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Study finds IT professionals divided over how...

July 2024 by ManageEngine

ManageEngine, the enterprise IT management division of Zoho Corporation, announced the results of its joint report with Service Desk Institute (SDI). A split is emerging in how IT professionals use GenAI in their day-to-day roles, with contrasting opinions regarding its benefits on productivity. According to The State of Artificial Intelligence in ITSM – 2024 and beyond, 71% of IT professionals say their organisation is still researching or piloting AI in IT support and ITSM operations.

Current AI deployments are geared towards end-user experience and enterprise productivity
Virtual assistants for end-user support, assisted knowledge management and assisted self-service are the top three AI-powered technologies currently used in ITSM operations at respondents’ organisations. Similarly, respondents believe incident management (79%), knowledge management (73%) and service request management (67%) to be the most impacted by AI. Notably, strategic use cases of AI in ITSM, such as intelligent data analytics for insight and decision-making, saw the lowest level of current adoption. This finding resonates with the fact that 62% of respondents said that integrating AI into their existing tool is challenging.

Cost reduction trumps innovation in driving AI adoption
Kumaravel Ramakrishnan, the director of marketing for ITSM at ManageEngine, said, "The survey reveals two primary motivators of AI adoption in IT and differing levels of their impact on adoption: The first motivator for AI adoption is to streamline processes and reduce costs (81%), while the second is spurring innovation (67%) to differentiate from competition.

"Streamlining processes and reducing costs is more successful in driving adoption, because achieving strategic use cases requires advanced knowledge of GenAI, a clear AI strategy and the right skilled workforce to build out or integrate these solutions. The current AI offerings in the market lower the barrier to adopting AI to automate basic service desk tasks, while strategic AI use cases are yet to be commoditised."

On the other hand, the report highlights challenges to adopting AI:
• 38% cited the lack of skills and expertise in GenAI.
• 29% cited budget constraints.
• 28% blamed the lack of a clear AI strategy.

Although 45% of IT professionals report having a basic understanding of GenAI, there is a significant shortage of GenAI experts.

Risks stemming from insufficient specialised AI knowledge
The lack of AI-specific knowledge amongst IT teams flags potential risks to organisations. Almost half (48%) have poor or limited understanding of the compliance and legal issues of AI, and 46% have poor or limited understanding of the risks and security measures. Meanwhile, one in four do not have governance frameworks in place for the implementation of AI. In contrast, 65% said their organisation understood the risks associated with AI, which is both heartening and could explain the low level of full-scale AI adoption (4%).

David Wright, chief value and innovation officer at SDI, said, "Adapting to AI is not just a technological challenge but a cultural shift within ITSM. This research serves as a wake-up call for ITSM professionals and organisations to prepare for a future where AI is a fundamental part of our service delivery toolkit. The successful integration of AI into ITSM hinges on our ability to synchronise technology with our most valuable asset—our people. The future will favour organisations that understand this balance, transforming their operations to not only include AI but also enhance the capabilities and happiness of their human workforce."

Survey Methodology
The survey was conducted with over 150 UK CIOs, IT directors, and service desk managers who shared what their organisations are thinking and doing about AI in ITSM.

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