Does your organisation need a chatbot or a digital agent? Three important distinctions
Conventional ITSM solutions are finding it difficult to cope up with today’s business needs. Complex public, private and hybrid cloud infrastructures add hundreds of thousands of endpoints to the network, and they all must be managed. More is being demanded of IT professionals at the same time that IT talent is hard to find. Organisations are in search of new ways to provide excellent customer service and meet their service level agreements (SLAs).
AI is being touted as the answer for many of today’s ITSM issues. This has worked in the consumer arena, as Siri, Alexa and other voice assistants have become part of everyday life. Companies like HSBC and Bank of America have jumped on the trend, launching digital financial assistants Amy and Erica, respectively. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The same is true for the IT Management market as well.
Voice assistants and chatbots are not all alike, though. Neither is all AI. There’s a difference between hype and reality when it comes to chatbot/digital assistant solutions. Let’s look at how AI done the right way can actually elevate your chatbot to a true digital colleague by comparing and contrasting typical chatbots and digital agents.
Scripts versus natural language
Not all chatbots are AI-driven. Scripted chatbots with pre-programmed logic and flows are not really based on AI. These chatbots are following a pre-determined flow of questions and answers, which means they are not actually “intelligent.”
However, a true AI-based digital agent can interact with users in natural language. They can understand to various ways an end user is discussing their service request or incident and understand the intent behind what the user is saying. By continuously learning and dynamically mapping the user’s intent to Service Catalog items as digital agents evolve, there is no need to write code or engage professional services.
Level of personalisation
Organisations deploy chatbots to perform many different functions, from technical help to scheduling appointments and even assisting with sales and marketing efforts by signing users up for webinars or newsletters, for instance. The better chatbots provide basic personalisation, but it’s just that – basic.
AI-based digital agents have the advantage of using natural language interaction, which can lead to the discovery of unaddressed needs of end-users, increasing usage scope and user satisfaction. This goes beyond personalisation to actually revealing specific underlying needs. They can also understand user context and use it customise their interaction with end users.
General-purpose versus purpose-built
Chatbots are frequently layered on top of service desk solutions as general-purpose helpers and can sometimes provide users with knowledge articles if the end users’ questions exactly match the pre-determined workflow of Q&A.
However, a digital agent that focuses fully on ITSM or ESM (enterprise service management) problems is specifically designed for these applications. They are often coupled with automation to resolve end user issues instantaneously. This better focus leads to higher accuracy. Essentially, a digital agent is trained to be more like a specialised role based human IT worker. For this reason, it is able to solve a large percentage of problems through end-to-end automation quickly.
Proceed with caution
AI has great benefits to offer the ITSM sector, but discernment is necessary. “Chatbot” and “AI” are not interchangeable terms; the differences between a standard script-driven chatbot and an AI-enabled digital agent are significant. Digital agents can communicate naturally and detect underlying intent that leads to greater personalisation and higher levels of productivity and user satisfaction. This helps organisations save money, meet their SLAs and create happy users, all of which contribute to success.
Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.
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