The Future of ITSM: Get Ready for Artificial Intelligence

Besides personal applications, AI is beginning to integrate into corporate and government networks. As it does so, IT Service Management (ITSM) organizations will have the responsibility to keep these systems up and running.

Marcel Shaw is a Systems Engineer for Ivanti.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises to dramatically improve technology in our homes and in the workplace.  We all know what it’s like to lose our keys.  One day Alexa will notice we’ve forgotten our keys, or our wallet, and alert us before we leave the house.  How could that be possible? By making Alexa intelligent.

Besides personal applications, AI is beginning to integrate into corporate and government networks.  As it does so, IT Service Management (ITSM) organizations will have the responsibility to keep these systems up and running. According to Gartner, AI, in all its applications, is just beginning a 75-year technology cycle that will have far-reaching implications for every industry.

In terms of AI making a positive impact on ITSM, we see key three key areas: Point of entry (Incident/Request Creation), automated back-end processes and knowledge management.

Point of Entry

AI can make a difference here:  it can help ensure information is accurately interpreted before it is entered into an IT Service Management solution. Using chatbots driven by AI technology will enable automated ITSM solutions to interpret incidents and requests more accurately. As the technology matures, we will see AI improve and personalize the end-user experience, in addition to improving the efficiency of the service management solution.
In the near term, as AI technology evolves, ITSM organizations will continue to be reluctant to remove human front line analysts. However, in the more distant future, sophisticated, AI driven chatbots will, no doubt, require less human governance.

Automated Back-end Processes

ITSM consists of backend processes that are designed to manage any request or issue entered into the system. Traditionally, these were entered by an analyst or an end-user through a self-service portal. However, ITSM solutions that are integrated with other systems on the network will be able to detect and automatically open a request or incident without any human intervention.

The power of AI in ITSM will manifest itself through integration with other technologies on the network. For example, integrating an ITSM solution with a solution that provides IT operations analytics (ITOA) would enable an ITSM solution to be notified of potential network issues.

Based on patterns, an ITSM solution powered with AI technology will be able to learn as it updates its knowledge database, ultimately improving how it reacts to any issue. In other words, AI will be equipped to remember past experiences so that it can learn from them.

Further integration will make ITSM even more efficient. For example, if the ITSM system is integrated with both ITOA and a security solution, it could detect unusual activity in such events as more browser crashes in one day.  The ITSM solution would be able to investigate that issue and cross reference the data with the IT security solution to find any patterns that might explain the anomaly. When the ITSM solutions log the “problem” it would be able to provide insight, predictions about how the problem will progress, and recommendations about how to fix it. 

As we move further into the future, the ITSM solution will be able to automatically correct the issues by working with the other IT solutions it integrates with on the network.  

Knowledge Management

ITSM solutions powered by AI will have the infinite universe of knowledge available to improve service to the end user.  They will not only provide answers to IT questions, but be able to provide training and tips and tricks for end-users and analysts.

Since AI technology enables solutions to learn, they will be able to access unlimited amounts of data in trusted knowledge databases and, over time, ‘learn’ patterns that exist within an organization, to more efficiently help solve problems.

Knowledge based ITSM solutions powered with AI technology will give accurate answers to almost any question very quickly. They will supply more current and relevant documents, eventually surpassing those created by human analysts.  However, until AI is perfected over the next few decades, human input will be vital for ITSM knowledge solutions.

The Future of ITSM

With AI technology such as smart machines making their way into corporate and government networks, AI is, like it or not, going to be a dominant solution in any ITSM system.  There simply aren’t enough resources for analysts to get personally involved with so many requests and incidents (one-to-one). For better or worse, in the future, human intervention for any request or incident (one to one) will not be sustainable. Therefore, we will see many organizations turn to chatbots with AI capabilities as a means to handle, for example, front line IT support calls.

ITSM analysts will then shift their focus to major incidents (one-to-many), problem management, and change management.  They will focus more on business objectives instead of IT objectives. 

Although ITSM solutions are rapidly evolving, service management will never go away as long as IT exists. However, by implementing AI technology, IT service management will experience a disruptive change that will alter the way humans are involved with the service management process. It is also important to note that these disruptive changes will affect all service management operations, not just IT service management.

 

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