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VMblog Expert Interview: Cullen Childress Shares Latest AI Capabilities for SolarWinds ITSM Solutions


SolarWinds, a leading provider of simple, powerful, secure observability and IT management software, announced the addition of new transformative artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities to its IT service management (ITSM) solutions. 

To find out more, VMblog spoke with Cullen Childress, GVP of product management at SolarWinds.

VMblog:  Can you summarize the announcement for us?

Cullen Childress:  We are excited to unveil new AI and ML capabilities that are being added to our IT service management solutions, including SolarWinds Service Desk. The new features include a virtual agent to help users solve everyday IT problems and guided incident resolution so agents have the information they need to effectively resolve complex issues. While this in itself is exciting, it is really going to help solve a larger problem, because incorporating AI into IT service management solutions will help reduce ticket volume in the first place. By enabling users to fix easier-to-solve issues, with the AI virtual agent providing answers and troubleshooting, the virtual agent enables IT agents to spend more time on complex issues that require their attention. Also, the AI agent learns more as it interacts with end users, continuing to improve its services, making the process better.

VMblog:  Why does Service Management lend itself to AI integration?

Childress:  Service Management is about making everyone's jobs easier - both for the end user and the IT agent. This means ensuring that IT services are functioning properly and that any issues users are facing are fixed. Digital transformation, application modernization, and the move to the cloud have dramatically increased the complexity of IT environments. This means the number of potential problems impacting user experience has also increased substantially. AI can solve this by helping users to troubleshoot and solve problems that are easier to fix. The use of natural language processing in AI also makes the interactions with the end user much more user-friendly.

VMblog:  What are the big problems this solves for IT agents and teams?

Childress:  The biggest problem this solves for IT agents and teams is the sheer amount of time spent addressing tickets and helping users resolve issues. In a lot of cases, these are issues that users can fix themselves. Often, users need someone who can help guide them through the steps to fix the problem and help them to troubleshoot. This has typically fallen on IT teams, but with AI, users get the help they need while IT teams can tackle more complex problems. This makes users more productive, supports agents more efficiently, and helps ensure companies are more successful.

VMblog:  How are customers reacting to SolarWinds leveraging AI more in these solutions?

Childress:  How our customers benefit is the ultimate way in which we judge a successful product or feature rollout. For these AI features, we directly consulted with customers through THWACK®, our community of over 180,000 users, to develop and test the new AI capabilities to make sure they made their lives and jobs easier. We also found that the new Service Desk AI features enabled IT teams to reduce ticket resolution time and save an average of 23 hours per week. Our customers also reported a reduction in downtime and an increase in progress toward achieving service-level agreements (SLAs).

VMblog:  What's next for SolarWinds?

Childress:  We are undergoing a significant evolution when it comes to our business and the products we provide to customers. While we built a very successful business historically by intensely focusing on the needs of IT pros, the challenges our customers face have evolved in recent years, and we have evolved alongside them to help overcome these challenges. This means transforming from monitoring to observability and enhancing our industry-leading database and IT Service Management solutions. For example, we have plans later this year to launch a new enterprise service management (ESM) solution. This is going to allow multiple departments within a single organization to have their own service portal, ticket management system, and service catalog within one platform. This extends service management outside of the IT department and across the entire enterprise. This is going to allow better cross-department workflows and collaboration. We are very excited about the future at SolarWinds!


Published Wednesday, May 17, 2023 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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