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For the past decade, many IT departments have been on the defensive trying to keep pace with escalating end-user demands and competitive pressures. The emergence of ‘shadow IT’ as a major force within many enterprises raised questions about the role of IT in a cloud-first world.
Now, enlightened CIOs are exploring ways to employ artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to actively engage their IT teams as key players in the rapidly evolving digital transformation efforts within their organizations.
A growing number of IT departments have recognized that they have been unable to satisfy the rising expectations of end-users and corporate executives because they failed to successfully adopt IT service management (ITSM) tools and best practices in the past.
This failure not only resulted in inconsistent processes, but also the inability to collect and act on timely data in an effective fashion. Now that the stakes are rising further, many CIOs are acquiring a new set of cloud-powered ITSM solutions with greater AI and ML capabilities to improve their IT business processes and increase their effectiveness.
These topics and trends were openly discussed this week during ServiceNow’s NowForum in New York City. The company has been delivering cloud-based ITSM to address these issues for over a dozen years and used its NowForum multi-city tour to explain its approach to responding to today’s IT challenges and showcase its next generation of solutions that include additional AI and ML capabilities.
I was invited to attend the event by the company and was not only impressed with the overall turnout of over 2,000 attendees, but also the composition of the audience which was evenly split between IT professionals and representatives of other corporate functions, especially human resources (HR).
The unusual mix was a reflection of today’s macro-market trends and ServiceNow’s product marketing strategy. Every functional department within enterprises is being reshaped by technology. As a result, IT is a critical component in the success of every business function. In HR for instance, having the right systems in place sets the tone for the organization from the first day an employee arrives to the day they leave.
The way IT supports the on-boarding process and responds to daily helpdesk requests impacts it’s the employee experience and IT’s stature within the organization. And, in today’s world of tech savvy employees the expectation is that IT will offer seamless support and provide plenty of self-service alternatives which reduce the reliance on traditional trouble-ticket systems.
A recent survey of 500 CIOs worldwide commissioned by ServiceNow found that many expect AI and ML to power new automation capabilities that will significantly improve the quality and efficiency of their ITSM capabilities. Almost half (49%) of the CIOs surveyed say they are already using machine learning and another 40% are planning to.
Over half (52%) of respondents say they are moving beyond automating routine tasks, such as security alerts, to permit the automation of more complex service management decisions. More than two-thirds (69%) of the CIOs believe decisions made by machine learning will be more accurate than those made by humans.
Using AI and machine learning to improve ITSM, has given CIOs greater confidence to assert themselves into the digital transformation process taking place in many organizations. ServiceNow’s survey found more than half (52%) of the CIOs participating in the study agree that machine learning plays a critical role in the digitalization of business processes. As a result, nearly three-quarters (72%) are leading their company’s digital transformation efforts.
If this is true, IT is leveraging the latest AI/ML innovations to become a real enabler of business success.
About the author:
Jeff Kaplan is Managing Director of THINKStrategies