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Get your head around AI in ITSM

Martin Stewart -


Infusing AI power into ITSM is transforming the way interactions and ITSM operations happen – driving new experiences for service consumers and scalable benefits for service providers. Find out what AI in ITSM will mean to you.

What is AITSM?

IT is an industry that loves acronyms. Acronyms work because IT is a technical domain, so they save a bit of time and a lot of tongue-twisting (try saying The Information Technology Infrastructure Library® in full instead of ITIL® every time you refer to it). Plus, in IT, a thing isn’t really a proper thing until it has its own acronym.

So, what is AITSM? Perhaps Gartner Inc., who coined this particular acronym, can clarify:

“AITSM is not an acronym; rather, it is an initialism. It is a concept that refers to the application of context, advice, actions and interfaces of AI, automation and big data on ITSM tools and optimized practices to improve the overall effectiveness, efficiency and error reduction for I&O staff.”1

Typical Gartner. They introduce new terminology and then instantly put people off by wrapping it in layers of esoteric techie word salad. It is possible to unpack what they mean, if you try hard enough and long enough. But at Hornbill, we’re all about making life at work better - and often that means making things simpler.

AITSM simply means the application of AI to ITSM - to automate and assist the work that people in ITSM do.

Where Gartner talks about context, advise, actions and interfaces this is strictly true; AI in ITSM does need to do all that stuff, but it also applies to virtually every other operational business area where AI could be applied (CRM, ERP, PSA, etc). It’s not specific enough to help ITSM people really understand the answer to the question that everyone is asking right now: What can AI do for me, my team, and my customers?

What can AITSM do for you?

We prefer to talk about AITSM in a way that has more meaning to ITSM folk:

  • Employee experience (EX) – How AI can improve and reinvent the way employees interact to get access to services and support.
  • Agent efficiency – Assisting agents to work and close more tickets, faster – increasing throughput, cutting stress, and boosting employee satisfaction with service.
  • Agent deflection – How AI can reduce the flow of tickets into your service desk by either diverting demand to other mechanisms (such as a virtual agent) or using technologies like self-healing to avoid tickets in the first place.
  • Hyperautomation – Using the flexible intelligence of AI to automate a much broader set of issue fixes and service outcomes – so that employees get instant solutions and IT people can switch focus from operations to innovations. Less time spent on the work they have to do. More time on the work they want to do.

Employee experience

AI has the potential to reinvent the way employees interact to get access to services and support. Digital service portals have proven themselves as an efficient way for employees to get new services to help them do better work, and get solutions to issues with the services they already use.

But AI represents a paradigm shift in how this happens. An intelligent virtual agent can take the many different functions of an ITSM portal and roll them up into a single, natural language-driven experience. Essentially, everything in one place. Instead of navigating a portal to find a new service, simply ask for it. Instead of searching a knowledge base, simply say what you need help with.

With all the friction removed from the experience, AI-powered virtual agents will quickly become the dominant support channel of choice for employees. That leaves your team of human agents to focus on novel requests and services - while AI looks after all of the routine tasks.

Find out more about improving the employee experience with AI

Agent efficiency

AI-driven agent efficiency tools assist agents in the tasks they do every day – saving minutes on every ticket and adding up to thousands of hours every year. Targeted at specific scenarios that take up an agent’s time, AI can help by suggesting actions to solve a ticket, automatically summarizing a ticket’s history, packaging solutions ready for your knowledge base, and improving communications with customers.

In Hornbill, AI-powered tools are integrated right into the ticket screens, so they’re accessible at the click of a button. Presented simply, your agents can be using them with just a few minutes of training. Within the first few weeks, your team can use the extra time gained to eliminate the backlogs, solve the root cause of repeat issues, and spend more time supporting service improvement projects.

Find out more about improving agent efficiency with AI

Agent deflection

Agent deflection is the use of digital technology to shift employee demand away from expensive, non-scalable one-on-one interaction onto a super-scalable digital channel. A virtual assistant, driven by AI, can do everything a portal can do plus many things an agent can do – at a scale that even the largest service desk teams can’t achieve. A virtual assistant can interact with hundreds or thousands of customers at a time.

The power and efficiency of a virtual agent makes it a more appealing channel for service users. A virtual assistant gives a service user access to all services, ticket logging, status information, ticket updates, and issue resolutions. It also provides a new and more intuitive user experience – using natural language. It’s like having a team of a thousand agents, with an agent always ready to talk with a service user about what they need.

Find out more about agent deflection with AI


Workflow-driven automation + integration gives people back chunks of time by automating routine, high-volume tasks. AI further raises the waterline of what’s automatable by covering a much broader set of more complex scenarios that simple workflows can’t reach.

Where service delivery processes still rely on human actions, organization can now harness AI solutions to fill gaps and automate the remaining manual tasks – those that were standing in the way of fully automation services. It’s frustrating when a single human task slows down an otherwise fully automated service delivery process. AI bots can alleviate these manual bottlenecks to accelerate service delivery from hours to seconds. Service delivery teams get time back. Service customers get what they need faster.

Find out more about how AI can help you automate complex ITSM workloads

AITSM made easy

The application of AI to service management represents a huge opportunity to raise the bar of what’s automatable – by helping agents and end users with a range of tasks across a range of service and support situations. By applying AI to support work and interaction, you can create a mass shift of workload from human to machine. That means your agents have more time than ever to focus on the projects and innovations that will make a genuine difference to your organization.

But…new AI technology means nothing if it’s presented in a way that is confusing to understand and difficult to implement (and use). That’s why at Hornbill, we’re all about making AI easy. Our dedicated Hornbill AI Lab is working hard to change the game by infusing AI into every aspect of ITSM.

Find out more about our Hornbill AI Lab

Find out more about Hornbill AI

1 Gartner, Leverage 4 Domains of AITSM to Evolve ITSM Tools and Practices, Chris Matchett, 21 September 2020

ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited, used under permission of AXELOS Limited. All rights reserved.


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