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Imagine it’s 10:00 pm and somehow you have managed to run over your laptop. Typically, that would mean a night of anxiety, waiting until the morning to contact your IT pro to start the process of replacing it.

Now imagine that instead you send an email to the IT Help Desk at that moment. Rather than waiting until morning, an intelligent system “reads” the email and starts a conversation with you in the company chat tool about how to replace your computer.

That story actually happened. Using automated help desk software from a company called Moveworks, the employee in question was able to fill out a form for a temporary laptop at that moment of panic, and get the ball rolling on a replacement.

Moveworks isn’t alone in this space. Other startups like Spoke and Forethought are also working on this problem in different ways.

Regardless of the vendor, this is a story of artificial intelligence helping to resolve issues without human intervention. In this case, the software relies on natural language understanding (NLU) to understand the request, and it then begins the process of resolving the problem.

After the software determines the nature of the problem, it can offer resources to the employee on how to resolve the issue. This could include providing a relevant knowledge base document or a form they need to fill out. At that point, other automated workflows could kick in, or the ticket could flow back to IT for final resolution.

Humans in the loop

This technology isn’t perfect by any means. Right now, Moveworks reports that it can resolve between 25 percent and 40 percent of help tickets on any given day. That means there’s still going to be plenty of work for humans, but the automation can help act as an adjunct to the human IT employees.

This kind of technology isn’t going to replace a help desk for your clients, but it will help you be more efficient and process the most common requests faster and more efficiently, often without human intervention. That’s going to allow you to do more with the employees you have, put their skills to better use, then simply resolving a common issue.

Going back to the original story, the employee who managed to destroy his laptop, had a replacement waiting for him on his desk when he got to work the next day. He didn’t have to start the process when he got there, meaning he was able to do his job without waiting for the laptop come through.

As you look to the future of the MSP business, this kind of software could play a role in helping to resolve tickets more quickly. It also could give your employees more time to work on harder problems that aren’t as easy to resolve with today’s AI.

Photo: Alexander Limbach / Shutterstock

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Ron Miller

Posted by Ron Miller

Ron Miller is a freelance technology reporter and blogger. He is contributing editor at EContent Magazine and enterprise reporter at TechCrunch.

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