Kentucky eyes AI to slash thousands of service desk requests

Artificial intelligence could change the way Kentucky runs its service desk, the state’s CIO says.

“We’re actually looking at AI to help us with our service desk. We run about 16,000 trouble tickets a month — 42 percent of those are literally password resets,” Chuck Grindle, Kentucky’s chief information officer, says in a video interview. “Can we implement artificial intelligence and allow that to occur automatically?”

Automating that piece of the service desk would free up employees to tackle more complex requests, and ultimately, make the state’s investment in information technology go further, Grindle says.

That efficiency builds on the work the state is already doing in modernization. According to Grindle, the state will wrap up the migration of more than 1,000 physical servers and 3,000 virtual servers to new environments in the state’s primary and alternate data center this month.

“We will be fully operational capable in November,” Grindle says. “We just completed all of the upgrades to our network core — about a $1.5 million worth in infrastructure that we put in place.”

That modernization and consolidation of servers and network infrastructure has positioned the state to make better buying decisions, Grindle says. Now, the state will work to improve how it does business with vendors.

“This upcoming year we are focusing largely on contracting and specifically licensing to first take care of that environment,” Grindle says. “We feel that over the past couple of years we’ve perhaps been spending a little more money than we should have in that endeavor.”

That work is only possible thanks to legislation that enabled Grindle and the Commonwealth’s Office of Technology to have authority over technology spending in the state, as well as technology staffing.

“When I came in, I did not have the authority over the spend. I did not have the authority over the enterprise architecture and the IT people,” Grindle says. “We spend almost $600 million in the Commonwealth on IT. We will [now] be able to have a direct oversight of our architecture.”

But even as Kentucky moves toward AI and other emerging technology, Grindle says his main focuses in the job center around the very core of what his job is: information.

“Things like AI and IoT, I think they’re both transformative, but I would say above all for me is really that middle letter in CIO,” Grindle says. “Traditionally, CIOs in [the Commonwealth Office of Technology] were all about making sure that blinky-blinky is on on the server and we can serve up the database. However, our ability to actually take that data and allow it to be information that can be consumed amongst cabinets and how we share it amongst them will help us inform policy and make better decisions in the Commonwealth.”

Grindle on data and analytics:

Grindle on digital transformation:

Grindle on modernization:

This video was produced by StateScoop at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers Annual Conference in San Diego.