Digital colleagues represent the next great chapter in human-machine collaboration. By combining an intuitive conversational interface with back-end integrations into enterprise systems, these solutions empower all users — regardless of technical proficiency — to easily access information and services. But they also improve the lives of the human employees who work with them every day.

These Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies will never replace human intelligence, despite the ominous warnings that emerge from some quarters. Throughout history, technologies have joined the workforce to shoulder the rigorous, the rote and the repeatable, and leave humans to use their creativity, imagination and ingenuity for greater benefits. The use of digital colleagues is simply the next logical step in this historical trend.

There are few business areas where this ascendant hybrid workforce — where teams of human and digital workers are employed — is more apt than in the internal IT support desk for the enterprise. In this blog post, we’ll explore how digital colleagues are automating the IT service desk, allowing IT workers to emphasize their uniquely human qualities in their roles.

Beyond Static Automations

Many high-volume internal IT service issues (e.g. password resets) are addressed with highly routine, repeatable processes that can easily be addressed via digital automation. However, these automations are not being fully utilized if a large user base of lay users can’t access them without a layer of human middleware.

This is where digital colleagues like Amelia can make a real impact — they allow users to bypass that middleware via a conversational UI, which can discern intent from a wide spectrum of user inputs. In the IT service desk world, this would mean identifying that a user needs their password reset regardless of if they say, “I need a password reset on my system,” or “Why won’t my computer let me in?” or “My laptop keeps saying password expired. Help?” This versatility is key, particularly when dealing with a large diverse employee-base of accents, conversational styles and literacy in office technology. Not only can a digital colleague identify what the user wants, but they can use their back-end integrations to resolve the issue on employees’ behalf.

Focus on Innovation

Digital colleagues can be trained to address a number of rote high-volume IT needs — everything from password resets to email troubleshooting to VPN connectivity to broken hardware. When digital colleagues take on these issues, human colleagues are freed to take on higher-level IT needs which are inherently more fulfilling and benefit the company as a whole.

To start, support staff can handle any truly unique IT needs that do not fall under digital colleagues’ purview. For example, perhaps an executive traveling to Asia wants to forward all business calls to their mobile phone, but only during a certain window in overlapping time zones. Digital colleagues might not be able to take on that particular problem, if they have yet to be trained on it or do not yet have experience with similar requests, but a skilled mobile IT technician certainly could.

With digital colleagues, your experienced IT team can now match their years of invaluable organizational knowledge with the company’s need for innovative projects. They can research, plan and pilot deployments of bleeding-edge technologies that could deliver more unique benefits. For example, perhaps a new internal IoT deployment could help the company headquarters run more efficiently or provide increased security — and maybe that internal work will spur some innovative thinking (among multiple company teams) for external services or new products. Does your company want to explore an augmented reality system for training purposes? With digital workers taking over the repeatable parts of humans’ roles, technical employees now have the bandwidth to investigate the possibilities.

IT workers, as with any employee, should have a chance to use their creative problem solving and soft skills to make a company run smoothly, but they can only get the chance when they aren’t tied down to high-volume, rote technical support issues. And that’s where digital colleagues can make a real difference.

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