January is named for the mythical Roman Janus, who had two faces, one looking forward and the other looking back. Let’s use that approach to see what 2023 brought and what we can see of 2024 as a result.

by Roy Atkinson
Date Published January 8, 2024 - Last Updated February 16, 2024

One Thing Stands Out

When we think about 2023, one term will always stand out: artificial intelligence. With the public release of ChatGPT as a free public beta at the very end of 2022, this new AI tool exploded onto the scene and things began to change almost immediately. About 13 million unique visitors used ChatGPT daily, and by February, 2023, it reached 100 million active monthly users. Solution providers of every kind immediately started finding ways to integrate the capabilities of ChatGPT into their products, many of which already had some AI components. The world of IT support and service management was no exception, as ITSM providers immediately saw the tremendous opportunities in the new world of what is being called generative AI.

Soon, it seemed that every blog post, webinar, and discussion involved new AI tools and their possible uses. Everyone was talking about AI and the changes it would bring to the world of IT, and with good reason. Almost everyone in the industry could immediately see possibilities for knowledge management, documentation, and new and better ways to communicate with the consumers of IT services. Although both chatbots and conversational AI had been around for a while, the open and public nature of ChatGPT and its cousin, Google’s Bard, got people interested and involved. These Large Language Model (LLM) tools are easy to use and very powerful.

Soon, however, the realities of these tools began to surface. They were providing information that was false—called hallucinations—and were using all the prompts people were putting in as training material, including confidential business information submitted unwittingly by employees in many cases. Tool providers quickly arranged closed instances of the AI tools so that none of their customers’ information was fed back as training material for the new breed of AI.

New generations of ITSM tools are already putting LLM-based AI to work in many ways, improving ticket routing, providing intelligent chatbots to augment staff, summarizing records, aiding in problem management, and more.

Because of their ease of use and ready availability, we sometimes forget how new and immature these tools are, but they do point the way toward a different and better future for IT consumers and providers. HDI has already created training for this new world, called Artificial Intelligence in the Support Organization (AISO).

But AI Wasn’t the Only Thing

There were other changes happening in 2023 as well, often overshadowed by all the buzz about AI. PeopleCert assumed all responsibility and control for ITIL® training and certification, and some training organizations—not HDI—fell by the wayside as a result of the changes. In addition, PeopleCert announced renewal requirements as part of their Continuing Professional Development Programme for many certifications under the Global Best Practices banner. These changes and requirements affect those who have previously attained ITIL and other certifications, including many our colleagues in IT service and support.

Knowledge-Centered Service (KCS®) is a hot topic, especially regarding the important interface between new AI tools and the methodology as a way of providing the right knowledge to analysts and to consumers of IT services, as well as having well-prepared knowledge to assist in the training of AI tools themselves. HDI continues to offer KCS training at the Foundation and Principles levels.


HDI’s industry conference, SupportWorld Live, took place from April 30 - May 5, 2023 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, with outstanding keynotes and sessions on virtually every topic having to do with technical support and service management, HDI’s prestigious Global Service and Support Awards, and pre-conference training and workshops, including a new Experience Practitioner course.

Service Management World moved to a new venue in Orlando this year, taking place from November 11 through 15, 2023. The well-attended conference was full of fully engaged attendees and informative sessions and was very highly rated by those who came to Loew’s Sapphire Falls, adjacent to the Universal parks.

Looking Ahead to 2024

One of the priorities for IT during the past few years is the importance of understanding and demonstrating the business value IT provides to organizations. There is a new emphasis on clear communication between IT and other lines of business, especially where enterprise service management and digital transformation are increasingly on the minds of C-level executives, and the discussion of the value of IT has historically been a difficult area for IT leaders to navigate. There is a renewed need for organizational units to develop a common language as many CIOs and their business colleagues seek to shift the emphasis from simple stability toward the kinds of innovation and differentiation necessary in today’s rapidly evolving marketplace. IT strategy and business alignment are a hot topic in many organizations.

Technology is certainly a major component in innovation, but what to implement and how to implement new and emerging tools to accomplish business goals are questions of increasing complexity, especially in light of the widespread hype about AI, and lack of awareness of its limitations. The promise AI holds for the future is enormous, and many business leaders are looking to make major advances with great technological power behind them.

All this dependence upon—and hope for—technology puts cybersecurity squarely at the top of most CIO priority lists for 2024. With high-profile ransomware attacks and data breaches occurring with astounding frequency, CIOs and C-level business leaders need to build cybersecurity into their corporate strategies as well as their IT planning and reinforce it at every opportunity. Increased reliance on technical tools without being attentive to the human elements in cybersecurity can leave organizations vulnerable, and the increasing sophistication of cyberattacks has created a high level of anxiety in company boardrooms. The capabilities of new AI tools have heightened that anxiety even more, with the realization that these powerful tools can mimic trusted people and quickly digest information that could allow bad actors access to organizational assets. Because of the continued move to and dependence on cloud technologies, cybersecurity is becoming even more complex and important.

One emerging trend, according to Gartner, is the augmented-connected workforce, which “uses intelligent applications and workforce analytics to provide everyday context and guidance to support the workforce’s experience, well-being, and ability to develop its own skills.” In other words, humans are working along with AI and machine learning tools to accelerate work, receive assistance, and improve their own skills. Recent advances in applications such as AI-assisted coaching can help analysts and others in IT with knowledge acquisition and experience management.

Speaking of experience management, the recent HDI research report, “The State of Technical Support in 2023,” shows that 22% of organizations have experience level agreements (XLAs) in place. That percentage will likely double over the next two years as more and more organizations become involved in employee experience initiatives. Experience management is a key to elevating the perception of IT within organizations as well as a contributor to attracting and retaining key talent.

Some Trends to Watch in 2024

Considering the massive impact of AI in 2023, new ways will be found to apply this emerging technology in 2024 and beyond. Some changes we expect to see:

  • Staff augmentation: Intelligent chatbots can handle many first-level technical support inquiries, making better support available during traditional off-hours and across multiple time zones. The hybrid and distributed workforce can benefit from this location and time-independent technology.
  • Upskilling: Because of improvements in knowledge management and the addition of intelligent resources, current Level 1 support tasks will be increasingly automated, and service desk analysts will be increasingly expected to handle more advanced tasks.
  • Increased cybersecurity awareness and responsibility: Technical support has historically been one of the vectors for cyberattacks, especially via social engineering.

But AI is not behind every trend. We need to remain aware of the people and process components of our work as well. These include:

  • Increased collaboration with colleagues outside IT: To provide real business value, IT must work closely with all lines of business, learning more about the real needs and expectations of other areas and working to innovate better ways of working. This collaboration can be viewed as an element of enterprise service management and/or digital transformation, both of which are ongoing trends.
  • Awareness of new and advantageous frameworks and methodologies that can avoid duplication of effort and “reinventing the wheel”: Keeping up with ITIL®, and learning more about COBIT, SIAM, Cynefin, Agile, and DVMS, can elevate and extend the careers of IT operations, service management, and technical support professionals.

When we try to put this period into the context of the history of service and support, we will find that 2023 and 2024 are pivotal years. Although the very basic human skills—such as empathy—required for success remain the same, the level of awareness and expertise in other areas has increased. Learning and growing have never been more important.

Tag(s): supportworld, artificial intelligence, ITSM, service management, ITIL, business value, future of support


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