Artificial Intelligence Starts in the IT Department

If you need to show executives and department heads what AI can do for your company, IT automation is a great proof of concept.

According to a recent Spiceworks survey, the number of artificial intelligence projects is going to significantly increase throughout the remainder of 2018 and into 2019. Yet, within some business units, AI remains a mysterious and intimidating technology. So much so that AI is largely ignored by non-IT department decision makers -- even despite knowing it can produce significant strategic and cost saving benefits.

With so many business executives taking a negative view of AI, it looks as though it's up to the IT department to help promote AI technologies throughout the entire company. And, what better way to market a new technology than to use it within the IT department itself.

The same Spiceworks survey mentioned previously also shows that a large portion of IT departments (53%) are indeed using some form of AI to handle production tasks. If these AI projects are customer-facing, it provides a great way to show what artificial intelligence is capable of. Additionally, given that IT professionals are likely to understand current AI barriers and limitations, it makes for a decent proving ground -- while also safely capping expectations.

Given all that, you might be wondering where IT departments are successfully deploying AI?

Most are starting their AI journey by integrating chatbots and other intelligent assistance platforms into their daily tasks. If you haven't worked with the latest chatbot technologies available today, you may be quick to dismiss them as nothing more than a novelty. Yet, bots have made great strides over the past few years and are proving to be a great time saver. Within IT, chatbots are being used on the front lines, resting between end users and IT service desk professionals. AI bots and assistance platforms can be used to either streamline the ticket generating process by collecting, organizing and prioritizing service tickets -- or they can outright solve an end user's technical problem completely.

Either way, IT can save a tremendous amount of time and effort spent opening, solving and closing basic IT service desk tickets.

The automation of redundant tasks is another area of IT where AI is known to be beneficial. For example, your department's service desk can take advantage of AI to onboard and offboard end users to create/modify and delete the various user accounts and employee security access throughout the corporate infrastructure. Based on the information provided to the AI analytics engine, onboarding of multiple applications can be accurately executed in microseconds. Not only does this free up human service desk resources so they can focus on more strategic tasks, it also speeds up the processes. Remember, AI never sleeps.

On the infrastructure side of the IT department, AI is proving effective in terms of the proactive monitoring of infrastructure components. Examples include using AI to monitor WAN links for congestion, errors, or if there are any differences in traffic flows that may indicate network problems or data security risks. If detected, tickets can be created to have humans look more closely at the issue. Alternatively, more advanced AI applications can work to solve the issue by intelligently re-routing traffic across different network paths.

A second popular method to use AI in the infrastructure is to monitor virtual machine CPU, memory, and storage constraints. When thresholds are surpassed, AI can be used to automate the expansion/contraction of resources in private and public clouds, all while in real-time. While not nearly as visible to the rest of the business, this type of AI technology can be used in dynamically changing infrastructures to rapidly prove a return on investment. This is yet another key to get decision makers in other departments to consider using AI for their business processes.

Despite the fear and uncertainty surrounding artificial intelligence, 2018 and 2019 should be the time for most businesses to begin integrating it into their daily workflows. Because IT understands AI technology best – and because IT has plenty of valid use-case scenarios -- it’s the most logical place to start. Thus, if your IT department doesn’t yet have an AI project on the horizon, you may want to consider one in the near future.

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