IBM Rolls Out an Automated Helpdesk with Watson

Big Blue wants to make tech support a little easier for companies by bringing its Watson artificial intelligence platform to the enterprise helpdesk. The new service, known as IBM Workplace Support Services with Watson, is designed to anticipate, predict, and act on the tech support requirements of enterprise staff members.

The service includes Watson’s analytics and cognitive capabilities that enable it to learn from user behavior and improve itself over time.

Automating Helpdesk Actions

The company is focusing its marketing pitch for the service on Watson’s ability to deliver technical support service to enterprise staff with varying levels of technical experience, including staff members without IT experience. The new platform also enables companies to offer their staff members a single point of contact for tech support, while making the entire IT helpdesk system both more intelligent and more scalable, according to IBM.

"We need a system that can understand and communicate in a natural language conversation, one that solves problems and continues to learn while engaging with employees," said Richard Esposito, general manager at IBM's Global Technology Services, Mobility Services, in a statement. "Our Workplace Support Services with Watson delivers this value."

One of the key selling points of the new service is its ability to automate common helpdesk actions such as unlocking a user's password, adding additional storage space to an email account, or requesting a new mobile enterprise device, Big Blue said.

Self-Improving IT Support

In addition, IBM is promoting the service's ability to learn from previous interactions with users and improve itself over time. The company said that the Watson platform analyzes virtually every interaction between itself and the user to improve on its programming.

Workplace support is delivered to employees via a chat tool that allows the user to interact with the Watson platform using natural language. IBM said that Watson provides natural language support in the most commonly spoken languages, meaning that it's not only capable of generating content in those languages, but effectively "thinks" in them as well. This provides the Watson platform with a greater understanding of linguistic and cultural nuances, according to IBM.

The result is that Workplace Support Services can support employees on any device they might be using, at any time and at any geographic location, while automating more helpdesk functions and resolving IT problems more quickly. In the event that an employee has an issue for which Watson has not been trained for, the system can transfer the individual to a human service agent, the company said.

The service is being offered under IBM's Global Technology Services division, which focuses on IT consulting and business services based on the company's cognitive and cloud technologies.