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IPsoft 2019 Predictions: Five AI-Based IT Trends for 2019

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

Contributed by Allan Andersen, Director of Enterprise Solutions, IPsoft

Five AI-Based IT Trends for 2019

With much of the public focused on how Artificial Intelligence is changing their consumer and home lives, many of the world's most interesting AI-based enterprise use cases have gone largely unnoticed. Everyone knows that AI can play chess, or write an email based on verbal commands, but not everyone fully appreciate how powerful AI can be as a business tool. We see that changing significantly starting in 2019 as enterprise uses for AI become more prevalent and visible.

In this article, we detail five key predictions about enterprise AI in 2019 and how these innovations will impact corporate employees and by extension the public at large. These predictions share some commonalities in terms of how AI can take traditional IT tools and technologies -- such as email, IT operations platforms, mobile applications and others - and make them more powerful. These examples of enterprise AI in action may not generate the flashiest headlines next year compared to consumer-based AI applications. Nonetheless, enterprise AI is poised to change the very future of work, providing employees with tools that will make them more knowledgeable, communicative, collaborative and satisfied.

The Year AIOps Meets ChatOps

In the coming decade, the overwhelming majority of large enterprises will employ both digital colleagues and virtual engineers to field and perform complex queries and tasks, such as executing multi-system automations, and even creating new automations on their own. However, 2019 will be the year that enterprises begin to infuse AI-based digital colleagues into chat-based IT Operations or ChatOps.

By combining these two methods of working, digital colleagues will start to profoundly change how work in IT operations is being coordinated, streamlined and executed. Instead of an IT ops manager scrolling through a list of incoming requests, a digital colleague will process every request immediately, resolve simple issues autonomously (i.e., long-running queries impacting database performance), and diagnose and escalate unresolved issues to the most appropriate human engineers (e.g., "Wireless router has intermittent connectivity issues.").

Enterprises Look to the Spoken Word for Email

Just to be clear: Email is obviously still important for businesses. A report from the McKinsey Global Institute states that the average worker spends 28% of their work week on email. But studies also show that this isn't necessarily the most productive use of workers' time. Conversational dialogue-driven AI, like text messaging, chat tools and social media before it, will be the next technology to eat into email's market share. Simply speak a message to an employee through an AI-enabled interface and AI will deliver it via chat. Ask a question about HR policies, and AI will answer it on its own, bypassing the need to send yet another email to the HR department. Email in its current form will begin to be limited to very specific use cases as companies next year look to dialogue - captured, translated and understood by AI -- as a better intercompany form of regular communication.

AI Empowers the No-Collar Workforce

The traditional white-collar office consisting of full-time employees gathered at a central physical location is gradually becoming viewed as old fashioned. The modern workforce is increasingly made up of remote, contract and part-time employees who, in many cases, collaborate virtually. It's an ascendant model that Deloitte's Anthony Abbattista described as the No-Collar Workforce during this year's IPsoft Digital Workforce Summit.

The No-Collar Workforce is not just about employees working from home or remotely. It provides enterprises access to an expanded global talent pool and the ability to build flexible teams to address specific or short-term business needs. However, this emerging system of work also comes with many challenges, such as providing agile, flexible and intuitive employee services spread out across numerous time zones - and AI is a technology perfectly suited to address all of those areas. In 2019, new solutions powered by AI will accelerate No-Collar Workforce adoption.

The Age of the Employee

Business users starting next year will begin to see a dramatic change overall in how they use technology, driven primarily by cognitive AI interfaces that simplify, automate and consolidate application usage. This will usher in The Age of the Employee, during which enterprises will deploy AI-focused technologies for internal stakeholders in order to impact productivity and company growth.

Thanks to open APIs and custom-built integrations, many of the most popular business tools are capable of interfacing directly with one another, with an open sharing of data and the ability to run automatic processes between systems. This can cut down how much data entry humans are required to perform. However, many corporate workers still must access separate systems for each tool: To file expense reports, employees open System A. To take a day off, open System B. To register a new prospect, access System C.

When all of these tools are integrated end-to-end via cognitive AI, employees are capable of orchestrating processes across different line-of-business tools-all via spoken commands and phrases. In fact, true cognitive AI fronting autonomic workflows should be capable of completing multiple steps in an application or process based on a simple human utterance, such as "Email me all team expenses this month," so long as it has access to all necessary data on the back-end. The AI system can also engage in further dialogue to ensure it's collecting the appropriate information, like "Do you want expenses for team members in the US or globally?"

We expect more enterprises starting next year will begin to see the potential benefits in employee productivity and efficiency (not to mention worker satisfaction) that can be achieved when a cognitive front-end integrates whatever back-end systems that users need to do their jobs. Single utterance complete 15 steps in an app

Conversational, AI-Powered Search Goes Mainstream - dialogue based and intuitive

20K, prompt more questions, having the ability to be guided, not just one single question, guided search, having a dialogue with someone to help you choose a car, move to the end

AI has already impacted search by helping companies like Google and Microsoft optimize algorithms to display the most relevant content for users' search phrases. Additionally, voice assistants have provided people will a quick, hands-free way to find a specific product or service. Within the next year, a new form of search - firmly rooted in dialogues between users and intuitive AI -- will begin to transform how searches are conducted and how responses are delivered.

Here's how it will work: A customer named Mary has never purchased a car, and doesn't know which models and features make sense for her. Mary will work with a conversation-based search tool to have a human-to-software conversation. The conversation will start with Mary asking a basic question: "Where can I buy a used car for less than $20,000?"

A conversational search engine, powered by AI, will begin a dialogue with Mary by asking very open-ended questions such as:

  • Would you like me to help you find a car?
  • How concerned are you about gas mileage?
  • Are you interested in a hybrid vehicle?

Based on Mary's answers, the search tool will continue with dialogue-driven interactions (not just mere Web surfing), guiding her through potential care models and dealerships based on her responses, and indeed anticipating her responses in some cases. Mary can also interject with specific questions and statements to ensure that her exact needs and requirements are being considered, as AI-powered search will have access to all models' technical specifications. Mary will be prepared to make a much more informed decision about her purchase compared to the information that traditional search engines would provide, thanks to a conversational, dialogue-driven approach.

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About the Author

 

Allan Andersen, Director of Enterprise Solutions, IPsoft

Allan Andersen is director of enterprise solutions at IPsoft, where he serves as a product strategist and management leader for strengthening existing and innovating new solutions that generate revenue growth. Within this role, Allan helps deliver new products to market from concept to delivery - offering world leading autonomic and cognitive solutions to automate IT and business processes for enterprises across a wide range of industries. Prior to IPsoft, Allan served as senior advisor of product management for CA Technologies.
Published Thursday, January 17, 2019 7:20 AM by David Marshall
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