Modern companies rely on IT support to help keep their computers, networks, applications and data stores functioning and their workers productive. However, for many organizations, IT support and IT service management are also major cost centers. As a result, many companies -- and their third-party ITSM organizations -- are looking toward AI and automated help desks to help make IT support operations more cost-efficient, while providing higher-quality results and better satisfaction to those who depend on IT systems.
IT self-service and self-support
Between 20% and 50% of all IT support ticket requests are related to resetting passwords or administrating user management requests. Forrester noted that the average cost for a standard password reset call is $70, and it typically takes an IT organization 24.2 hours to respond to a single support ticket. For large organizations with thousands of employees, this adds up to significant costs. However, many of these somewhat trivial tickets can be fully automated by intelligent assistants. IT organizations are now deploying chatbots that give workers around-the-clock assistance with basic but urgent IT support needs. These bots can do everything from password resets to provisioning IT resources and straightforward support.
Additionally, up to 95% of all IT support issues are a regular, predictable category that can easily be automated by intelligent assistants that understand the content of IT support tickets. Through natural language processing and other machine learning-enabled technologies, IT organizations are utilizing solutions that can read ITSM application support tickets, inbound emails, chat messages, voicemails and photos to understand the nature of the requests and automatically handle support inquiries.
Automatically detect and handle IT support issues
AI systems can detect problems and automatically open troubleshooting tickets based on inbound requests, even if they don't come through established IT support channels. AI-enabled automated help desks can monitor IT support email addresses, phone numbers and messaging channels to intervene and automatically create support tickets as needed.
Beyond simply responding and initiating support tickets, advanced AI-enabled ITSM systems can go further and identify IT solutions that appropriately resolve problems based on observed patterns. For example, AI-enabled ITSM can be programmed to automatically configure user accounts and systems and be trained to respond to requests in a conversational manner.
AI systems are even helping detect issues before they emerge. Through machine learning-enabled predictive maintenance, AI-enabled automated help desks monitor for potential issues and are able to either pre-emptively resolve the problems or generate tickets to escalate support to those who can resolve the issues. These proactive systems are already being used to avoid the potential for catastrophic problems. AI systems can help with demand planning by predicting which IT resources will be needed to address capacity issues, resolve problems or mitigate existing support issues.
Facilitating human support
Even when humans are primarily handling IT support issues, AI systems can provide significant benefits. AI algorithms identify tickets that fit patterns, learn how those support items were previously resolved by human personnel and then recommend courses of action to IT support workers. Automated help desks can also prioritize incoming support tickets by analyzing the sentiment of the users. Based on that analysis and observing past support resolution patterns, the AI-enabled ITSM systems are able to help identify the best person capable of handling an incoming ticket.
These intelligent support systems can also help facilitate support tickets by analyzing images that might be attached to any support issues and detecting what is contained in those images. Pictures attached to a support ticket can be analyzed against pictures from past tickets to identify patterns and find similar cases. This analysis provides for more strategic ticket reporting by identifying patterns of requests, resolutions, response times and behavior.
Furthermore, AI-based automated help desks can provide more strategic value by automatically documenting insights and findings in knowledge databases that support humans. These systems are also able to provide intelligent search across knowledge bases to help speed up problem resolution. AI systems can also provide risk analysis by gauging the potential risk of any fault -- and the resolution of that fault -- and producing the potential cost of any outage or potential unforeseen issue that a change might have on IT infrastructure.
There's no doubt that enterprises will continue to be dependent on IT in the near future. IT support managers can rest assured that their jobs remain secure as long as enterprises need IT. However, IT professionals might find that automated help desks will augment their role, enabling them to perform their jobs more efficiently, effectively and with greater customer satisfaction.