match growing demand. It also provides a number of practical benefits from a logistics standpoint, such as simpler reporting.

CSI & Service Reporting

Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind is that automation is not something that you simply roll-out once and forget about. To the contrary, it is most effective and successful when it is implemented in different phases and executed on an incremental basis. IT service management automation tools must be adequately integrated in order to enable service managers to track and govern the automation process.

Other necessities for the IT service management automation process include automated service reporting, accurate fulfillment of automation requests, speed, agility, scalability and sustainability.

Are you accounting for all of these critical components in your IT service management automation strategy?

Could you use some expert guidance or a more sophisticated tool to maximize your ROI? Give us a call at 1-800-652-5601 or better yet, download your free product trial today.

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