Managed service providers (MSPs) should start moving now toward incorporating conversational interfaces into their customer service applications. Chat bots that rely on natural language interfaces are already employed on the Web.
The next wave of these bots, however, will support speech interfaces to invoke robotic process automation engines that will enable end users to ask a bot to, for example, change a password or provide access to a network printer. Instead of waiting on a human technician, the bot will automate that process in real time.
For now, those bots are only going to be able to automate very narrowly defined tasks. However, it will become possible for MSPs to string together multiple bots to create an automated workflow.
The best part is, rather than having to build these bots, MSPs should expect providers of IT service management platforms to embed bots that not only automate specific processes, but also adjust to new use cases as artificial intelligence (AI) models detect changes in patterns. Depending on the level of complexity of the process, some of these bots will run unassisted while others will augment the capabilities of human technicians.
Vendors such as SAP and Boomi, a unit of Dell Technologies, are already demonstrating how conversational interfaces will be employed to transform not just customer service interactions, but also human resources applications. At the SAP Tech-Ed conference this week, SAP demonstrated how it’s is embedding bots with conversational interfaces into everything from accounting applications to field service. At its annual Boomi World conference last week, Boomi showed how it’s working with Accenture to automate a broad range of processes using conversational interfaces.
Conversational interfaces are nothing new
Many end users now routinely interact with search engines using Alexa devices from Amazon or the Siri interface Apple makes available on iPhones. Those end users are no longer going to need to be trained on how to interact with an IT service request portal. MSPs that continue to ask customers to log into a “self-service portal” to request a service will soon be viewed as antiquated.
Those speech-enabled bots are also getting a lot smarter. It’s now only a matter of time before these bots start handing tasks off to one another, regardless of what conversational interface was employed to launch the initial request.
It’s only a matter of time before speech-enabled #bots start handing tasks off to one another, regardless of what #ConversationalInterface was employed to launch the initial request.
It may take another year to iron out all the kinks associated with deploying bots that have conversational interfaces, but now it’s more a matter of when than if those bots will be playing a larger role in delivering IT services. The good news is, bots should allow chronically short-handed MSPs to reallocate IT staff to handle complex tasks as more first-level support issues are increasingly handled by bots.
It may take a while for everyone gets comfortable with using speech interfaces to request IT services. However, once end users discover all they must do is issue a verbal command for IT services, the number of requests being made for those services will exponentially increase.
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