9 April 2018

Artificial intelligence: Not just for big tech companies



Artificial intelligence has fascinated us humans for a long time. Stories have been written, movies have been made. 2018 marks the fiftieth anniversary of two important events in AI: the release of the film 2001: a Space Odyssey and the publication of the book that inspired the Blade Runner films. Sounds like the perfect time to see where we’re at when it comes to AI.

Artificial intelligence has developed a lot in recent years. Many of us use it to take the fastest route to work, or figure out which song we just heard at the coffee shop. But what does AI mean for the way we do our work? Geoffrey Simpson, Product Manager at TOPdesk, has got a few ideas about AI in service management.


What can AI do for service management?

It might still be a while before artificial intelligence is omnipresent in IT, Facilities and HR, but AI in service departments has more potential than you might imagine. You might be able to imagine a chatbot helping your customers by suggesting knowledge items to them. But there may even be more sophisticated technologies down the line, especially if you combine AI with large amounts of data.

 One of the things AI tends to be better or faster at than human beings, is analysing large quantities of data and seeing patterns. That’s where we expect we can gain the most out of AI for service management. How? Well, here are just a few ways AI could analyse data to enhance the workplace in the future: 

  • AI can do repetitive tasks consistently. At the same time, it may also be able to recognize patterns a team of human employees wouldn’t necessarily be able to see in a large amount of calls.
  • In the future, AI may also be able to help us detect more complex correlations that help with prioritization. Would your prioritization change if you could prove that employees work fewer hours when there are a lot of calls about climate control, or if you could be certain that slower library computers lead to lower grades for students?
  • Another practical application of pattern recognition in AI could be an analysis of which types of problems your customers often report, which knowledge items your customers use and which items lead to success or failure to solve the problem.

Perhaps this all sounds a bit futuristic. Or maybe you’re actually quite ready for AI to enter the workplace. Either way, looking at how much we’re starting to use it in our homes and cars, it seems AI is here to stay.


What’s TOPdesk doing with AI?

 Where do we at TOPdesk think AI is heading? And how are we integrating AI into our software?

We’ve got two main projects going on right now. First off, we’re working on a feature that will automatically categorize calls based on the request field. We’re using machine learning to teach the software how to determine categories for each call you get. So in the future, your human employees won’t have to spend their time on the tedious task of putting calls into categories. Instead, you’ll be able to start working on pre-categorised calls right away. We’re currently running tests for the categorisation feature with some of our customers.


Digging for ideas with a hackathon

 The idea for automatic categorization with AI was introduced by some of our developers who experiment with AI in their spare time. After all, real innovation happens when you’re not bound to the scope of a specific task. So TOPdesk organized a hackathon that focused on conversation interfaces.

 During the hackathon, our developers from around the world got together for three days to share their ideas and create new solutions together, without being held back by existing projects and routine tasks.

The idea of a hackathon is that anything could happen, and we won’t execute all ideas in the near future. But our software developers do want to innovate. Our customers register a lot of information in our software, so how can we help you get the most out of the information you have? That’s the question we keep in mind when we explore the possibilities of artificial intelligence. And, of course, do androids dream of electric sheep?

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