6 Ways Automation and AI are Transforming Service Desks
by Markos Symeonides, on 10-Jun-2020 15:00:00
AI is a game-changer because, when applied correctly, it can simultaneously unlock the “holy trinity” of benefits: better, faster, and cheaper. It’s no longer a case of “pick any two”.
Smart service desk technology can achieve the same outcomes as a human—but in the blink of an eye. With no human labour cost (after the initial set-up), transaction costs can drop to almost zero. And with people removed from the delivery process, the scope for human error is dramatically reduced. AI can create outcomes which are consistently fast, accurate, and increasingly efficient over time.
These benefits add up to a Step-Up in the IT customer experience. Services are delivered with foresight in mind. Questions are answered instantly. Incidents can be spotted and solved automatically before employees are even aware of them. AI and Cognitive Understanding is a significant enabler to providing services and support that just work. For the employee or the IT Service Desk. Smart automation is a force multiplier for the service desk, lifting a great chunk of the mundane workload off your service desk agents and expert support staff thus reducing costs and freeing up resources.
AI Use Cases for the Service Desk
There are a growing number of AI and automation use cases which are gaining mainstream traction in service desks across the world. These are practical applications of AI and smart automation that our customers are using to transform the employee experience while increasing the overall performance of their IT Support groups.
1. AI Chatbots Delivering Virtual Service Agents (VSAs)
A chatbot driven virtual service agent provides automated, 24x7 first-contact support to employees—typically handling simple issues, service requests, and information queries. This can be text-based chat or via a voice-driven interface. Through the integration, the chatbot can tap into the service catalog, FAQs, service status information, the knowledge base, and any other information in the assyst CMDB. It also enables integration with other platforms such as Microsoft Teams.
2. AI Driven Insights for Delivery Teams
The assyst InfoZone is an intelligent assistant for delivery teams that lives in the assyst ITSM Solution. It is a record-mining agent, performing real-time analysis of historic records to uncover solutions and give assyst users the information they need, as they need it. The InfoZone is context-aware—it responds to information that users are inputting to pro-actively push relevant information, on the fly.
It automatically joins the dots between current context, infrastructure data, and historic tickets to find a root cause, resolution, workaround, or other relevant actions. This saves significant time for service desk agents—they don’t have to search for information; it’s right there on screen for them.
3. Automated Detect-and-Correct Resilient Infrastructure
Service desk agents typically spend a lot of time handling incidents which can be both automatically detected and automatically resolved. AI-powered event management enables assyst to spot infrastructure issues in real time and immediately trigger automated resolution workflows to correct the issue before services are impacted and IT customers disrupted. AI excels here because of its ability to handle much more data, much more quickly than a human ever could.
This type of AI-driven detect-and-correct ability gives you a more resilient infrastructure and allows your service desk agents to focus on solving new and unique issues which require human creativity and ingenuity to solve them.
4. Intelligent Ticket Handling
Organizations that manually route incidents to teams are wasting time (and often make mistakes) on an easily automatable task. Often, when there is a big backlog of tickets, it can be hours or even days before a ticket is sent to the correct team or subject matter expert for action. Meanwhile, the IT customer is still waiting and may be losing productivity.
Smart ticket handling automatically assesses ticket records and how they were handled in the past. It can then provide the following:
- If there is an existing automated workflow to resolve the incident, trigger it.
- Suggest assignment groups or people based on what worked most successfully in the past.
- Provide instant feedback on what the agent might do next by identifying related Incidents, Problems, Changes and Workarounds.
Whether it is a familiar issue with an automated fix, or a new type of issue that requires human intervention, the entire process is faster without the human bottleneck of manual routing.
5. Trend Identification and Decision Support
AIs are great at mining data to unearth useful insights—they can join-the-dots of various data points to analyse rich and diverse datasets far more quickly than people can. AI brings deep analytics—the stuff which was previously too complex or time-consuming—into reach.
For the service desk, AI-driven trend analysis can span from the very simple (such as looking at incident records to automatically create related problem records), to more complex scenarios such as demand analysis and capacity planning (to ensure appropriate service capacity and availability in the face of shifting patterns of business demand).
6. AI-Assisted Knowledge Management
It is often difficult for service desk agents and other IT subject matter experts to find the time to create the knowledge artifacts that users need to help them self-solve issues. It’s a catch-22 situation; they’re too busy firefighting to stop and capture the knowledge that will help end the firefighting.
AI can help service desks here too. The assyst Knowledge Candidate Automation (KCA) solution mines unstructured data in the CMDB to find suggested solutions for common issues. The KCA bot finds and flags these suggestions for human review before automatically packaging and publishing these as knowledge articles—to be consumed by the relevant IT or end user communities. This helps to uncover and share knowledge to quickly scale up your knowledge base without taking service desk agents and other subject matter experts offline to document what they know.
AI is a Game Changer for IT Support
With less time spent on tedious and repetitive tasks, service desk analysts can focus their attention on the issues and challenges that require human problem solving and human creativity. For your analysts, AITSM is an opportunity for them to do their best work—free of the mundane; to do the work they joined your organization to do.