muddu-newsletter-updatedIn my last article for HMG Strategy, I wrote "How AIOps will reshape Cloud & IT and business processes by automating and enhancing IT operations through the use of machine learning and analytics, and identify and respond to Cloud/IT operational issues in real-time."

Looking ahead, there's a revolution heading toward customer and IT support - a revolution that will be AI-driven and strengthened by a cloud-first approach. CIOs will be asked to monitor and manage more application while maintaining same resources and with lower budget. This is where technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and the cloud will play a crucial role to make Enterprise Service Management intelligent, responsive and effective.

IT Service management is being disrupted because of tectonic industry revolutions: Cloud, AI/ML and Digital transformation. The top three trends reshaping the future of IT help desk and Service Desk are:

  1. Customer Satisfaction and User Experience
  2. Automation and Self-Service including Agent Augmentation
  3. Significant Cost Reduction

I call this trend as Autonomous IT Help Desk or AI-driven Service Management (AISM). IT Help Desk / Service Desk will witness an incredible amount of disruption over the next few years; everything will move towards self-service and personalized experience.

Next-generation Customer Support and ITSM will see four major areas of disruption: proactive, predictive, prescriptive, and personalization and these will address the challenges encountered by customers, users and service agents. 

Automation will play a central role in ITSM going forward. For instance, if you're having a problem with SharePoint, why wait for an agent when the issue can be resolved automatically. AI-drive Service Management (AISM) will set the stage for a consumer-grade experience for each and every user within an enterprise. AISM solutions can provide proactive major incident or problem notification for Cloud and DevOps infrastructures. AISM will help with predicting outages, so enterprises can proactively act of early warning signals to avoid business impact. Another aspect where automation will play a key role will be called service agent argumentation and intelligence. AISM technology will help with automating ticket/case creation, closing, categorizing, and routing tickets to the right agent. In addition, it will accelerate root-cause analysis by correlating logs, alerts, tickets etc. 

It's pretty evident that every organization is investing to improve customer and user experiences. This requires a re-invention of the entire lifecycle of customer support, from processes to workflow and products. AI and the cloud will make ITSM considerably more agile and efficient while it will remove the majority of the current complex workflows. Also, CIOs need to have an AI/ML and data-focused group with a CDO leader, where they will start investing time in analyzing customer experience. 

Legacy ITSM solutions requires a fundamental change, especially when Millennials expect intelligent, personalized, and mobile-first solutions. If we can build self-driving cars and automated trading platforms, then why can't we build an intelligent AI help desk? Legacy ITSM solutions are reactive, manual and backward-looking rearview mirror techniques. CIOs are demanding forward-looking, windshield-view solutions that anticipate and address cloud, IT, apps that users need in a proactive and predictive manner. 

As a broader consumerization of IT takes shape, users are demanding intelligent interfaces such as Alexa, Cortana, and Siri for enterprise customer support and service. Traditional approaches to support requesting users to fill out forms and await a response from a service technician will be completely disrupted.  Users want enterprises to deliver personalized and targeted customer service and support just like the ecommerce/retail and Ad-Tech industries are able to offer.

All organizations, consumer and enterprise companies, are recognizing that delivering and offering a superior customer experience and service is a key primary driver for competitive differentiation and to retain customers and users. As a result, Global 5000 companies are putting significant investments and resources toward the creation and protection of experience-based customer value with next-generation IT service management solutions.

Consumers want enterprises to deliver personalized and targeted customer service and support just like the ecommerce/retail and Ad Tech industries are able to offer.  In the next era of customer support, consumers and users expect enterprises to do real-time monitoring to detect and prevent product or service disruptions with proactive and preemptive actions. Predictive and prescriptive solutions can derive loyalty and consistent behavior experience, which will keep the customers engaged and connected to the brand or enterprise. 

These capabilities are already coming to fruition. Forrester predicts that AI will make decisions and provide instructions at 20% of companies this year and will increasingly be used to deliver visual experiences.