DevOps / Machine Learning / Tools / Sponsored / Contributed

The Benefits of AI for Service and Operations Management

3 Nov 2021 10:31am, by

Margaret Lee
Margaret is senior vice president and general manager of Digital Service and Operations Management for BMC Software Inc. She has P&L responsibility for the company’s full suite of BMC Helix solutions for IT service management and IT operations management.

IT service and operations management teams are expected to provide exceptional experiences, yet they must do so while grappling with the sheer complexity of the infrastructure, volume of information and events in their environment.

Picture this: Users accustomed to seamless operations in other business areas tend to open a help desk ticket as the last resort and find calling helplines burdensome.

At the same time, IT service desks often field requests for the same issues, over and over, with about 80 percent of their time spent on a narrow subset of issues like resetting passwords. As a result, they are overwhelmed by the volume of incoming requests while lacking the resources or the information they need to operate efficiently.

While IT staffers find themselves frustrated with monotonous and repetitive tasks, their managers encounter high costs to deliver these services, often driven by an over-reliance on manual processes and duplication of effort.

Executives who manage service and operations teams often find themselves in situations where they don’t know the entirety of their environment, forcing them to react to incidents after they occur. This leads to service delays, disruptions or outages. They are also expected to provide exceptional service experiences while struggling with a complex infrastructure, as well as increasing volume of data and events in their environment.

To meet internal and external expectations, IT teams need to add a new layer of intelligence on top of core IT service management functions that will boost the productivity of IT staff and encourage self-service by IT users. This is where AI service management (AISM) comes in.

Toward Predictive, Proactive and Scalable IT Service

AISM leverages artificial intelligence to detect clusters of recurring events, identify root causes and reduce the time spent investigating and resolving incidents. AISM puts organizations on a proactive footing with intelligent automation that enables faster and more accurate service while reducing cost. These cost savings are recognized through the flexibility and scalability of operations, which significantly reduce the infrastructure and people costs associated with routine requests. Those account unlock requests can be deflected, allowing end users to make requests by chatbot or text message, which are handled by automation.

The benefits of AI for IT are not confined to service management. A recent BMC-commissioned Hanover Research survey revealed that 69 percent of companies are applying AI to their IT service management and IT operations management processes, a combination referred to as ServiceOps. As a result, these organizations realize even greater operational efficiencies. The top use cases: predictive alerting (60%), root cause analysis (56%), event prioritization (55%), predicting outages (54%), and service desk ticketing (50%).

Beyond handling events and fixing problems faster, or preventing them altogether, the concept of ServiceOps serves those looking to improve on their DevOps processes and increase agility. The Hanover survey also states that AISM paired with AIOps supports DevOps initiatives, through improved change management capabilities.

Embracing Tech-Enabled Disruption

Forward-looking enterprises today exist in a feedback loop of tech-enabled disruption, constantly evolving to gain competitive advantage and adapt to their competitors’ moves. To stay ahead, the typical large organization manages 350,000 tickets per year.

The volume of change presents significant challenges to infrastructure and operations, which must determine whether the changes made are correct or will negatively affect performance downstream. But it also puts enormous strain on service management, increasing demands for advanced capabilities to dynamically discover assets, efficiently manage operations, continuously optimize resources and manage tickets intelligently.

In this environment, it’s easy to miss the big picture. IT teams might think they are solving for better uptime or faster IT ticket handling. Those are important metrics, but they should not lose sight of the business purpose. Yes, uptime and ticket management are critical KPIs. But now, more than ever, CIOs are expected to marshal their resources to transform the business. This expectation applies to service management as well.

Organizations need to supply a seamless experience for customers and employees. They need to do so quickly, efficiently and at the highest quality, while constantly adapting as new applications and services enter the environment. AI can help reduce the service management toil and better serve customers through intelligent self-service, while solving problems faster.

Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels.