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July/August 2017, Vol. 6, No. 7

Bots infiltrate IT help desk software

Is your new coworker a robot? In the case of IT help desk software, likely yes. The majority of IT help desk functions are routine. Often, it's a simple matter of a user who needs hand-holding to work through a procedure. Many other IT tasks are similarly uncomplicated. The parameters for action are pretty well-understood, and someone or something can be trained to handle them. In fact, IT already uses automation to try to tame complexity. Bots, the catchall term for functions that mimic, in some helpful way, human skills or human personalities, are an embodiment of a kind of automation. Thus, it's probably inevitable that bots in some shape are headed for IT. In fact, a few already have arrived. While bots have existed for a while, their usefulness has begun to improve significantly, said Brian Rinaldi, developer programs manager at Progress Software, based in Bedford, Mass. "We're seeing huge improvements in natural language processing, including services from major companies like IBM, Microsoft, Amazon and Google that allow a...

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