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Author  Adam McCullough – ITSM expert

April 8, 2019 |

 4 min read

  • Blog
  • Governance
  • IT Services
  • Value
  • ITIL

AI is not the future: in fact, we’re seeing very much in the present.

So the message to organizations (corporate and IT) is, simply, “get on board and start learning about it”!

If you don’t believe me, take the example of IBM Watson in healthcare. While no human can digest the countless papers produced every day worldwide about medical procedures and diagnoses, Watson’s AI is reviewing 800 million pages per second and making sense of the information they contain.

This capability is 100% applicable to managing IT as a service and how to troubleshoot tickets.

IT services value

I can’t even imagine where AI will take us in providing value and especially with the service desk. Already in the banking/credit card sector AI is pre-empting an issue before the customer and offering a solution. Chat bots know what you’re asking for, guide you, send additional fix messages and then walk you through the fix. From a customer service perspective, this is an experience that warrants re-telling!

Equally, I have facial recognition to log in to my computer. When this stopped working, I accessed the computer with a PIN and found an email acknowledging the log-in issues plus a patch to try (that worked). It resumed normal service and I didn’t need to raise a ticket with IT; how amazing is that when your PC is solving problems for you without involving a person. And we’re just scratching the surface of this capability.


Despite the brave new world I’ve described, using AI must make business sense and having a framework will help get you there. This is where ITIL® comes in:

For example, ITIL’s governance is hugely helpful in understanding what the organization needs and covers what AI has access to do (e.g. how mature is it in combating a cyber security threat, which needs human intervention) and processes, i.e. when should a human get involved? This is 100% where ITIL comes into play.

Staying on top of what is happening with AI – for example if a bot has an issue – means keeping everything documented; it also works into the concept of continual improvement. Even as AI is moving forward at lightning speed, we need to pay attention to where the technology is going.

Value creation and ITIL 4

Where ITIL and AI also coincide is based on how the best practice has evolved beyond the delivery of services to provide end-to-end, co-created value through service relationships.

Through the ITIL guiding principles, including focus on value, start where you are, collaborate and promote visibility, etc., service management practitioners can create value in an organization now. And if we’re talking AI, the question is: “what can we introduce to create value both internally for the organization and for customers?”

I think the latest best practice evolution, ITIL 4, is a good conduit for organizations to get on board with AI now and for the future.

By using such a framework, it allows an organization to progress iteratively with feedback, begin to get things right and build on that. While there’s never a magic pill or silver bullet in service management and creating value, following best practice will help you get where you need to be.

For more information, read our white paper ITIL 4 and artificial intelligence.

Read more AXELOS blog posts from Adam McCullough

Top tips for transitioning to a new IT service

How important is ITIL’s RACI matrix in ITSM?

How and why to focus on value for customers in service management

ITSM process improvement – does it all start with a big bang?

Applying ITIL® outside IT

7 tips for performing service transition effectively

Do businesses really need Business Relationship Managers?

Why should businesses do CSI?

ITIL Intermediate: a pathway to ITIL 4 – Continual Service Improvement

I’m ITIL® Foundation certified - now what?