Buyer's Handbook: Explore artificial intelligence in ITSM and the tool options Article 5 of 5

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An ITSM tool comparison for enterprises with an eye on AI

All AI-enabled ITSM tools aim to streamline and automate IT operations, but buyers must make the right selection to get the most out of these products.

ITSM vendors continue to add AI to their tools to augment IT staff, deflect contacts to the service desk and enable end users to be more self-sufficient. While these features might sound similar from one tool to the next, the ITSM products that offer them are as varied as the providers in the market, which range from traditional to emerging ITSM vendors.

Most AI-enabled ITSM systems feature some form of machine learning, but there are differentiators, such as the ability to deal with disparate data sets. These tools can incorporate data from a variety of IT tools, including those for network management and monitoring and alerting, to consolidate IT operations activities. Analytics is another area of differentiation; these products claim to predict outages, detect patterns in records and determine the probable root cause of an outage.

Nearly all of the vendors primarily focus on ITSM operational aspects, such as managing incidents and requests, interacting with users and analyzing problems.

Use this ITSM tool comparison, focused on AI capabilities, to choose the product that's best for your IT operational needs.


Product name: AI Service Management (AISM)

Products within the AISM category include AI Service Desk for IT and HR, AIOps for Cloud and DevOps, and AI-driven Customer Service.

The AISM platform is suitable for enterprises with hybrid and multi-cloud deployments, offering a conversational AI and automating actions and ticket classification and routing. The AIOps tool identifies behaviors and patterns based on alerts and incidents, and automates action workflows and root cause analysis. It provides a self-service conversational experience, automates ITSM and customer service management tasks, and offers outage predictions. AISM features hundreds of pre-built machine learning algorithms, models and workflows for intelligent task and action automation. It also offers over 2 million entities for IT and HR, based on machine learning models developed from millions of historical tickets, incidents, problems, changes and requests. These entities enable the natural language processing (NLP) engine to understand and interpret what is being requested of the platform.

Learning functionality is incorporated into the product -- the AI technology learns from IT and customer support agents, unstructured knowledge, tickets and users. AISM uses natural language understanding (NLU) for searches, as well as both supervised and unsupervised NLP engines as part of its AutoML platform to train and execute AI and machine learning models. The AutoML platform is also useful to train and score AI algorithms and models.

AISM also features out-of-the-box integrations with many leading ITSM tools, as well as integrations with other IT tools, such as identity and access management (IAM) systems, monitoring and alerting systems, knowledge base platforms, omnichannel interfaces, and robotic process automation (RPA) and workflow tools.

Licensing is by number of users.

The target market is enterprise customers with more than 5,000 employees, or commercial customers with more than 1,000 employees.

A free trial version is available, as well as free and paid pilots.

Ayehu Software Technologies

Product name: Ayehu NG

Ayehu NG is an AI-driven IT automation and orchestration platform that acts as a virtual support agent. It automatically classifies and profiles alerts and tickets, and then matches these tickets to a , to provide dynamic rule suggestions that trigger remediation workflows for unaddressed alerts. Ayehu will initiate automation across multiple environments -- both on premises and cloud -- to solve IT issues and ticket problems autonomously.

AI and machine learning functionality is built into the Ayehu Brain, which is the core the Ayehu NG workflow engine. Ayehu users can incorporate IBM Watson Assistant for NLP/NLU, as well as Amazon Lex for speech and text recognition.

The platform's agentless architecture requires no scripting or coding, and features pre-built activities and workflow templates. Ayehu NG also recommends activity suggestions based on best practices to help guide workflow construction.

Ayehu NG provides integration with nearly all leading ITSM platforms and network monitoring systems through its integration hub.

Licensing is based on the number workflow processes a customer chooses to automate and the number integrations defined for workflow orchestration across the environment.

The target market is midsize to large enterprises.

There is a 30-day free trial period.


Product name: BigPanda

Next on the list in this ITSM tool comparison is BigPanda, a SaaS offering that provides reporting features and a consolidated view of an IT environment to help with incident and problem management. Using metadata and enrichment data from an existing configuration management database, topology, change management and other tools, BigPanda normalizes and enriches IT alerts with contextual information, which enables noise reduction, correlation and root cause analysis.

BigPanda's unique version of machine learning is called Open Box Machine Learning (OBML), which uses "plain English" logic. Support teams can add tribal knowledge, develop and edit workflows, and run experiments using OBML.

BigPanda is delivered with a number of OOB and ad hoc reports, and it integrates with data warehouse and business intelligence tools to provide dashboard reports for IT executives, network operations center (NOC) managers and service owners. BigPanda provides integrations for several ITSM tools through its integration hub, as well as a REST API for integration of nonstandard tools.

Licensing is on a per-node basis.

The target market is enterprises with a centralized NOC or IT operations center that manages 2,000-plus nodes in North America or the U.K.

BigPanda offers no free trial period, but proof-of-concept engagements are available at little or no charge.

BMC Software

Product name: Helix

The Helix suite delivers what BMC calls cognitive service management to proactively and predictively discover, service and deliver omnichannel experiences. Tools in the suite include the following:

  • Helix ITSM delivers predictive service management through auto-classification, assignment and routing of incidents. It includes embedded, multi-cloud capabilities to broker incidents, changes and releases across cloud providers.
  • Helix Digital Workplace provides omnichannel conversational experiences for end users, beyond the various bots, all behind a single console.
  • Helix Discovery discovers assets and services across on-premises and multi-cloud environments.
  • Helix Chatbot provides conversational AI capabilities with tone and sentiment analysis, using NLP, natural language generation and NLU.
  • Helix Business Workflows designs workflows for IT and to other lines of business, such as HR, procurement and facilities.

The Helix platform runs in the cloud or in a hybrid model. Helix users can integrate it with other IT tools through REST APIs.

There are flexible licensing options, based on the chosen platforms.

The target market is enterprises.

All products have trial options available.

Espressive Inc.

Product name: Barista

Barista is a virtual support agent that aims to bring consumer virtual assistants into the workplace. Barista is a SaaS application, with new code deployed every three weeks. The tool is powered by what Espressive calls the Employee Language Cloud, a crowdsourced repository of over 15 million employee phrases across 4,000 topics, covering multiple enterprise departments like IT, HR, legal, finance and sales. Barista is not dependent on portals and knowledge-base articles.

The system learns every time a help desk agent answers a question and a user verifies that answer was correct. As Barista learns new phrases, topics and synonyms, it adds those items to the Employee Language Cloud -- with the exception being help desk interactions or responses with an organization's employees, neither of which are shareable. In the event that Barista cannot answer a question or resolve an issue, it uses machine learning to determine the appropriate resource for an answer, brings that resource into the conversation and learns from the answer.

To help organizations maximize awareness and drive adoption, Espressive provides Barista Awareness Campaigns. Organizations can choose the campaign that best fits the culture of their particular enterprise.

Barista supports omnichannel communications, which enables it to intercept employee questions through multiple channels, including phone, email, Slack, Microsoft Teams and QR codes. Its elastic architecture ensures employees get responses within three seconds, regardless of demand.

Licensing is per user, on an annual basis.

The target market is organizations with greater than 1,000 employees or those large enough to have a help desk and ITSM tool.

Espressive does not disclose whether it offers a trial period.


Product name: Zia

Available for ServiceDesk Plus cloud customers, Zia is a conversational virtual support agent developed by Zoho. ManageEngine is the enterprise IT management software division of Zoho Corp. Zia has been deployed in other Zoho products, such as Zoho CRM.

Zia works across different desktop and mobile interfaces and, with a mobile app, works with voice calls. Zia includes a set of pre-loaded actions that trigger simple service desk tasks using simple chat commands. The serverless Zia developer console offers development and production modes, making it easier for service desk teams to script and save custom Zia actions for immediate use.

Zia is free to use; ServiceDesk Plus platform users just have to enable. it. 

The target market is any market.

There is a 30-day free trial period available.

Editor's note: With extensive research into the ITSM tool market, TechTarget editors have focused this series of articles on vendors with considerable market presence and that offer ITSM tools with AI functionalities that can be classified as responsive, proactive, predictive and autonomous. Our research included Gartner, Forrester Research and TechTarget surveys.

Micro Focus

Product name: Service Management Automation X (SMAX)

SMAX provides out-of-the-box, automated service support for IT and non-IT processes, using AI and machine learning capabilities, including the following:

  • Smart ticket uses optical character and machine learning to automatically accept, classify and route service requests.
  • Virtual agent is a chatbot, complemented by live-chat or email integration.
  • Hot topic analysis uses search and analytics to enable service desk agents to view and analyze patterns in incidents, requests and other records.
  • Change Analytics drives change management by using prescriptive analytics to decrease change failures and reduce service outages.
  • Fast entity automatically recognizes a target configuration item in change, incident and request descriptions.

SMAX is available in two suite editions. SMAX Express focuses on just enterprise service management, while SMAX Premium incorporates service management and asset management, as well as enterprise service management.

AI is part of the core foundation of SMAX, so there are no additional modules or fees to access AI capabilities. Enterprises can deploy SMAX on premises, in the cloud or as a service, and it also features codeless configuration. SMAX provides support for 17 different languages.

Perpetual, subscription and pay-per-use (for managed service providers only) licenses are available; business end users are serviced for free on a 1- to 1000-named user ratio.

The target market ranges from large enterprises to midsize and smaller companies.

Free trial licenses are provided for up to three months for on-premises installations or for two weeks for SaaS installations.


Product name: Moogsoft AIOps

Moogsoft AIOps is an AI platform for IT operations that integrates ITSM tools with cloud management, performance monitoring and DevOps configuration management systems for real-time visibility and automated workflows. Moogsoft provides a single integrated view of events, regardless of origin, location or underlying infrastructure. It uses supervised and unsupervised learning to continually monitor and oversee performance metrics of a service, providing early detection and incidents.

Probable root cause is a machine learning process that identifies which alerts are responsible for causing a situation.

Moogsoft is usually deployed as a central console that the IT ops staff uses in a NOC or IT operations center, and features 60 OOB integrations, including for many leading ITSM tools. Moogsoft has patented 48 AI algorithms for data aggregation, probable root cause and visualization of real-time status of services.

Licensing is based on the number or volume of managed devices.

The target market: is Fortune 2000 enterprises and managed service providers.

There is a 30-day free trial available.

Serviceaide Inc.

Product name: Luma

Like some other products in this ITSM tool comparison, Luma is a virtual agent. Purpose built for ITSM, Luma uses machine learning and NLP to improve end user experiences and enhance help desk productivity. Luma's conversational interface enables end users to present their issues in their words, not in IT terms. Luma guides the end user to provide the necessary information to create a fully formed ticket. The tool also follows up with the end user to close a ticket once an issue is resolved, relieving the service desk agent of that task.

Luma is available as a SaaS platform, with new releases every six to eight weeks, and integrates with multiple ITSM tools. It offers 200 skills -- Serviceaide’s term for a conversation with an end user that results in a fulfillment action -- and 20 automated workflows out of the box.

Luma is licensed according to the number of conversations that trigger an action, such as answering an FAQ, creating an account or opening a ticket in the service desk tool. Each completed conversation is known as a "transaction." Transactions are typically available in blocks of 5000.

The target market is not disclosed.

There is no disclosed free trial period.


Product Name: ServiceNow

ServiceNow ITSM delivers all functionality within a single system of record on a single platform. With the Madrid release, ServiceNow capabilities include intelligent automation, machine-guided assistance, chatbots and virtual agents, supervised machine learning and Agent Workspace.

The Agent Workspace feature helps agents focus on issue remediation by providing AI-assisted answers, based on knowledge articles, problem records, incident records and major incident records that a similarity framework recommends. Virtual agents use a conversational UI available through the self-service portal, through a mobile client or through third-party chat platforms, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams. ServiceNow uses machine learning capabilities to classify and route tickets.

For ITSM customers, AI functionality is enabled with the ITSM Professional package.

The IntegrationHub feature allows ServiceNow to integrate with other platforms and data sets, and also enables customers to connect multiple systems and data without having to write any code.

AI features and capabilities are licensed with ITSM Professional package service.

The target market is enterprise and commercial accounts with at least 500 employees.

Free developer instances are available from the ServiceNow Developer portal, with no time limit and including all functionality.

SysAid Technologies Ltd.

Product Name: SysAid

SysAid is an ITSM platform available in two editions -- a basic edition that includes automation and analytics, and the full edition, which also includes AI functionality. In the full edition, SysAid provides a chatbot to respond to repetitive service requests and incidents, as well as an insight panel for service desk agents. The insight panel provides advanced analytical KPIs that help the agent identify trends and optimization opportunities and prioritize tickets. In addition, it includes a set of advanced automation capabilities and service orchestration.

SysAid features codeless configuration and is fully ITIL-aligned with templates to help customers mature their processes. IT admins can access integration for select monitoring and alerting, workload automation and log analytics systems.

Licensing is based on either number of agents or an Enterprise license.

The target market is midsize organizations.

A free trial of AI functionality is not available at this time.

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