IBM Employs Watson to Deliver IT Services

Mike Vizard

Most calls to an IT help desk fall into three categories. There are the braindead requests associated with, for example, recovering and changing passwords. Then there are the truly complex problems no human IT administrator can easily resolve on their own. Finally, there are the bulk of requests that fall in between those two extremes.

To automate resolving IT issues, IBM announced today IBM Workplace Support Services with Watson, an instance of its existing managed IT services offering that is being infused with advanced cognitive computing capabilities enabled by the Watson platform.

Rich Esposito, IBM General Manager for Global Technology Services, says IBM is employing Watson to increase the quality of the IT services it provides while also reducing costs in a way that will eventually be passed on to customers.

At present, Esposito says, Watson can handle north of 60 percent of the calls that come into the typical service desk. But over time, Watson will become more proficient at resolving complex issues.

“Watson can learn,” says Esposito. “This is just the beginning.”

Equally importantly, Watson doesn’t forget. Unlike IT staffs that experience turnover, there’s no need to train new IT staff members on how to perform a task that Watson has already mastered.

Clearly, multiple types of cognitive computing capabilities enabled by machine and deep learning algorithms being couple with bots and natural language processing are about to transform how IT services are delivered. In fact, IBM is not the only provider of IT services heading down this path. Less clear is whether that will result in fewer IT jobs or a transformation in terms of the level of IT services that can be jointly provided by man and machine. More than likely, there’s going to be a lot of both.


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