AI in service management: the investment case

Part 1: Headcount

There’s a revolution happening in service management, as the application of artificial intelligence transforms processes and outcomes. As service management specialists, KTSL has direct insight into how the sector is changing, as well as the different ways new value will be created and costs reduced, as CTO Aaron Perrott explains.

Machine learning is now at a level where it is having a significant impact on traditional helpdesk functions. Many of the roles of Problem Managers or Service Analysts are starting to be performed using AI. The technology can also provide a volume of trend identification beyond even the hardest-working support staff.

There’s no hiding from the fact that the ‘rise of the machines’ will have a significant impact on service management jobs. However, it’s not necessarily a zero-sum game between management and workforce.

Increased value

Much of the human effort that used to be expended on data mining can now be focused on higher value work. Staff that used to spend their days crawling through reports and tickets are now freed to work on problem management analysis or assessing business impacts. Instead of fire-fighting, the IT department will shift to a more analytic and strategic role (a point I’ll return to in a later post).

That’s not to shy away from the fact that there are huge potential cost savings in terms of headcount. The rise of AI will lead to a significant reduction in entry-level IT support jobs, and as the adoption of machine learning increases, the reduction in lower-level roles will increase. If you consider that on average a single Problem Manager has a fully-loaded cost of approximately £65k per year, you can see that there are significant potential savings in terms of operational expenditure.

One of our clients at KTSL has recently realised efficiency savings of 50% by implementing AI, purely in terms of their problem management function, but as I’ll explain in my next post, the savings AI enables are much broader than that.

Summary: Implementing AI is not simply about reducing headcount, it is also about generating higher value from your IT function.

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Aaron Perrott
Aaron PerrottCTO