Tips for Managing Your Robotic Process Automation Control Room

Robotic Process Automation RPARobotic process automation is revolutionizing the way business operations are run in just about every aspect. The concept is simple, yet profound and highly effective. RPA utilizes software to automatically execute a broad spectrum of tasks, typically those in IT which are routine, repetitive and a waste of time, money and resources when handled manually. Within RPA is a functionality known as a control room, which allows human workers to oversee the work being completed. To follow are a few helpful tips for successfully managing your robotic process automation control room.

First, we’ll begin with session management. This is the function that allows a user visibility into which resources (robots or virtual machines) are currently available. Those that are free can then be allocated to run a specified automated process. The session management portion of the control room provides insight into basic information, such as the task being completed and the time it’s taken. Successful session management will involve analysis of logs for each resource and ongoing monitoring to ensure that all processes are being completed without issue.

Next, the robotic process automation control room will also feature a work queue. This is used to identify, list and prioritize pending tasks that are waiting to be picked up and completed by a robot or virtual machine. Once completed, the results should then be recorded and stored. For best results, the controller should routinely extract all items processed over a specified time period, determine how many have been completed successfully and identify any exceptions.

Exceptions that are identified should then be further broken down into the categories of system exceptions (i.e. unintentional system failures) and business exceptions (i.e. events that the business may prefer not to have worked). As a result of this process, the data gathered can provide valuable insight into how the automated solution is performing and which areas, if any, could be enhanced for better results. All of this can (and should) lead to improvements to operational areas throughout the business.

Finally, there is the topic of scheduling. Once the robotic process automation solution is fully operational and running at peak performance, the control room can be leveraged to schedule the processes that can be carried out without the need for human intervention. Here is where additional processes, such as administrative tasks, can be scheduled and carried out.

Gaining a deeper understanding of the functionality of the RPA control room will help IT leadership determine what level of skills are required to oversee it. Ideally, those in charge of managing an RPA control room are analytical, highly organized and have the keen ability to plan the use of each resource to maximize efficiency. While a high level of technical knowledge isn’t necessary, a basic awareness is required. Having the right person in charge will further enhance the benefits RPA brings to the business.

Still have questions?

Unsure of whether robotic process automation is right for your organization? Contact us today and let’s discuss your unique situation.

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How to Automate Your Self-Service Portal

Self-Service PortalThink about the last time you had to deal with a live person during some type of day to day transaction, whether it was making a withdrawal at the bank, scheduling a delivery or even checking out at the grocery store. Self-service portal options have become an integral part of our everyday lives, so why should the IT department be any tasks that can and should be handled through a self-service portal, you’re missing out and falling behind.

The way IT once handled incoming service requests typically required a long string of painful manual tasks. For instance, an end-user runs into a problem (let’s say he or she needs a password reset). A help desk ticket is opened, which is then directed to someone in the IT department. The ticket is assigned and opened by IT personnel and the task is manually completed. The ticket must then be closed and the end-user notified that the request has been fulfilled.

Sadly, in many cases (such as our example of a password reset), the incoming request was for something that could easily have been automated to avoid all of this hassle. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have an automated process, initiated through a self-service portal, through which the end-user could immediately resolve his or her issue, completely eliminating the need to open a ticket and wait for response/resolution? This saves everyone time and aggravation.

The time-savings is only the tip of the iceberg, however. There are many more benefits of automating a self-service portal, many of which can impact the bottom line of the business as a whole. These benefits include:

  • Optimizing resources
  • Reducing service tickets/calls
  • Eliminating errors
  • Enhanced visibility and reporting capabilities (for compliance purposes)

All of these things can help IT service providers to lower their total cost of ownership (TCO), something the “powers-that-be” are always happy to see. What’s more, a quality automation tool can provide much more concrete, quantifiable results to demonstrate return on investment (ROI), a task that was once quite challenging to do. This allows IT leaders to access and better allocate funds to optimize operations. It’s a win-win!

Automating standard IT services and applications through a self-service portal just makes sense and it’s becoming a part of most business’ everyday operations. No more relying on busy, overworked IT staff to handle mundane tasks and risk costly delays or mistakes. Now, the end-user is empowered to independently resolve problems on his or her own while automation ensures a speedy and flawless workflow. Meanwhile, IT personnel are freed up to put their valuable skills to work elsewhere.

For more information on self-service portal and how you can leverage them in your own organization, click here. Or, download your free 30 day trial to experience it for yourself!


5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation


Using IT Process Automation as Your Emergency Shutdown Button

EPO for ITAs we start to get deeper into the colder months, the inevitability of snow and ice storms is fast approaching, which brings along the risk of an emergency shutdown for businesses. Here’s how IT process automation can help you.

Is your data center prepared to handle such an emergency? Should the power go out, what plan do you have in place to conserve energy and save precious battery power? The best thing you can do is be proactive and prepare ahead of time, and IT process automation can help you do just that.

You may have heard the term “EPO”, short for emergency power off button. This is essentially the “big red button” that is in place to shut down all operations within the data center in the event of an emergency or disaster.

The problem with this concept is its all or nothing approach. When activated, the EPO button basically shuts everything down in an instant. If this happens in error, or worse – as an act of deliberate sabotage, the impact could be catastrophic for the business.

What if, instead of setting your system up for complete shutdown in emergency situations, you were able to automate a sequence of processes that would shut down specific servers according to internal policies and priorities when power is limited? That way, those systems that are most critical to the business can continue to operate as needed, while other, less critical functions are shutdown to preserve battery or generator usage.

Watch this video to learn how to implement shutdown process:

With IT process automation, you can plan ahead for a potential disaster by determining exactly which systems should remain up and running, which ones can be turned off, and in what order.

When activated, the workflow will be initiated automatically, allowing those managing the situation to focus on other important matters, like getting things back up and running again as quickly as possible. This process is especially helpful in preventing file corruption or loss of data.

IT process automation can be used to handle an emergency server shutdown from start to finish. A workflow would be created ahead of time that would include a series of pre-programmed steps ordering which systems to be shut down, and in what order. Once established and in place, the automated workflow would simply need to be initiated by the user in charge of handling emergency situations. Once activated, the system shutdown would begin and would continue on until the situation has been resolved. Then, it’s simply a matter of reactivating all systems to full capacity again.

This helps to better manage a power outage, as well as reduce the risks associated with having a traditional EPO, since only those systems deemed to be less important would shut down if the workflow is triggered accidentally or deliberately. The most critical systems will remain up and running, greatly mitigating the potential damages of a total shutdown.

With winter right around the corner, do you have a plan in place for an emergency situation? Don’t leave it up to chance. Protect your data center and its most critical functions by leveraging IT process automation as your emergency shutdown plan.  





How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes




How to Use Automation to Thwart Cyber Security Attacks

How to Use Automation to Thwart Cyber Security AttacksCyber security attacks are nothing new to the business world. One need only look to news reports from recent months to see that these types of serious breaches are occurring on an ever-increasing basis. Furthermore, they’re also increasing in severity and complexity. For organizations that are ill-prepared for such imminent threats, the results can be nothing short of catastrophic. The good news is, there is a highly effective tool that can stop a cyber attack in its tracks: automation. Here’s how.

Cyber security attacks are occurring on a daily basis, and they’re affecting businesses great and small. What’s more, with the savvy criminals behind these attacks becoming more skilled at avoiding detection and gaining access to the sensitive data they’re after, companies must be able to anticipate the risks and act accordingly to mitigate damages. This is made even clearer when one considers that a successful breach can occur in mere moments while the subsequent clean-up can take months or even years to complete.

Now consider even more sobering data. In 2012, the United States alone saw an increase in mobile malware of 400%. Targeted cyber attacks also went up by 42% and the number of records compromised as a result of a security breach rose by 300%. These shocking numbers represent a digital world that is constantly evolving. As technology advances, cyber security incident response strategies must stay a step ahead of the game. Automation can provide the missing puzzle piece needed to achieve this goal.

The first step is evaluating your monitoring system. Like it or not, with the increase in threats, unless you have a solid system in place to effectively identify these risks as they occur, you’re more vulnerable than you may think. Furthermore, even the most well-staffed IT department is no match for the volume of incoming incidents. The key is developing a cyber security incident response plan that integrates a quality monitoring system with the automation necessary to keep on top of incoming threats.

Adequate risk management requires automation technology that can adapt in real-time so that the moment a potential risk is detected, it is immediately analyzed. From there, should action be necessary, incidents must be prioritized based on threat-level and sent along the appropriate channels so they can be addressed accordingly. Responses can either be triggered automatically or can be escalated to be handled via human intervention if need be. All of this must occur 24/7 in order to stay ahead of the game, something most businesses do not have the resources to handle without automation.

The key to an effective cyber security incident response strategy is closing the gap between detection and response. It’s becoming increasingly evident that traditional incident management plans which depend on manual intervention are simply no longer capable of keeping up with the frequency, speed and versatility of cyber attacks. Simply put, new risks require a new way of thinking and automation is proving to be the key to stopping incidents in their tracks.

How solid is your cyber security incident response plan? Download your free trial of eyeShare today to learn how automation can provide you with the tools you need to keep your organization safe for years to come.





eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response




Managed service provider (MSPs) and the IT process automation race – Your success depends on winning

MSPs and the IT process Automation RaceAnyone who understands the role of a managed service provider (MSP) understands the importance of doing more with less. It’s really all about scale and common sense. The more efficient and effective your performance, the more success you’ll achieve. The problem is, achieving a high level of scalability isn’t always possible when budget is involved, because for many organizations, hiring additional staff simply isn’t feasible. The solution? IT process Automation, and leveraging it to win the race and become the head of the pack.

MSP experts agree that when it comes to stiff competition and budgetary restrictions, the best and only solution is to invest in automation. This is the case even with enterprises that do not struggle with cash flow issues. Even if you can afford to hire additional staff, doing so will inevitably impact your bottom line. If you take a step back and allow technology to do the heavy lifting for you, on the other hand, you’ve got scalability without the added expenditure of beefing up personnel.

The ability to outsource and even relocate operation centers to other areas of the world may provide a slight advantage in terms of overall cost, but it won’t necessarily level the economic playing field. The ultimate goal of every MSP is to deliver as many quality services as possible while utilizing the fewest number of employees…hence, doing more with less. Tapping into foreign markets and moving your IT department will not achieve this. Only automation will.

That said, it’s also critically important that key decision makers do their due diligence when choosing an IT automation product to work with. Those who have been most successful in this battle of the fittest have provided some insight into what to be careful of during the selection process. Most importantly, keep the concept of scalability in mind. Make sure you choose a product that will be able to bridge the past with the future, integrating with legacy systems while also adapting with your changing business needs as they occur. Flexibility is key.

It’s also extremely important that the automation platform you choose be robust. Remember, you’re going to be relying on this system to handle not just simple, repetitive tasks but also things that are critical to the success of your entire organization, such as incident management and advanced workflow performance.  Do your homework and make sure the product you ultimately select is comprehensive enough to handle anything your business may need.

As we move forward, there’s no question that automation will become the central part of any successful MSPs strategy, and only those organizations that embrace and act on this will continue to remain competitive.

Don’t get left in the dust! Get your managed service provider on track to a competitive and lucrative future by investing in automation.


eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s




How Robotic Process Automation is Revolutionizing the Managed Service Providers (MSP) Industry

How Robotic Process Automation is Revolutionizing the Managed Service Providers (MSP) IndustryToday’s managed service providers are being expected to meet increasingly complex client needs and maximize efficiency while also keeping costs down. In the age of digital data, this is no easy feat. In fact, staying competitive these days is something that most businesses are struggling with as the world evolves rapidly around them. Robotic process automation (RPA) is proving to be the ideal tool for helping service providers in every industry achieve the competitive edge needed to realize ongoing success.

For those who are unfamiliar, robotic process automation is an advanced technology that allows computer software to take on the routine, repetitive tasks that were once handled by human workers. This software, or “robot,” is capable of capturing data from existing systems and applications and then using that data to process transactions, trigger various responses and effectively communicate with other tools and systems.

RPA has been making the news of late, mostly in general terms. Many noteworthy news outlets have been hailing the capabilities of this technology for use in traditional office roles. While there are still some who view robotic process automation as a threat, most people are recognizing that it’s more of a tool to make the lives of human workers easier, not to necessarily replace them altogether. Yes, some jobs will be eliminated, but that should make way for newer, better opportunities for people.

One key area that RPA is starting (and will continue) to shine is in the service provider industry. Given the saturated market in this highly competitive field, finding a leg up is challenging. Prices can only be lowered so much before profits take a hit and hiring additional staff to keep up with increasing demands just doesn’t make fiscal sense. Robotic process automation provides the ideal solution.

Automation enables service providers to keep staff levels lean while still producing optimum output at maximum efficiency levels. Essentially, it allows businesses to do more with less. Furthermore, highly skilled employees are able to put their expertise to better use focusing on more critical business matters, since menial day to day and even complex processes are being shifted to automation.

Another important component of the service industry is the ability to maintain exceptional quality of work to keep customers happy. When robots are introduced, productivity can increase exponentially without the worry of quality taking a hit. Human errors are also eliminated, which can actually increase the quality of service being performed. Finally, RPA provides the ability to scale up and down in an instant, based on business need.

As the business world continues to evolve, the demands placed on service providers will only continue to rise and become more stringent. Robotic process automation is the answer to not only handling those pressures, but exceeding expectations again and again.

Want to learn how robotic process automation can revolutionize your organization? Check out these top 10 automated processes and then start your free trial today.


eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s