Artificial intelligence is talked about constantly, and voice technology is nothing new. Both have changed the way people live.

AI and machine learning (ML) have become the talk of the IT service management (ITSM) industry as well. Vendors have started implementing ML algorithms in their ITSM tools for functions like automatically categorizing tickets, predicting anomalies or suggesting solutions for user issues.

But given the advances made in technology each day, AI and ML could do a lot more than just these functions. As time goes by, AI could potentially replace the conventional IT service desk — the single physical point of contact between IT staff and end users. This doesn’t mean that IT staffs will disappear, but it could enable them to shift their attention to other roles.

Here’s how AI could take over a few major functions in IT service management:

Aiding technicians with designing ITSM processes and decision-making
Technicians could get assistance as AI and ML use previous experience in this redesign process. The effects of AI could be felt across various ITSM modules, including:

  • Service request management: Auto-approvals and custom workflows for service requests to improve the quality of service delivery.
  • Incident and problem management: Proactive problem prediction and prevention to reduce service disruptions and the number of repeat incidents.
  • Change management: Real-time and dynamic change workflows for risk-free change implementations.
  • Asset management: Intelligent asset life cycle management to reduce outages due to poor asset performance.

The hope is that all of these can help increase the efficiency of IT service teams so workers can focus on other aspects of their jobs.

Intelligently handling IT requests and incidents through virtual assistants
AI could potentially slowly diminish the need for a physical service desk team. It might not happen soon, but it’s not difficult to imagine end users resetting a malfunctioning router or getting software installed through virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa.

ITSM tool vendors may even develop their own proprietary AI-based virtual assistants that could perform these IT tasks. With virtual assistants already integrated into many services like weather updates and personal calendars, it won’t be long before these assistants start communicating with IT service desks, becoming the first and single point of contact for company IT pros.

As threatening as that may sound for service desk personnel, this could actually be a boon for IT. Remember the days of IT service desk coordinators, when the process of categorizing, prioritizing and assigning tickets was done manually?

With ITSM automation, techs would potentially no longer spend time on these tasks and can focus on more critical duties that require their attention. Similarly, with intelligent virtual IT assistants taking care of activities like L1 tickets, IT firefighting and other regular IT chores, IT teams can concentrate on activities that have a positive impact on the business, like planning and executing critical IT changes and accelerating IT’s role toward digital transformation in business.

Will IT service desks disappear with continued advancements in artificial intelligence? Probably. We’re seeing some very practical and immensely useful ways smart voice technology can be applied to improve enterprise operations.

Service desks may not remain a separate entity but might instead become an integrated part of everyday gadgets and applications in the form of intelligent chat bots and virtual assistants that deliver services and fix issues (with some human assistance whenever necessary, of course).

Get ready, because this is just the beginning of a whole new enterprise.

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