What IT service desk managers need to know about AI

02.18.2019 | By SymphonyAI team

No matter where you looked, IT-media-wise, in 2018, there was probably some mention of artificial intelligence (AI). It might have been related to how AI is going to cure all of your IT service delivery and support ills. Or, nearly as likely, it shared a vision of AI taking jobs and leading us all toward a Terminator-like “people versus the robots” battle scenario.

Sadly, having read these, rather than receiving helpful information on how AI is going to improve your IT service desk’s operations, the delivered customer experience, and the lives of IT support staff, you were probably left none the wiser.

Plus, there was also a third technology-marketing-focused perspective being offered – that of AI-enabled capabilities being added to traditional IT management and IT service management (ITSM) tools. But again, how easy was it to cut through the hyperbole to understand what AI really means to your IT support operations right now and in the near future? Not to mention being able to understand if it’s truly new technology or something older being sold in a new skin.

So, it’s probably about time that you received some straight answers on what AI is and how it’s going to help you, your organization, and the people you work with. For example, across four key areas:

  1. What AI Is and Isn’t, and How It Will Help Your IT Service Desk (and Business)

As an IT service desk manager, you probably don’t want or need, to know the minutiae of how AI works (although you might if you have the time). But what you definitely do need to know is what it’s currently capable of doing (and achieving) and how this can be applied to IT support operations. Plus, of course, the likely benefits and the probable return on any additional investment that’s made in AI technology and the associated people and process changes.

The best people to explain this are the service and support managers who are already employing AI to make their IT support capabilities better (plus the ITSM tool vendors who are enabling them). There’s more on how to tap into this via (on which more details are available below).

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  1. How AI Capabilities Will Be Accessed (and Specifically Embedded Within ITSM Tools)

There are definitely a number of key opportunities for AI exploitation in IT support – with some common trends already appearing that are aimed at taking the manual overhead out of high-volume, low-value tasks. With some ITSM tool vendors adding in capabilities such as:

  • “Digital colleagues” (also called bots, chatbots, virtual assistants, cognitive assistants, digital agents, and other names)
  • Initial ticket processing
  • Providing context-based information and knowledge to both end users (who are seeking support) and IT support staff (who are seeking to quickly help others).

These early trends and product offerings are likely to be the first AI-based capabilities that your IT support team will benefit from – with the point of access being your existing, or perhaps new, ITSM tool (and vendor). And, by the time we run them, we’ll be able to share some new’ data on chatbot adoption in particular.

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  1. How AI Will Affect Day-to-Day IT Support Operations (and, Importantly, Our People)

A killer question for most IT support managers and their teams is whether AI is going to remove IT service desk roles and the people that currently fill them.

An important point to note here, based on adoption patterns, is that AI is currently helping with tasks, not replacing specific IT support roles. It’s the augmentation of existing human capabilities and vastly different from the media stories of AI being a job killer for IT and IT support in particular.

Back in mid-2017, an survey showed that most ITSM professionals’ thinking was in line with this (although some would argue it was wishful thinking) – with only 16% of survey respondents viewing the adoption of AI-based capabilities as a serious job killer in IT. The latest version of the survey will offer an updated view, and this will be shared in.

It’s also important to recognize that there are also other important people-based implications of AI to consider. For instance, that if AI is handling many of the simpler issues and requests, then this will directly impact the type of contacts received by the IT service desk, i.e. they will be left with the trickier ones. Which will, in turn, impact a number of things – from the required skills and capabilities of service desk analysts to the metrics and targets employed to monitor and manage IT-support performance.

This will likely be an area of multi-perspective discussion during.

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  1. What Your ITSM Peers Are Doing with AI

At the moment, it can be hard to gauge who’s doing what with AI – with you perhaps thinking that everyone else is already on board with AI? Or maybe the reverse, and that all the AI hype is akin to the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes. But many of us look to others in forming our own opinions.

It’s therefore important to understand more about AI adoption levels and patterns. In particular, whether it will be the largest or smallest of companies that embrace AI first. Whether certain industries will be early adopters. And whether IT will forgo its own needs to help other parts of the organization first (the cobbler’s children effect).

It will be interesting to see how HDI and research is seeing AI-adoption progress, while also understanding how certain organizations are succeeding with specific AI-enabled IT support capabilities.

Register for the webinar

If you would like to find out more, then please join with me for, where industry analysts and service and support managers will talk about how AI can help with the pressures and expectations of modern IT support. In particular, touching on how AI is being integrated into ITSM tools and the impact that this will have on IT support capabilities – spanning people, process, and technology – in the near future.

The webinar – hosted by HDI – will feature a panel discussion followed by time for attendee Q&A and will take place on. The webinar is, of course, free to attend and you can register. We hope that you can join us.

Also, if you have a specific question or challenge related to AI that you’d like to see addressed within the webinar, please post your queries in the comments section of this blog and we’ll ensure our panel of industry authorities take the time to address your questions and concern

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