In March, ITSM.tools ran a survey to find out where the IT service management (ITSM) industry is with its uptake of artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled capabilities. This article shares the results based on the feedback from the 130 people who were kind enough to participate. It’s interesting to get a snapshot of where organizations are with AI adoption in ITSM right now and their future plans – from the addition of AI-enabled capabilities to ITSM tools, through what they’re adopting (or planning to), to what they see as the biggest barriers to successful adoption.Here @StephenMann shares the results of a recent @ITSM_tool survey assessing the current state of #AI adoption in #ITSM. Click To Tweet
Intelligent automation and ITSM tools
The first survey question asked: Has your ITSM tool vendor added intelligent automation to its solution?
|Yes, some is free and some is paid for||35.4%|
|Yes, it's a paid-for option||23.1%|
|Yes, and it’s a no-cost addition||12.3%|
|We don’t have an ITSM tool||3.1%|
|What's intelligent automation?||1.5%|
The two key observations related to this question are:
The first of these is to be expected given that there’s a cost to the ITSM tool vendor associated with providing these additional capabilities – whether it’s the internal development costs, the use of third-party capabilities, or the acquisition of specialist companies and their products (and knowledge).
As to why 20% of the tools being used by the survey respondents don’t offer AI-enabled ITSM capabilities is unknown based on the data collected. It might be a reticence to change until the market is proven on the part of the ITSM tool vendor or it could simply be that the tools in question are at the lower end of the market where the price is more important than the available features and the value they help to deliver.According to an @ITSM_tools survey, #chatbots are the most popular form of AI-enablement being used in multiple business functions. #ITSM #AI Click To Tweet
The most popular AI-enabled capabilities
The second survey question asked: How has your organization adopted the following types of intelligent automation?
|Intelligent automation type||In multiple business functions||Only in IT||Planning to adopt||No plans||Don't know|
|Virtual agents for service/support staff||21.5%||16.9%||32.3%||24.6%||4.6%|
|Chatbots/virtual agents for employees||27.7%||16.9%||30.8%||20.0%||4.6%|
|Intelligent workflow automation, e.g. ticket triage||21.5%||29.2%||30.8%||13.8%||4.6%|
|Robotic process automation (RPA)||13.8%||12.3%||35.4%||27.7%||10.8%|
|Intelligent email autoresponders||23.1%||10.8%||32.3%||27.7%||6.2%|
The key observations related to this question are:
- Chatbots are the most popular form of AI-enablement being used in multiple business functions (27.7%).
- In terms of IT-only use cases, intelligent workflow automation is the most adopted (29.2%), followed by smart automation (20%) – however, this could include the use of intelligent workflow automation that employs logic rules rather than machine learning.
- Intelligent workflow automation is also the most adopted AI-enablement at 50.5% of organizations but, of course, still with the above caveat.
- The low levels of RPA adoption (26.1% in total) are surprising, especially given that RPA was touted as the “gateway drug” for AI.
- Around one-third of organizations are planning to adopt the listed intelligent automation options, including RPA (the response percentages range from 30.8% to 35.4%).
A final, and critical, observation is that “AI for ITSM (or enterprise service management)” is definitely taking off with only circa one-quarter of respondents stating that their organizations have no plans for each AI use case. When this is drilled into, only 7.7% have no plans for any form of AI adoption across the above options. Plus, interestingly, all of these respondents also stated that they either have no ITSM tool or their ITSM tool has no AI-enabled capabilities.According to an @ITSM_tool survey “AI for ITSM (or enterprise service management)” is definitely taking off with only circa one-quarter of respondents stating that their organizations have no plans for each #AI use case queried. #ITSM Click To Tweet
The biggest barriers to intelligent automation success
The third survey question asked: What do you see as the biggest barriers to an organization’s success with intelligent automation? (Please select all that apply)
|Lack of skilled people internally||53.8%|
|Competing priorities for resources||50.8%|
|Legacy IT applications and infrastructure||40.0%|
|Employee resistance to change||29.2%|
|Organizational politics and other barriers||26.2%|
|Lack of third-party assistance||18.5%|
|The available intelligent automation capabilities||15.4%|
|Don't Know or N/A||4.6%|
The key observations related to this question are:
- The lack of skilled people is seen as the most common barrier to AI-enablement success (53.8%), with this higher than both competing priorities for resources and additional costs. Please note that this is potentially based on the responses of the respondents that have already implemented AI-enabled capabilities, those that plan to, and those that have no plans.
- Legacy IT applications and infrastructure are considered a barrier by 40% of respondents.
- Employee resistance to change is seen as the fourth-highest barrier to AI-enablement success, reinforcing the importance of this commonly-ignored factor in technology-based change.
- Neither access to third-party assistance nor the available intelligent automation capabilities are seen as significant barriers. The former could, of course, mean either that organizations (think that they) don’t need third-party assistance or can readily find organizations that can help them to achieve AI adoption success. The latter that the introduction of available capabilities is moving at the speed organizations are comfortable with.
The first three of these observations should be unsurprising to readers, but it’s always good to get third-party confirmation on your thinking.
So, this is what the survey tells us about AI Adoption in ITSM – but how does it stack up against your own experiences with intelligent automation and its successful adoption? Please let me, and our readers, know in the comments. Thanks 😊
Principal Analyst and Content Director at the ITSM-focused industry analyst firm ITSM.tools. Also an independent IT and IT service management marketing content creator, and a frequent blogger, writer, and presenter on the challenges and opportunities for IT service management professionals.
Previously held positions in IT research and analysis (at IT industry analyst firms Ovum and Forrester and the UK Post Office), IT service management consultancy, enterprise IT service desk and IT service management, IT asset management, innovation and creativity facilitation, project management, finance consultancy, internal audit, and product marketing for a SaaS IT service management technology vendor.