Five ways ChatGPT can augment IT operations, without reinventing the wheel

IT operations (ITOps) teams are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with the complexity of their technology environments as they continue to grow. Today, the average large enterprise’s tech stack comprises of no less than 187 different applications. As organizations have become more reliant on these applications to support customer experiences and keep revenue flowing, ITOps teams face growing pressure to keep them running smoothly. They need to respond instantly to possible security incidents or service outages before they impact the business, support internal users effectively, and -- where time permits -- support development teams in their efforts to deliver innovation projects. Given the sheer breadth of responsibilities ITOps teams face, it’s no surprise that burnout has become commonplace.

To overcome these challenges and alleviate some of the pressure on ITOps teams, organizations are turning to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation. These capabilities can help by reducing manual workloads and increasing operational efficiency, which in turn boost job satisfaction and often leads to better customer experiences. Organizations have turned to many approaches and tools to drive this automation over the years, but in recent weeks it is ChatGPT, a sophisticated large language model, which has been capturing their attention. Cutting through all the hype, it’s possible to identify clear, practical upsides for businesses that implement ChatGPT in their IT operations.

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ChatGPT: What is it, fundamentally?

Before exploring ChatGPT’s potential benefits for ITOps teams, it’s important to clarify exactly what it is, and what it does. At its heart, ChatGPT is a powerful AI chatbot capable of automating routine tasks and providing users with real-time support. Its ability to process natural language is one of its key strengths.

Using previously acquired information -- soon to include the entire knowledge base that can be accessed via the internet -- it can identify user intentions and provide relevant responses. It also leverages machine learning to improve its responses over time. While it is typically used for chat-based interactions, it can also help speed up and streamline multiple IT operations tasks and processes to drive efficiency. Here are the top five use cases where ChatGPT shows significant potential:

  1. Supporting help desks: Providing effective help desk support is a key challenge for ITOps teams, especially in organizations with a large workforce and those that operate across multiple time zones. ChatGPT can help to ease this pressure by automating routine support tasks and reduce the need for manual intervention. For instance, if a user needs their password reset, ChatGPT can provide simple directions to enable them to remediate the issue themselves rather than needing ITOps to step in. By using ChatGPT for help desk queries, ITOps staff can reduce their workloads, and ensure users have their help desk support queries answered quickly. This leads to improved user experiences, as it becomes significantly easier for employees to access help desk support without losing productivity, and lowered levels of stress among IT operations staff.
  2. Troubleshooting day-to-day problems: Technical troubleshooting is another critical challenge for ITOps teams that ChatGPT can support. For example, if a user is experiencing an issue onboarding themselves to use a new software solution, ChatGPT can instantly scour the product documentation and offer clear, detailed instructions on how to troubleshoot the issue, or direct them to a relevant support page if they need further help. By providing users with real-time support, ChatGPT can help the ITOps team reduce the time spent on support tasks and focus on more complex issues that require their expertise.
  3. Notifying appropriate staff of technical issues: ITOps teams need to be notified in real time when technical issues arise, so that they can respond as quickly and effectively as possible. In cases such as these, ChatGPT can be used to send real-time notifications, to ensure teams take speedy action. For instance, in the case of a server outage, it can send an automated alert to an appropriate team member, who can then go on to resolve the issue as soon as possible.
  4. Speeding up routine work: ChatGPT’s intelligent automation technology can be used to automate repetitive, time-consuming operations tasks such as server maintenance or software updates, freeing up ITOps teams to focus on more complex issues. This not only drives efficiency, but boosts job satisfaction for ITOps teams, by reducing the parts of their role that don’t truly require their specialist skills.
  5. Learning from user intent: ChatGPT can learn from users’ requests and use natural language processing (NLP) techniques to analyze their intent and provide more intelligent answers over time. For example, if the user says, "I can’t access my email," ChatGPT can recognize that they intend to troubleshoot an email access issue. ITOps staff can train ChatGPT to detect these specific intentions by providing samples of user requests and the corresponding intents.

ChatGPT can augment, but not supplant

Love it or loathe it, ChatGPT’s ability to learn from user intent and respond to queries in a precise and timely way can take significant pressure off ITOps teams by reducing the volume of routine, repetitive, and manual work that they simply no longer have time for. If used effectively, ChatGPT can play a pivotal role in modernizing operations workflows, allowing businesses to keep up with rising customer demands and adapt to changing user needs.

It's important, though, that ChatGPT isn’t seen as a silver bullet. Organizations using ChatGPT to enhance their operations must still ensure they have reliable IT architecture in place, and an ITOps team who view ChatGPT for what it is: a tool for augmenting their own work, not an excuse to shirk responsibilities or a potential threat to their employment. When all is said and done, ITOps is too important to organizations’ success to eschew human involvement.

Photo Credit: Photon photo/Shutterstock

Sanjesh Rao is VP of Product Strategy and Innovation Digital ITO at Hexaware.

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