Intelligent CIO Europe Issue 10 - Page 98

t cht lk no reason why this same technology can’t be as useful in the office as it is at home. Business leaders believe AI is going to be fundamental in the future, with 72% terming it a ‘business advantage’ and by 2018, 45% of the fastest-growing companies in the world are due to ’employ’ more smart machines and virtual assistants than people, underscoring that the business opportunity is huge. The initial use of AI-based assistants at work might not be through voice-based technology, as some people may be reticent to speak out loud and it could be disruptive to the work environment to have five ‘Alexas’ talking at once. However, intelligent text-based services – or ‘chatbots’ – are already taking off, providing the autonomy to employees to solve their own problems, rather than having to rely on other people or departments. This includes handling HR enquiries such as holiday requests or an IT 98 INTELLIGENTCIO issue like reporting a broken printer. This helps to take the pressure off service desks and other departments, while ensuring that employees have access to services 24/7. Working with cloud-based service management Chatbots of this kind are typically integrated into existing cloud-based service management applications. Service management tools create common processes to evaluate, process and track demands, based on structured workflow approaches. IT departments have led the way in developing this technology, through automated service management, which might provide things like the ability to order a new piece of equipment in a self-service portal or log a support request and get notifications about its progress. However, other departments are now starting to catch up in the automation of internal service provision as the same principles apply, whether it’s the responsibility of HR, facilities, marketing, or finance. The introduction of AI adds further friendliness and takes even more pressure away from service delivery staff, empowering employees to help themselves. Three key examples of this are as follows: User-enabled IT support When it comes to employee frustrations, IT problems frequently top the list. Many find when they have a problem it can take a long time for it to be resolved. In recent years, many organisations have made some headway by using IT service management (ITSM) platforms to deliver a better service to employees. But even then, in most cases these rely on ‘to and fro’ conversations or require an engineer to be sent to fix the problem. Even if it is easier to have these conversations, it still doesn’t negate the need for them.