Cognitive and AI technologies are getting ready to leave the hype behind and move into primetime.
As a 2017 Deloitte survey found, “early adopters are bullish on cognitive and AI technologies, with expectations that they will transform both companies and entire industries.” Deloitte’s 2018 follow-up report, “State of AI in the Enterprise,” declared that the excitement’s not over: Survey respondents are still passionate about cognitive technologies, and “their companies are investing in foundational cognitive capabilities, and using them with more skill.”
That last word, “skill,” is critical. Some enterprises may learn the hard way that cognitive success requires significant planning and ongoing effort. The honeymoon for AI is over, according to Forrester, and that means enterprises must now face the challenges head-on. As the report says: “Success at artificial intelligence means hard work—treat it like a plug-in panacea and fail.”
Paving the way for cognitive and AI
All of this holds true for IT service management. Cognitive is set to transform how enterprises handle service management, but that doesn’t make it a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. Cognitive service management certainly has its benefits—but it doesn’t come without challenges.
Before we get too far, let’s briefly define terms. Some organizations use cognitive and AI interchangeably. At BMC, we think of cognitive as an umbrella term for various related yet distinct technologies and disciplines, including AI, machine learning, RPA (Robotic Process Automation), and deep learning.
As Deloitte describes in its definition, these are “technologies that can perform and/or augment tasks, help better inform decisions, and create interactions that have traditionally required human intelligence, such as planning, reasoning from partial or uncertain information, and learning.”
The benefits of cognitive
As AI becomes foundational across the enterprise and in our daily lives, IT organizations will need to evolve to meet new expectations for service delivery. The next generation of service management will embrace and integrate cognitive technologies. We call it cognitive service management.
This new approach offers vast potential benefits for both end users and service desk agents. End users get more personalized, intelligent, and conversational experiences that deliver better outcomes, faster. Just as a user can ask their smartphone assistant for help with various day-to-day tasks, they can now also have a similar experience with the service desk, asking a chatbot for help with, say, a password reset—and receiving that help quickly with no need for human intervention. That’s a recipe for high customer satisfaction.
For service desks and agents, cognitive means automating many of the lower-level tasks—such as password resets—that take up too much of their time. This boosts agent productivity and redirects their valuable time toward higher-value work, especially as other emerging technologies such as IoT appear poised to create new waves of service management needs.
It’s not just about password resets, either. As another example, AI could enable an IT organization to automate certain types of change requests depending on the content of tickets.
The cognitive era is here, but AI isn’t a cure-all
As the Forrester report mentioned above stated, treating AI like a “plug-in panacea” is a recipe for failure. AI is not a magic pill.
Organizations must make good decisions about how to limit the scope of AI decision-making. Consider the change-request automation scenario: This shouldn’t eliminate the human element—some requests will always require a person’s approval. But it’s up to the organization to decide the parameters of what, when, who, and how.
There’s also a global AI skills gap. You need qualified people who can properly train your AI, but they’re in short supply.
Finally, integrating new cognitive and AI capabilities with legacy systems can be particularly complex, yet many enterprises have significant investments in these critical systems and won’t be leaving them behind any time soon.
Let BMC Helix help you get on the fast track
BMC Helix is working hard to help organizations alleviate those challenges. Here’s how:
- Intuitive tools enable teams to train the embedded cognitive capabilities in BMC’s solutions and control the scope of AI decision-making.
- BMC’s solutions are powerful but don’t require a developer or data scientist to manage. For example, our chatbot and agent automations can be configured and trained by a business analyst. Our chatbot application configuration and training is UI-based—no coding necessary. Auto-categorization training has a simple AI that also does not require coding. Similarly, the IBM Watson Assistant tool does not require development skills, either. This helps alleviate the current AI skills crisis that hinders many organizations.
- We’ve already done the work of integrating chatbot and agent automation with our solutions, so you don’t have to. And if you want to connect with external systems, our integration services make it easy to do so.
All of this means you’re on a faster path to the next generation of enterprise service management. Cognitive and AI will improve accuracy and speed of resolutions while automating low-level tasks and reducing costs.
This is no longer the stuff of futuristic hype. The time for cognitive service management is now.
BMC’s solutions help achieve the potential of cognitive service management while mitigating key challenges.
Learn more about how BMC is empowering the future of service.
These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.