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How to Maximize Efficiency (and Profits) in Your Organization

How to Maximize Efficiency (and Profits) in Your OrganizationToday’s consumers have come to expect lightning fast turnaround and self-service options from the brands with which they do business. As a result, companies have had to adapt quickly and implement internal work processes and operational strategies that are directly in line with these changing customer expectations. Only those that successfully do so will remain competitive and continue to be profitable. If you are struggling to become a more efficient enterprise, workload automation might be the ideal solution.

To facilitate successful adoption of workload automation, there are certain key elements that must be determined and accounted for. For instance, the volume of data being processed on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, time-frames and SLAs, as well as whatever accuracy challenges your business is currently facing. Producing accurate information in a timely manner requires that the right data is transferred securely and managed accordingly. It also requires a single point of control.

Due to the broad range of packaged and custom applications most companies have in place, attention must also be given to consolidation and integration in order to avoid costly resource conflicts. Management can now leverage workload automation as part of the operations process for virtually any area of the business. For example, forecasting when tasks will be performed and completed and then using automated provisioning to respond to incidents and address resource shortages can help ensure that all SLAs are consistently met (or even exceeded).

Ad hoc business transactions can also be optimized through workload automation. This is typically done through self-service interfaces, which allow the end-user to manage whatever task is needed without requiring any human intervention. This, of course, assumes that there is a seamless connection between IT operations and the rest of the business. It also requires a certain degree of abstraction which allows any user – regardless of technical ability and know-how – to define workflows without the need for complicated scripts.

In today’s fast-paced, technology-based world, job scheduling has undoubtedly evolved from the bare basics to advanced automated solutions. There are three main requirements for this transformation.

Centralized Control

First and foremost, you must maintain control of all activities in one centralized location. Because the entire enterprise is run on business process scheduling, and because these processes are all run on the same infrastructure, implementing workload automation can be compared to a juggler keeping all the balls in the air. Someone must ensure that every ball (business process) remains in flight and does not collide (conflict) with the others.

Workload automation must therefore become an enterprise-wide initiative. Systems and applications should remain interconnected to ensure smooth operations across the entire infrastructure. The good news is, most of today’s automation tools have been specifically designed to support existing solutions with the goal of enhancing the benefits of each to maximize efficiency, minimize errors and produce at the highest rate possible. For example, a company that already uses a particular software for help desk ticketing might integrate workload automation to facilitate a more self-service, autonomous business environment.

Timely Completion

The next requirement is that tasks and processes be performed efficiently and completed on time to meet proposed SLAs. Regardless of where the processes are scheduled from, the vast majority of them are critical to successfully delivering accurate information, both to employees as well as to customers. Most business leaders are already a step ahead of the game with forecasting, but struggle when it comes to controlling the process and being agile enough to adapt in the event of failure or resource shortage.

Where workload automation comes into play is in the ability it affords to monitor, analyze and manage things like performance, availability and capacity in real-time. Essentially, technology is running around the clock to ensure that any and all scheduled tasks are performed successfully. Should something go wrong, such as a system outage, the appropriate remediation strategy can be triggered, initiated and carried out instantly and without the need for human assistance. This ensures more timely and accurate performance, which greatly improves satisfaction levels, both internally and externally.

Self-Service Automation

Finally, for the benefits of workload automation to be fully realized, self-service options should be adopted in as many areas as are feasible. The end-user should be able to select from a pre-defined catalogue of various options and initiate the execution of the process of their choice on their own. This dramatically reduces the pressure on the IT department and frees up valuable resources while also creating a more efficient, productive working environment. When people can do their jobs better and faster, everyone benefits – from the empowered end-user to the focused IT professional to the customer who is served more quickly and accurately.

Workload automation essentially represents the marriage between IT automation and business process automation. As we move forward and begin to realize even greater advances in technology, organizational leaders would be wise to shift their thinking and planning from tactical to strategic and begin viewing automation as a tool for achieving much more than just better operational efficiency. For now, it’s a pretty good place to start.

Are you getting as much out of your operations as possible? Could workload automation be the answer to meeting (or exceeding) your business goals, particularly in terms of efficiency and profitability?

Why not get started today for free by downloading eyeShare? There’s no obligation – only opportunity.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Implementing Workload Automation – Tips for Success

Implementing Workload Automation – Tips for SuccessRegardless of the size, shape or industry, every business has one goal in common: increasing revenue and driving growth. In order to achieve this objective in today’s global economy, everyone from executive leadership to entry-level employees must work together to operate as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible, all while consistently delivering exceptional service to remain competitive. Workload automation has become the bedrock for making this goal into a reality.

If you’re considering adopting this technology for your own organization, here are a few expert tips to ensure a smooth, successful implementation.

Plan ahead.

The first step in successful implementation of workload automation is identifying how and where this advanced technology can best benefit your business. There’s no magic formula or perfect blueprint for adopting automation because every organization has its own needs and pain points. Therefore, an audit of current business processes should be conducted to determine where to begin making your business operate smarter and faster.

Create a roadmap.

When you’re traveling, you know that to get from point A to point B, you often need a roadmap. The same concept can be applied to workload automation. Building a clear and comprehensive roadmap of the people, processes and problem areas that should be incrementally addressed is the key to successful implementation.

Overcome objectives.

One of the major stumbling blocks organizations face when attempting to rollout workload automation is resistance from staff. This is due in large part to the mistaken idea that automation will eliminate the need for human workers. While it’s true that some roles will inevitably change, the key to getting buy-in from team members is to overcome their objectives by selling the benefits and keeping a constant line of two-way communication open. Show them how this technology will help not hurt them.

Start small.

You may have some lofty goals for workload automation, but you don’t have to achieve them all right out of the gate. In fact, a more sustainable way to approach implementation is to start small, setting specific, relevant and incremental milestones that are measurable and achievable. It’s better to think about workload automation as a marathon, rather than a sprint, where slow and steady consistently wins the race. The time and commitment of both human and financial resources will be well worth the positive results in the end.

Invest in training.

Most workload automation tools are relatively user-friendly, but that doesn’t mean there won’t still be a substantial learning curve. In many cases, it’s more about training staff to view technology with the right perspective – both for empowering them and for how it directly aligns with your company’s overall business needs. With the right training, your employees will be able to establish a solid foundation upon which additional automated processes can then be built.

Adopting a comprehensive, highly effective workload automation solution is a significant undertaking that should not be taken lightly. In order for the process to be rolled out successfully, it requires a detailed, strategic approach that involves planning, testing, validating and tweaking until you finally get it right. When you do get it right, your business will rise to the next level and become a lean, efficient and successful operation that will be able to consistently outperform the competition.

Are you ready to take that first step? Click here to download a free 30 day trial of eyeShare.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




The Rise of Workload Automation

The Rise of Workload AutomationIn just a short period of time, workload automation has evolved and adapted from basic job scheduling functions to fully functional, feature rich solutions that cover just about every area of IT operations. Today’s automation tools are quickly becoming a valuable resource for a variety of industries and sectors including DevOps, cloud computing and the all-encompassing world of Big Data. But how do CIOs and other key IT decision makers view the changing role of workload automation? Let’s take a closer look.

Perhaps most telling is the fact that automation software is fast becoming an integral part of so many IT operations, and something that CIOs and other IT leaders say they rely on for everyday use. As organizations continue to shift their focus on areas like digitalization, workload automation will become even more of a core function. This will become particularly important as the diversity of applications and technologies continues to widen, with automation serving as the glue that holds everything together.

As organizations turn more to their IT solutions to help them remain agile and competitive, the adoption of workload automation will inevitably rise as well. Furthermore, the role of automation will extend well beyond the IT department to become an integral part of the everyday operations of the entire enterprise, placing the ability to leverage this technology directly into the hands of the end-user.

For instance, HR can now initiate onboarding of new employees as well as perform necessary changes to existing or exiting workers as needed, thanks to the concept of self service automation. Tasks and workflows such as Active Directory account creation, password resets, system restarts and more can all be shifted to an automated solution, taking the burden off IT and creating a much more efficient, productive environment across the board.

As workload automation adoption continues to increase, its role and capabilities will also continue to evolve. Currently, the creation and management of workflows and IT processes is at the top of the list for most IT departments. The ability to scale and adapt to match changing landscapes in the areas of regulatory compliance and other key business environments will also drive improvements and advances in automation technology.

CIOs are beginning to see the benefits in using workload automation for creative purposes, such as implementing better lifecycle management. Today’s leading automation tools are meeting this and other challenges through robust features, seamless integration capabilities, enhanced visibility and control, and solid security support. DevOps is also jumping on the bandwagon, leveraging workload automation to build and deploy processes more quickly and improve collaboration.

As we move forward into tomorrow’s digital age, it’s evident that even more exciting changes are on the horizon. Without a doubt, workload automation will play a significant role in this changing landscape.

Is your organization prepared for the needs and demands of tomorrow? The time to prepare is now. Download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare today.



10 TIME-CONSUMING IT TASKS YOU SHOULD AUTOMATE!




4 Tips for Better IT Operational Efficiency

4 Tips for Better IT Operational EfficiencyIT operational efficiency are fundamental to the ongoing success of businesses of every shape, size and industry. Yet, even those who recognize this fact may not have yet achieved full maturity in these areas. If you want to remain competitive in the digital age, you must find a way to improve, enhance and foster the infrastructure and operations of your organization. Here are four tips to get you started.

Focus on the Right Metrics

Measuring and monitoring performance are critical components of a mature IT operational efficiency so it’s important that you develop a good system with the right metrics in place. Not only do metrics provide the ability to monitor internal performance for improvement purposes, but they also arm IT managers with the tools and information needed to demonstrate those improvements to key decision makers.

Use the tools and technology at your disposal for measuring things like performance and availability, configuration management, workload automation and more to establish a baseline of  IT operational efficiency metrics and measure that baseline regularly. This will allow you to ensure ongoing performance and activity, which will eliminate the need for users to keep such a close watch on IT. This, in turn, provides an added benefit of enhanced security and compliance.

Plan Ahead to Reach Maturity

Understanding that you need to achieve a certain level of  IT operational efficiency maturity and actually putting the right steps in place to do so are two entirely different things. As with anything else in business, if you want to improve and enhance your infrastructure and operations, you must develop and implement a plan for reaching that goal. Try taking a programmatic approach, plotting a course of action that is most closely aligned with your overall business goals and needs.

First, determine the appropriate services that will help you achieve better performance and work toward your goals, always considering the costs associated with said services. Select your services and assemble the right team to help implement and manage those services. A recommended approach is to combine new employees with existing ones and provide the right training and tools to help empower them toward success.

Consider Different Angles & Think Outside the Box

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to maturing your  IT operational efficiency, nor is there one single approach that works better than others. You may need to combine a variety of new and existing technologies to achieve the desired results. For instance, adding new hardware or servers can breathe new life into existing systems and make them more efficient and effective than they were previously. This marries new with old for optimum results at the right price.

Upon a thorough assessment of the company’s required governance, risk levels and change rate, another option would be to shift workloads from core resources into the cloud (either public or private). The key to this step, regardless of how it is ultimately executed, is to identify areas where existing hardware and systems can be leveraged and which areas will require new technology. Therein lies the answer as to which direction your particular business should head.

IT Automation

Finally, although perhaps most important, IT automation can have a tremendous impact on IT operational efficiency maturity. One area in particular where automation can be critical is that of support and remediation. These routine, repetitive tasks, which are usually assigned to the IT help desk, can be more efficiently handled by an automation tool, freeing up personnel to focus on more important things. Automation can also reduce errors and improve compliance through enhanced auditing capability.

The requirement on IT groups to provide better, more accurate service with fewer resources is ultimately the need that will drive IT operational efficiency to perform at its best. This takes maturity, which is something that doesn’t come naturally, but must be achieved through careful, strategic planning and ongoing measurement using the right tools, such as IT automation.

Could your IT operational efficiency use an overhaul? Help bring the maturity of your infrastructure and operations to a whole new level by implementing IT automation within your organization.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Leveraging Workload Automation for IT On-Boarding Processes

Leveraging Workload Automation for IT On-Boarding ProcessesOn-boarding is a critical process that all companies must invest in when bringing new employees up to speed. Not only does this process involve introducing the new team member to the organization and its culture, it also sets expectations and helps get the newbie up and running so they can hit the ground  running productively. IT plays a big part in this process, ensuring that each new user is set up in the system and has the appropriate login credentials and access they need to do their job. The good news is, workload automation can provide a solution to this tedious but necessary task.

Imagine a scenario in which a new employee named Jane shows up to work for her first day. She is eager to get started and, after a brief meeting with HR and filling out some necessary paperwork, Jane is shown to her work station and provided with her user ID and password. Unfortunately, when she attempts to log on and begin her training, the credentials she was given aren’t working. She is forced to call the help desk to request assistance.

When Jane places her call to IT, she gets Brian, a highly skilled but overworked individual who is already in the midst of assisting accounting with a serious system problem. Because the IT department is understaffed, Brian has no choice but to tell Jane he will get back to her once he’s finished with what he’s currently working on. By the time he finally does, it’s already lunch time and Jane has missed out on several hours of mandatory training.

These types of scenarios are happening in offices all across the world on a daily basis. And when things like provisioning new accounts are handled manually, not only is it a huge waste of time, but it’s also incredibly error-prone. When Brian finally had the time to go over Jane’s issue, he discovered that he’d actually set her account up wrong and had to go back and fix the problem before she could successfully access the network. This mistake caused a significant waste of time for both parties.

Enter workload automation. When these routine on-boarding tasks are automated, not only does it save time, but it greatly reduces the number of errors that occur with manual processing. Had the provisioning process been handled via a workload automation tool, Jane would have been able to get right to work as soon as she arrived at her desk. Meanwhile, Brian would have been freed up to focus on other more important issues that require human input.

Looking further at this sample scenario, instead of having to set up each account individually, Brian could have relied on a templated workflow. As soon as HR added Jane to the company database, the on-boarding process would have automatically been triggered without the need for Brian to intervene. Furthermore, IT could also leverage workload automation for additional processes, such as adding new users to payroll or provisioning servers.

Beyond the initial on-boarding process, workload automation can be used to automatically add, delete or modify user attributes. This can provide support throughout an employee’s entire life-cycle with the organization. For example, if a worker receives a promotion, a workflow can be executed to automatically modify that user’s account, access and security settings. It can also handle self-service change requests, such as password resets.

On-boarding is a process that every organization must invest in if they are to bring new employees up to speed quickly and efficiently and get them to maximum productivity. With workload automation, this process can be significantly enhanced, improving internal operations and creating a much better experience for everyone involved.

Want to learn more about leveraging workload automation for your on-boarding activities? Contact us today or click here to download a free 30 day trial.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




3 Key Business Processes that Can Benefit from Workload Automation

3 Key Business Processes that Can Benefit from Workload AutomationJust a few decades ago, manual scripting and old-school batch processing were sufficient for most businesses. Given the always-on, 24/7 digital nature of business today, however, this is no longer enough to keep organizations secure, efficient and competitive. Workload automation is the ideal solution for helping companies run at maximum productivity while also saving time and money. If you’re considering adopting this tool for your business, here are 3 processes that might be a good place to start.

FTPs and Batch Processes

The exchange of information via electronic file transfer is commonplace in almost all businesses today, as is batch data processing. Managing each of these key areas individually is expensive and time-consuming. It also leaves the business vulnerable to risks associated with delays in file transfers or batch process failures.

Yet, many businesses that have adopted automation are still struggling, because they’re attempting to automate each piece separately. That’s because this creates silos and makes it incredibly difficult to manage complex workflows that span multiple applications, databases and FTP operations. The result is a fragmented approach that is both a waste of time and prone to error.

The solution is adopting workload automation that is comprehensive enough to incorporate FTP operation management within the job scheduling function. This provides enhanced visibility and greater control over both FTP and batch processes. With this more architectural approach, if and when a problem occurs, the job scheduler can securely send FTPs and restart automatically from the precise point of failure while also notifying IT operations of the issue.

Data Warehousing & Business Intelligence

These days, real-time data, business intelligence and reporting are essential to an organization’s ongoing success. Furthermore, how this information is gathered, organized and delivered is absolutely critical. Automating the data warehousing process is becoming not just an added benefit, but a necessity.

While there are many different tools that currently exist for this purpose, most have limitations. For instance, many of the popular data warehousing and BI solutions on the market today are platform-specific and are limited in terms of functionality. As a result, in order to effectively pass data across the various systems, IT operations must rely on time-consuming and error-prone scripting.

As a resolution to these serious issues, workload automation can provide the ability to integrate and manage complex workflows that span multiple data warehousing environments. The result is a much greater quality of data and enhanced reporting capability. Scripts and scheduling tools that are platform-specific can then be unified into a single workload automation framework which offers a higher degree of control and allows businesses to meet the increasing demands being placed on them.

Managing Dependencies & Data Sharing

There are a wide variety of applications and platforms that make up a core business infrastructure. This may include anything from CRM and project management systems to ERP, work order management software and supply chain management. Furthermore, the multitude of systems, software and applications are often made up of a mish-mash of well-known suppliers, such as Microsoft, SAP and Oracle.

In order to operate successfully and at maximum efficiency and output, organizations must find a way to seamlessly integrate all of these systems to effectively schedule and manage batch processing. Adopting an architectural approach through workload automation can help achieve this objective, ensuring that business applications are updated in a timely manner and speeding time to resolution in the event of a problem.

Of course, these are just three of the many areas a business can benefit from the adoption and implementation of workload automation.

Are you leveraging this powerful workload automation tool for your own IT operations? Don’t wait! Start automating today. Download your free 30 day trial to get started.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




ITPA vs. Workload Automation – Do You Know The Difference?

ITPA vs. Workload AutomationFor many organizations with mid-size IT groups, the question of how to automate poses a real dilemma. Most businesses recognize that automating routine tasks is essential to running an efficient operation, yet far too few realize the different options available to them. As a result, many businesses are wasting money on complex, expensive overkill tools, of which only 20% will be used.

We thought it would be helpful to take a moment and examine the difference between IT process automation (ITPA) and workload automation, or traditional job scheduling, to help identify areas of potential savings.

Similarities

The terms IT process automation vs. workload automation are often erroneously used interchangeably. This is because there are certain similarities between the two – mainly that they are both valuable tools in saving time and improving efficiency and productivity of operations. But while they are both technically automation tools, that is where the similarities end.

Differences

Where ITPA and workload automation differ is in the scope of functionality. Job scheduling allows businesses to automate tasks across the entire organization. IT process automation, on the other hand, allows for the automation of specific IT tasks. In other words, IT Process Automation is a much more modular, scalable and robust tool, particularly for mid-size IT operations that don’t have the budget to employ both or just need to solve specific pain points. There are three key differences between IT process automation and job scheduling:

  • Workflow – Workload automation doesn’t cover workflow, therefore it lacks the ability to handle the complex logic that is required for most IT processes. ITPA, on the other hand, is developed specifically to execute these complex workflows for dramatically improved efficiency levels.
  • Integration – Job scheduling lacks the capacity for broad integration with datacenter IT tools. It can only be done through a complex and time-consuming layering of scripts and code. IT process automation resolves this by allowing full and deep integration with all IT functions, with task automation spanning across server infrastructure and systems management products, such as systems from BMC, CA, IBM, HP, Microsoft, and more.
  • Data Handling – While job scheduling automates tasks, it does not facilitate the passing of data between jobs, tasks and processes. This is typically left up to an external file system or database. Because ITPA is based on automating entire workflows, the activities in between are seamlessly connected.

Why IT Process Automation Makes More Sense?

When it comes to getting more “bang for your buck”, so to speak, ITPA just makes more sense. With workload automation, there is so much scripting and coding involved in getting the system to work properly that it inevitably ends up becoming an incredible waste of time and resources. Additionally, the tools available through job scheduling are limited and are therefore used on a less frequent basis – typically only about 20% of the time.

This begs the question – why spend money on something that is used infrequently, and that takes so much time and effort to work?

IT process automation provides real cost-effective solutions through end-to-end workflows, simple IT integration, and seamless data transfer. The result is less work on the part of IT operations, which naturally results in improved efficiency – the ultimate goal of true automation.

Still not sure if IT Process Automation is the right solution for your business?





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




The Future of IT Automation What’s in Store for 2013

The Future of IT Automation – What’s in Store for 2013?With the increase of IT complexity, organizations are managing more applications, databases, technologies and people than ever before. IT relies on scripting and home grown applications to integrate between the above. But scripting isn’t good enough; it is time consuming, error prone and expensive. IT automation is going to change that picture in 2013.

Here are 5 things we can expect to see as we navigate into the New Year.

A change in the way workload automation works – Over the coming months, we will begin to see a more proactive and reactive approach with “what if” scenarios. IT personnel will be able to plan, design and execute workflows that allow them to forecast and plan workflow execution across various systems. When combined with the ability to tie workflows in with human decisions, the “what if” workflow capability will provide IT departments with more a flexible and simplified way of managing their jobs across the organization.

The ability to plug in IT automation to the cloud – Bringing IT automation into the virtual and cloud resource management will allow for improved allocation of resources based on capacity and workload demands. There will be several ways to accomplish this, as highlighted in our recent how to plug IT automation software into the cloud.

Streamlining business with IT through automation – Business and IT are becoming two sides of the same coin. As business relies mostly on technology to deliver high quality services and business growth, business processes automation (BPA) enables businesses to design, execute and continuously improve business processes. IT automation solutions will play an increasingly critical role in enabling IT organizations to deliver the more robust, faster and efficient services that the businesses are looking for by enabling business process automation to execute more complex IT processes.

‘Big Data’ and IT automation will become almost interchangeable – There’s no doubt about it – the shift to Big Data is happening, and it’s becoming increasingly evident that traditional data management methods will simply not be adequate to handle all of the changes that are in store. So, what’s the solution? Automation will provide the answer by allowing IT managers to maintain control over the entire data management, access, classification, authorization processes and entitlements, making Big Data much more manageable.

The adoption of self-service automationSelf-service automation is the process of delivering high quality services with minimum cost of IT operations, where the end-user can choose from an online service catalog and initiate a process request or workflow themselves, without involving someone from IT operations. This shift toward empowering the end-user while also freeing up IT personnel to focus on more critical business matters will not only significantly improve operational efficiency, but it will ultimately improve IT service levels and user satisfaction.

As we close the books on 2012 and shift our focus toward the future, it’s clearly evident that there are a lot of changes in store, particularly in the area of IT automation. These are just a few of these changes, but expect to see a good deal more as we continue to learn and develop new ways to use automation to drive the success of our organizations.

Conclusions – IT Automation become a vital solution for business and IT – To insure IT continuity, efficiency and scalability, business will increasingly adopt IT process automation in 2013.

Have you made the switch to IT Automation yet? Don’t get left behind! download our IT Process Automation eBook and position your business for a successful year to come.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate