Who needs Artificial Intelligence when you’ve got the real thing?

Commentators and technology providers are all very excited about Artificial Intelligence. Certainly, AI is an interesting concept which offers massive latent potential. 

Do we need better AI, or better appreciation of the asset will already have?

Do we need better AI, or better appreciation of the asset will already have?

AI can, in theory, automate a much wider range of manually intensive tasks than is currently possible, troubleshoot systems and fulfilment problems, and deliver ultra-efficient customer support, without the need for expensive labour costs.  

As with any technology, there is a fair amount of hype. In the case of AI, the hype is borderline hysterical. Portrayals of AI are especially guilty of talking about what might happen, not what currently does happen. Yes, it would be great if AI could replace all of our expensive workers, but this is still closer to science fiction that proven fact. 

As with any hyped technology, the reality is found somewhere between the two extremes. Yes, we’re certainly seeing great advances in intelligent tools, particularly in the context of important areas for IT service management practitioners such as automation and customer self-help.  

But for these technologies to work, we need something less high-tech than AI. We need our people.

For AI - or indeed any automation or ‘smart’ technology to deliver value, it must be infused with knowledge and understanding. And until we reach the point when AI can truly mimic human behaviour, this means that it will rely on good old-fashioned human intervention to offer any value.

Knowledge management is a great example of a function where humans are needed to drive automated service. The two most important factors in a self-service facility are:

  1. Accurate and timely information 
  2. Ease of accessing said information

To populate a knowledge base, we need people to input the data. If inaccurate information is added, the self-service facility will fail.

The self-service tool itself is important. If it’s easy to navigate, logically laid out and sorts information in an intelligent way based on whether it is used or not, it is more likely to be used.  But even the most beautifully engineered service portal will fail if it doesn’t contain accurate knowledge that is regularly updated.

The Richmond Customer Support Portal is designed with these requirements in mind. Not only is it user-friendly, its workflow functionality allows support professionals to edit and create new knowledge articles in a minutes using drag-and-drop.

Regardless of the self-service technology used, or the claimed quality of the AI powering it, there’s no escaping the fact that today and for a good few years yet, we need intelligent people to build, configure and manage automation and self-service technology.  AI is exciting. But don’t let this fact devalue the incredible powerful asset we already have in our possession: our people.