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Espressive 2019 Prediction: The Year When AI Will Enable ITSM to Finally Shift Left

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

Contributed by Pat Calhoun, CEO and founder, Espressive

2019 is the Year When AI Will Enable ITSM to Finally Shift Left

Customers traditionally have used IT Service Management (ITSM) tools to improve back office processes. More recently, IT set its sights on further embracing digital transformation by engaging employees via an effort to shift left. These efforts have largely failed as traditional self-help tools, such as portals and knowledge base articles, have been rejected by employees - resulting in an ever-growing call and email volume to service desks.

In 2018, enterprises began to look at AI to improve the employee experience in an attempt to reboot their shift left initiatives. There were two main approaches to delivering an AI-based ITSM experience, but both fell short of expectations.

1.  Toolkits - Some ITSM vendors provided toolkits and frameworks that enabled organizations to build chatbots, as well as third-party tools like Watson or The issue these presented was expertise, time and money. A company would need to hire an army of linguists, AI experts and data scientists to build and support an app that delivered a consumer-like AI experience.

2.  Google-like searchbots - A number of vendors introduced chatbots that provided a Google-like algorithm to enable a more efficient search of existing knowledge base articles. However, these "searchbots" failed because they relied on a knowledge base foundation that most organizations did not have, and employees had already voted against.

In 2019, Espressive predicts that AI for employee self-help will advance from toolkits and searchbots to pre-built consumer-like apps that will help employees get the information they need so they can focus on their jobs. For an app to be adopted by employees, we believe it has to be intuitive and accessible across Android, iOS, Microsoft Windows, MacOS and browsers. It must provide immediate, personalized answers to questions and help resolving issues and completing tasks (e.g., like password reset). Also, because these apps will be easy to deploy, adoption will be accelerated.  

When this occurs, we predict that enterprises will be able to further their digital transformation initiatives, while improving the perception of IT across the enterprise and growing employee net promoter scores (NPS). Bottom line, enterprises will finally be able to shift left, moving the activity of providing resolution support as close to the front line and the employee as possible, and CIOs will be able to divert their budgets from answering repetitive questions to more strategic initiatives.


About the Author

Pat Calhoun 

Pat Calhoun is a visionary leader with an intense focus on user experience and customer adoption. He has founded two companies - Airespace and Espressive. As CEO at Espressive, Pat is set to transform the enterprise self-service experience to a consumer-like approach that drives employee adoption and significantly reduces help desk calls. Pat's first startup, Airespace, grew revenues to over $80M in two years before being sold to Cisco for $450M.

Most recently, Pat served as senior vice president of product at ServiceNow where he was responsible for ServiceNow applications. Prior to that, he was general manager of the McAfee network security business. Pat also served as both CTO for the Cisco $14B switching, routing, wireless, and security access business and GM of the Cisco identity business. Pat holds 35 patents and has been published in more than 16 publications.

Published Wednesday, February 06, 2019 7:25 AM by David Marshall
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