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How AI and Automation Are Joining Forces to Transform ITSM

There are multiple reasons that tried-and-true IT management methods are not as useful or helpful as they once were. The talent skills gap, productivity problems, and expense are some of the factors. Though it may seem like a money-saving strategy to retain legacy infrastructure, in the long run, this strategy incurs higher maintenance costs. At the same time, there are now hundreds of thousands of assets and endpoints for IT staff to manage.

Any one of these reasons would be difficult on its own; together, they require a whole new paradigm for IT management to be successful going forward. That’s why many organizations are turning to Artificial Intelligence, Automation, and Machine Learning. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning offer a lot of opportunities to address these dueling situations and help improve IT service management overall. Let’s examine the challenges that organizations are facing with respect to IT operations, as well as examples of how IT managers and directors can implement AI to improve their operations.

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New Possibilities with AI, ML and Automation

A little over a decade ago, multiple technological changes occurred that paved the way for the widespread use of AI and Machine Learning: a reduction in the need for computing power, inexpensive parallel computing and the arrival of the huge datasets needed to train AI. Organizations can now create Systems of Intelligence that address business challenges and objectives. For IT and Enterprise Service Management, this includes objectives like improved customer experience, increased employee productivity, optimized operations, and reduced risk.

The potential impact of these technologies is significant. According to Forrester Research, by next year (2020), businesses that use AI and other emerging technologies will capture $1.2 trillion a year from their peers who don’t. Similarly, Gartner predicts that in 2021, AI augmentation will generate $2.9 trillion in business value and recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity.

Multiple Benefits of AI-Driven Automation

Whenever new technologies emerge, confusion is bound to occur at first. The terms “Automation” and “AI” are often used interchangeably, but there are significant differences between the complexity level of both systems. Automation, as the name suggests, is about automating certain manual tasks in a repetitive, error-free manner without human intervention. Automation is basically making a hardware or software that can do things automatically — without human intervention.

John McCarthy defined artificial intelligence in 1956 quite differently: to make machines emulate human activities by use of language, form, abstractions, and concepts, to solve problems typically reserved for humans, and to improve themselves.

When combined, AI and Automation deliver business advantages. AI makes the decisions and Automation executes the actions in a repeatable manner. Together they can bring many benefits to ITSM:

  • Greater productivity: AI-driven automation can eliminate complexity and increase enterprise productivity.
  • Improved customer experience: Deliver better, faster, personalized experiences to delight end-users and ensure that SLAs are consistently met.
  • Increased execution speed: AI-powered automation works much faster than people and produces output 24×7 without the need for breaks and planned or unplanned absences.
  • Lower IT operations cost: By reducing the workloads that need to be addressed by human agents, AI-powered automation creates financial savings.

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AI-Driven Automation In Practice

A real-life example of the benefits of AI-enabled ITSM comes from the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), which operates Toronto Pearson International Airport. Toronto Pearson serves almost 50 million passengers each year, making it Canada’s busiest airport. With only 1,600 of its 50,000 employees handling management, operations and IT, the workload was keeping team members from addressing some tickets in a timely manner.

GTAA has many disparate operational responsibilities and must address many daily challenges, including:

  • Ensuring seamless baggage service
  • Ensuring proper lightning warnings for flight landing
  • Eliminating downtime of digital kiosks that affect revenue streams
  • Maintaining flawless security measures like CCTV and Pass Control

To help improve its service, GTAA deployed an AI-based ITSM solution. The automated, rule-based workflow management that resulted ensures maintenance issues are addressed before they become passenger safety issues. The solution also enabled them to deliver enhanced customer experience, faster resolution of tickets and an improved CSAT.

GTAA gained greater operational insight through the solution’s enhanced reporting. This helped drive proactive and prescriptive problem management. A highly intuitive service desk screen has resulted in a First Call Resolution rate of up to 81%, and a fully automated employee onboarding and termination Service Catalogue has reduced the total cycle time substantially.

AI-Driven Automation: IT’s Rising Star

With the increasing network speeds and number of endpoints, IT needs have exceeded the human scale. Organizations must transition to machine scale or risk extinction. Artificial Intelligence, particularly when combined with Automation, is transforming IT management in several ways. It both improves or replaces existing manual processes and makes the management of IT tasks more intelligent. These improvements result in better management and use of assets, greater customer satisfaction and quicker ticket resolution, among other benefits.

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