Outsourced decision-making and cognitive computing are changing IT service management

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Cognitive intelligence

In the last two million years, the human brain has tripled in size, providing us the ability to do amazing things: remember the past, predict the future, and feel emotions such as fear, angst and happiness.

Comparatively, IT Service Management (ITSM) is a new development, but like everything else, it is viewed through the cognitive perception of highly evolved primates responsible for things such as data collection, analytics and problem solving.

Previously, humans used the cognitive abilities tucked behind our eyes for memory storage, organizing information and decision making. The ancient Greeks and Romans developed techniques to store vast amounts of information using spacial visualization techniques to organize and recall information. In that age, information was a valuable commodity.

Outsourced information and cognition

Time has moved on. These days, information is cheap and often resides outside one’s head. Welcome to the age of outsourced information. We look to phones, computers and other devices to store data for our convenience. That stored information contributes calculations, influences decision making and improves business performance. Does anyone remember more than two phone numbers without picking up a device anymore?

In ITSM, we manage and organize a set of data — in all its granular detail —  to control what is going on across IT systems. Our goal is getting through the day, avoiding problems and stoppages in systems that support vital customer tasks. When an issue occurs, we delve into the mountain of stored data, bringing to bear all our knowledge, memories and perceptions to find a solution.

As ITSM has evolved, the old ways are becoming less fit for that purpose. There are pressures on businesses to do more with less and on people to find better ways to manage and optimize increasingly complex systems.

Thus, the outsourcing continues. We are looking to computers that can learn, perceive and weigh risk. Cognitive computers are now taking a role in the decision-making process.

The cognitive decision maker

We are entering the age of cognitive computing, although we haven’t reached the point of trusting machines to make all the right decisions. In ITSM, we see this manifested in the growth of the IT operational analytics market. The cognitive decision maker is being shaped and is our new, human-like helper.

At IBM, we call this guy Watson. In ITSM, we are leveraging Watson to provide insights that give early notice of emerging issues and suggest evasive actions.

What type of decision maker will we build?

I’d offer two recommendations:

  1. Even in a time of cognitive computing, we should exercise our own cognitive minds. It’s a muscle. Use it, perhaps for thinking about how cognitive computing can revolutionize your IT service management.
  2. Be part of the future. Put away doubt and embrace the idea of the cognitive decision maker. In doing so, help shape the next generation of IT service management tools.

Collect data, analyze trends, predict patterns and head off outages. Take care of the little stuff so you can focus on the big picture with IBM IT Operations Analytics (ITOA).

Discover how to optimize your IT decisions with insight and keep your clients happy. Read the IT Service Management interactive smartpaper.


Programme Manager - IBM Predictive Insights IBM Cloud

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