5 Most Common Reasons IT Process Automation Projects Fail

5 Most Common Reasons IT Process Automation Projects Fail

5 Most Common Reasons IT Process Automation Projects Fail

For all the talk we do here at Ayehu about how to make IT process automation work for your organization, one area we don’t usually cover is how and why these types of projects fail. Sometimes even though the reason for adopting automation is on target, the outcome isn’t quite what one had hoped for. This can lead to costly double-work and the frustration of having to start over again. To improve the chances of your ITPA project going off without a hitch, here are the 5 most common failures so you’ll know exactly what to avoid.

Focusing on tools and tasks instead of people.

It may seem somewhat ironic, particularly given the widespread opinion that automation is somehow out to replace humans, but one of the greatest reasons an ITPA project fails is because it was designed around a task or tool instead of the people who it will inevitably help. The fact is, IT process automation is meant to streamline operations and make the lives of your IT department better, not worse. Focus on how the project will benefit your human workers and the results will be much greater.

Failing to adequately calculate and communicate ROI.

For an ITPA project to be carried out successfully, the projected benefits and long-term gains must be determined and demonstrated upfront. This includes taking into account the early costs associated with adopting an automation tool and helping decision makers understand the time-frame for seeing positive returns. Without this, you risk upper management pulling the plug too early due to lack of results. (If you’re not sure how to calculate ROI on an IT automation project, here’s a helpful guideline.)

Not setting appropriate expectations.

Sometimes an IT process automation project is deemed a “failure” simply because it did not meet expectations of certain stakeholders. That’s why it’s so important that those in charge of planning, testing and implementing any ITPA project include communication of the expected time-frame as well as the potential for issues and delays that may inevitably arise. When “the powers-that-be” know what to expect ahead of time, there are no surprises to have to deal with during the process.

Automating broken processes.

Another common cause of an ITPA project failure occurs when those in charge attempt to automate a process that isn’t already working properly. Not only is this a huge waste of time and resources, but it simply won’t work, which means backtracking, adjustments and a whole host of other delays will ultimately occur. Before starting any automation project, be certain everything you’re planning to automate is ready.

Not using the right tool.

Just like most things in IT, not every automation tool is created equal. Some organizations fall into the trap of purchasing the cheapest tool they can find only to learn that, as usual, you get what you pay for. Others make the mistake of investing in a product that they think is top-of-the-line, only to discover that it has way more features than they really need, making it a waste of money. The key to successfully carrying out an IT process automation project is to do your research and select a tool (and a partner) that is both affordable and scalable to fit your specific needs.

Thinking about trying automation but not sure where to begin?

Check out these common tasks and processes that can and should be automated and then download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare to experience it for yourself.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

What’s Holding You Back from Adopting Robotic Process Automation?

What’s Holding You Back from Adopting Robotic Process Automation?A 2012 report from HfS Research contained some pretty incredible facts surrounding robotic process automation, specifically in terms of leveraging RPA as a more cost-effective alternative to outsourcing. In fact, the executive summary read as follows: “While an onshore FTE costing $80k can be replaced by an offshore FTE for $30k, a robot… can perform the same function for $15k or less.”

What company in the world wouldn’t jump on a chance to save that kind of money? Yet, despite these incredibly impressive numbers, there are still a surprising number of organizations that simply have not yet jumped on the bandwagon. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons. Let’s take a look at two of the biggest hurdles.

It’s not a priority at an executive level.

Another, more recent study conducted by HfS revealed that amongst executives in both North America and Europe, very few in either group listed robotic process automation as something critically important to invest in – only a mere 11% in North America and 7% in Europe. A larger number, 78% of European executives, did view RPA as somewhat important, but for 45% of C-suite execs in North America, RPA wasn’t even identified as something worth investing in. In other words, the decision makers are still not fully on-board.

Outsourcing is still winning out.

Regardless of the fact that extensive research has proven that robotic process automation is a much wiser investment than outsourcing and off-shoring, the latter is still the preferred option of the majority of enterprises. It is believed that the reason behind this is largely due to habit. It’s what these organizations know and are comfortable with. There is always a perceived risk when something new and unfamiliar is explored.

How can these objectives be overcome once and for all?

There’s no magical solution to attaining more widespread adoption of robotic process automation, but there are certain things that can be done to improve the chances and speed the process. Ultimately, it may come down to additional proof, that is, a number of substantiated, high-profile cases in which RPA adoption resulted in greater benefits than other available options.

For instance, as executive-level professionals begin to see how RPA negates the need to seek out cost-effective labor (i.e. outsourcing) and eliminates the problems associated with things like sick time and seasonal fluctuations. Robotic process automation provides organizations the scalability and control to adjust to any situation. Best of all, it’s cheaper than other options, so it truly is a win-win.

As case studies and other reports continue to roll out substantiating these facts, RPA will become more attractive and adoption will begin to spread more significantly across the globe.

Of course, if you’re reading this article, you already recognize, to some degree, how powerful, effective and affordable RPA can be.

Why wait any longer? Give robotics a try today and stay a step ahead of the crowd. Download your free 30 day trial today to get started.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Automation of Cyber Security Incident Response: What You Need to Know

Automation of Cyber Security Incident Response: What You Need to KnowThese days, it seems there’s a high profile security breach in the news almost daily. The truth is, cyber-attacks happen to businesses of every size, shape and industry and just because the story may not make the news, the ramifications can be nothing short of devastating. Organizations are under increasing pressure to ensure that when (not if) an attack occurs, they are fully prepared to respond swiftly and effectively to mitigate any potential damages. Let’s take a look at the role automation can and should play in your cyber security incident response strategy.

Without automation, monitoring and managing incidents is up to IT personnel – a team that is most likely already overworked and completely overwhelmed. Given the enhanced sophistication and ever-increasing number of today’s attacks, and the budgetary restraints most organizations are under which limits their staffing potential, the results of a breach could be catastrophic. Here are just a few of the problems that can arise when cyber security incident response is handled manually:

  • Difficulty keeping up with volume of incoming threats
  • Errors due to miscommunication and confusion
  • Lack of adequate, real-time visibility
  • Inexperience with significant and/or high-pressure events
  • Missed or delayed response
  • Increased expenses

The larger the organization, the greater the risk, as the number and complexity of incoming incidents are naturally higher. Still, even small to mid-sized companies must be vigilant about protecting their assets from a potential virtual attack. Hiring additional staff is typically not an option, and as seen in the list above, even when staffing levels are adequate, human error can be a real issue. That’s why automation is so effective.

The fact is, cyber criminals do not discriminate. Your staffing woes or lack of adequate protection could make you a prime target for an attack. Do you have a plan in place? By incorporating automation into your cyber security incident response strategy, you remove the human element from the equation. Not only does this dramatically speed up the process, but it also eliminates the risk of costly human error.

From a reactive standpoint, the moment a potential incident is detected, your automated system will immediately identify and evaluate it for legitimacy and severity. This process will occur each and every time a threat comes in, even if there are thousands a day – something human personnel simply cannot handle. Depending on the outcome of each threat’s analysis, the system will then automatically trigger the appropriate response.

To address the limitations of traditional, manual cyber security incident response, automation presents the following quantifiable benefits:

  • Ability to integrate seamlessly with existing systems (SIEM, monitoring programs, malware analysis, etc.)
  • Reduces risk of any threats slipping through the cracks
  • Provides real-time visibility and control
  • Ability to automate everything from simple tasks to complex workflows
  • Saves time, money and resources

Furthermore, with the right automation tool, previous incidents can be analyzed by IT leaders to help identify and define best practices going forward. This provides the ability to take a proactive approach to cyber security incident response, which can help prevent certain attacks from occurring in the first place.

Is your business truly prepared for potential cyber incidents?

If you’re not yet leveraging the power of automation in this area, you are most definitely at a greater risk.

Don’t take chances. Download your free trial of eyeShare today.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

2016 Trends to Watch for In IT Process Automation

2016 Trends to Watch for In IT Process AutomationWhen it comes to IT, one thing is always certain: change. It’s ongoing and seemingly endless. It’s something everyone within this chosen profession must be aware of and prepared for at all times. In the IT process automation realm, technological advancements and ongoing enhancements are occurring at a lightning speed. Are you ready for what’s to come? Let’s take a look at a few of the trends to watch for over the next 12 months.

IoT – The Internet of Things, or widespread connectivity of devices has been quite the buzz in technology circles. More and more applications, tools and devices are being developed, implemented and integrated with one another as we speak. For IT process automation, this will mean a greater ability to bridge the gaps between legacy and existing systems and create a more cohesive and blended IT environment.

Security – The lengths to which would-be cyber criminals will go to obtain sensitive information will only grow and become more complex and sophisticated. As a result, businesses of every size and industry will have to take the necessary steps to protect themselves from becoming the next victim. IT process automation will continue to be the go-to tool for fortifying cyber security incident response strategies.

Self-Service – These days, the ability to handle transactions in our day to day lives without the need for human interaction is on the rise. From online banking to self-checkout at the grocery store, IT process automation is something that all of us experience on a daily basis. In the workplace, wide-spread adoption of self-service portals will provide end users with the ability to handle many of the routine tasks that would normally have required a call or ticket to the helpdesk.

Standardization – In the beginning, automation was typically adopted on a singular-tool basis. In other words, a specific area of need was identified and an automation tool was chosen and applied only to that one area. This meant dozens of tools could be working independently, a scenario that was neither efficient nor cost-effective. Tomorrow’s IT process automation will provide a more comprehensive, cohesive and standardized approach across the board.

Lower Costs – As has pretty much always been the case, 2016 is expected to bring about additional cost savings as a result of IT process automation. Organizations will be able to streamline operations to maximize efficiency levels, shifting everything from mundane tasks to complex workflows away from the human worker and onto technology instead. The result will save businesses money, do more with less and allow them to achieve greater ROI.

What will 2016 bring for your organization? Could IT process automation be the answer to the challenges you’ve been facing?

There’s only one way to find out – try it for yourself! It’s as easy as downloading a free 30 day trial.

Don’t wait. Let technology help bring your business to the next level.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

The Importance of Solid Cyber Security Incident Response – A Reminder

CyberTech Conference a Reminder of the Importance of Solid Cyber-Security Incident ResponseThe Ayehu team recently participated in the annual CyberTech conference. The original purpose of our attendance was to share information about the eyeShare product through networking and interactive demonstrations. What really occurred there, however, went well beyond product demos and handshakes. We came away with an even greater realization of the critical importance of cyber security incident response, and a renewed dedication to helping organizations protect themselves and their sensitive data against would-be attackers.

As we are all well aware, cyber-attacks aren’t going away any time soon. In fact, they continue to increase in frequency while also becoming much more sophisticated. Traditional methods for monitoring and managing incidents are simply no longer adequate. If businesses are to remain secure, they’ll need to arm themselves with a cyber security incident response strategy that leverages advanced technology to match threats head-on.

One thing that struck us as we discussed the topic of security with conference attendees was the surprising number of organizations that still believe a basic monitoring system is enough. This might have been true a decade ago, but not anymore. The fact is, even the most highly-skilled IT department personnel cannot keep up with the volume of attacks that are coming in at an alarming rate. And as we witness in news reports on an almost weekly basis, all it takes is one legitimate threat that slips through to wreak havoc.

Savvy IT leaders recognize that even the best system can have flaws and vulnerabilities. That’s why integration is so important. For instance, we recommend integrating existing monitoring and alert management platforms with an automation tool that provides more of a closed-loop process. This ensures that every incident detected is instantly and thoroughly assessed, verified and prioritized and that the appropriate steps are taken to resolve the situation accordingly. Essentially, automation provides the added level of protection necessary to fortify cyber security incident response.

As part of our ongoing commitment to delivering the highest quality IT process automation products with special attention paid to security, Ayehu has officially joined the Intel Security Innovation Alliance program. As part of this partnership, we will be integrating our IT process automation software with McAfee Enterprise Security Manager™ (ESM). This integration will enable IT professionals to automate and streamline security policy tasks, such as incident response, in a more efficient and effective manner.

As we reflect on all that we learned at this year’s CyberTech conference, we are honored to be playing a role in helping businesses of every shape, size and industry develop and implement cyber security incident response strategies that are both reliable and effective.

Is your plan strong enough to withstand the cyber-attacks that are inevitably to come? The time to get it right is now – before your organization becomes the next victim.

Get started today by downloading your free 30 day trial of eyeShare.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

How IT Process Automation Can Make Your IT Department More Productive

How IT Process Automation Can Make Your IT Department More ProductiveAnyone who has ever worked a day in the IT realm understands the unique and increasing demands, expectations and pressures this group faces, not the least of which is maximizing productivity. The fact is, those in this chosen profession must somehow find a way to do more with fewer resources while also saving their organizations as much money as possible. In short, this is no easy feat. If you’re in the IT industry and are seeking ways to help boost the productivity and efficiency levels of your team, here are a few ways IT process automation can help.

New Account Provisioning – If we were to ask any given IT team what manual (but necessary) tasks were bogging them down the most, provisioning of new accounts would probably be at the top of the list. This process can sometimes take days to complete and is extremely time consuming, it simply has to be done in order for new employees to be able to access all the systems and applications they need to do their jobs. By automating this essential job function, new accounts can be set up immediately without the need for IT personnel to get involved.

Redundant Tasks – So much time is wasted when IT personnel has to conduct simple, repetitive tasks such as password resets. Yet, while doing so does not necessarily require much in terms of technical expertise, it is still critical because without this function, the end-user can be delayed in performing his or her essential work duties, which can negatively impact the organization as a whole. By implementing a self-service portal, the entire process can be streamlined and automated, saving time and aggravation on both sides of the coin.

Synchronization of Systems – When systems aren’t properly aligned and adequately synchronized to work in conjunction with one another, the resulting impact can include an increase in user error as well as a significant amount of employee time wasted on things like adding and removing users, creating file shares and other necessary maintenance tasks. By automating the account management function, all information can be automatically synchronized across all interconnected systems.

Update/Maintain Accounts – Keeping accounts up to date with the correct information, such as security permissions, is a time-consuming and tedious task – especially for larger organizations at the enterprise level. The account management process is an area where automation can be extremely beneficial, ensuring that all employee roles are set up and maintained as they should be, and that once an employee leaves the company, his or her access is automatically revoked.

Maximization of Skills – Most of those working in the IT department have been well-trained and possess a high level of technical skills. Unfortunately, with manual tasks bogging these staffers down, their abilities are not adequately optimized. With IT process automation, however, many of the less technical manual and routine tasks previously performed by the IT department can be shifted to other departments, such as the help desk. This allows the more advanced staff members to put their valuable technical skills to better use for the benefit of the company.

The IT field is fast paced and highly competitive. Finding a way to maximize efficiency and keep productivity levels as high as possible can help keep your IT department running at peak performance. Automation is the perfect tool for achieving this goal.

Are you ready to start experiencing the benefits of IT process automation for your business? Start your free trial today!

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

How Robotic Process Automation is Helping Humans and Organizations Work Smarter

How Robotic Process Automation is Helping Humans and Organizations Work SmarterThe debate over whether robotic process automation is detrimental to the livelihood of the human worker continues to rage on. Some people remain convinced that more widespread adoption of this type of automation technology will inevitably lead to the demise of many jobs. In reality, people shouldn’t be fearful or resistant to RPA because contrary to popular belief, this technology is not meant to replace them, but instead help them (and their organizations) to work smarter instead of harder.

How much time does your company or IT team waste on routine, repetitive tasks? For every manual process, there are costs associated, both financially and from a productivity standpoint. If you’re paying top dollar for a highly skilled IT professional and that worker is spending half of his or her day working on mindless tasks like password resets and system restarts, you’re wasting your money, plain and simple. Beyond this, the valuable skills these individuals have to offer aren’t being utilized.

Robotic process automation isn’t supposed to leave all of these hard working professionals jobless. To the contrary, leveraging RPA to shift these mundane daily tasks to technology won’t necessarily replace the people sitting in the cubicles. It will, instead, free them up to focus on more complex tasks that do require human input and intelligence. Hence, the “working smarter” concept. This also gives the organization as a whole more bang for their buck.

RPA also provides unprecedented opportunity to scale on-demand, something that has daunted those in the IT industry for decades. Having to bring in additional staff when things scale up is neither easy nor is it financially wise. It’s especially challenging in situations which require immediate response. It’s highly unlikely that a business would have an entire contingent workforce at the ready the moment they’re needed. Likewise, scaling down when demands decrease is equally challenging.

Robotic process automation, on the other hand, is like having an army of skilled professionals at your command. This team can be activated at the flip of a switch to handle whatever volume and demands exist. Furthermore, your human workers are not burdened by the increased workload. When the necessary tasks are completed, the “robots” can then be sent back into the shadows where they’ll rest until the need for them rises again. No hiring or firing. No stress. Just results. And everyone is happy.

The key to changing the mindset about RPA lies in demonstrating how these benefits specifically apply to your employees. When people no longer fear being displaced by technology, and instead begin to view it as a tool that will make their jobs easier, minds will begin to be changed across the board. Even in situations where certain roles may be eliminated, other opportunities and alternatives will begin to emerge.

The fact is, there will always be a need for human intelligence in the workplace. The areas and degrees to which that need will exist remains to be seen. One thing seems certain, however. Robotic process automation is not going away any time soon. In fact, its capabilities and uses are only going to increase over the next ten to twenty years. Only those individuals and organizations that recognize and embrace the benefits of RPA will emerge as successful in the long run.

Are you one of these forward-thinkers? Start putting RPA to work for you today and be ahead of the game tomorrow. Download a free 30 day trial now.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

What is Workflow Automation?

What is a Workflow?At Ayehu, we spend a lot of time thinking, talking and writing about workflows. It occurred to us, however, that for some, the concept of a workflow may not be such a huge part of their day to day lives. In fact, many are new to workflows or have only recently begun encountering them. To make things a little bit easier, we thought we’d take a few moments to break down precisely what a workflow is, as well as when and how workflow automation is used to get those who are unfamiliar up to speed.

To start, let’s take a look at the components that must be present in order for an activity to be considered a workflow.

  • It must include a series of predictable steps
  • It must be repetitive
  • Done manually, it must involve 2 or more people

If any of these three things are not present, the activity isn’t a workflow. This makes sense if you think of how workflow automation works by taking a repetitive task and automating its predictable steps so they no longer have to be done manually. The steps of a workflow may be either concurrent or sequential, in which each one depends on the previous.

Now that you know the definition of a workflow, let’s delve into how to actually map one out. Chances are you’re encountering workflows every day, without even realizing it. For instance, if you’ve ever found that you couldn’t complete a particular task because you were waiting for someone else to complete his or her piece of the process, you’re probably taking part in a workflow. To draw one of these out, grab a pen and paper and do the following.

  1. Verify that the three elements listed above are present (to determine whether it is, indeed a workflow)
  2. Determine the purpose of the workflow (i.e. is it meant to increase productivity, speed up a particular process, etc.?)
  3. List out the steps, one by one, from start to completion
  4. Assign a role to each step (who is responsible for ensuring that each component gets completed)
  5. Account for deviations (what happens if one or more steps aren’t completed, or some other scenario arises?)

Once you’ve mapped out the details of a particular workflow, the next step is determining whether that process could be automated. With workflow automation, you can achieve a number of significant benefits right from the start, such as:

  • Maximize efficiency and productivity levels
  • Eliminate mistakes and redundancies
  • Increase speed of processing, which can boost service levels
  • Enhance visibility of progress and establish greater accountability

Of course, the best way to see how beneficial workflow automation can be is to experience it for yourself.

If you’ve taken the steps listed above and mapped out one or more workflows, why not test out how automation can improve the process?

Download your free trial today to get started.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

5 Reasons You Should Invest in IT Process Automation

5 Reasons You Should Invest in IT Process AutomationThere are plenty of reasons many organizations still haven’t jumped on the IT process automation bandwagon. For some, it seems like too much of an investment. For most, however, it’s more a matter of not fully understanding the benefits this type of tool can have on productivity, efficiency, service levels and operations as a whole. If you’re one of those who are still on the fence about whether ITPA is really worth investing in, here are 5 compelling reasons to help you make the right decision.

Streamline Processes – Most businesses, especially in terms of IT, are run through a number of separate processes. Not only is this incredibly inefficient, but it’s also much more error-prone. If just one area breaks down the potential ripple effect could end up costing the company substantial money. IT process automation is designed to streamline operations so everything works in conjunction for optimum performance.

Reduce Excess Costs – Without question, one of the biggest drains on an organization’s revenue is inefficiency. Another is costly human error. One tiny mistake or delayed process could have a huge impact on the bottom line. By removing the human element from many of the manual processes IT performs on a daily basis, efficiency levels will be maximized and errors will be eliminated, thereby saving money for your company.

Enhanced Visibility and Accountability – Do the decision makers in your IT department really know who’s doing what and how at any given moment? Probably not. This lack of visibility can allow inefficiencies and underperformers to slip through the cracks unnoticed, and the business will pay as a result. The right IT process automation tool will provide real-time insight throughout the entire process. As a result, each team member will have a greater level of accountability for his or her performance.

Identification and Development of Best Practices – The only way to make your business run better is to understand what processes are in place, how they are being handled and what the outcome currently is. This helps you determine what’s working and which areas might need some tweaking. One of the hidden benefits of IT process automation is the insight it provides into key business processes so they can be properly analyzed in order to create and develop best practices moving forward.

Better Use of Resources – Your IT department is staffed with well-trained professionals who, if you don’t have automation, are wasting their valuable skills and abilities. As a result, you are wasting money paying them to do menial tasks for which they are overqualified. By implementing IT process automation, those routine tasks and processes are handled automatically, freeing up your skilled IT personnel to focus their time and efforts on more important tasks.

Is your organization losing money on inefficient processes, errors and wasted efforts?

Are you ready to experience firsthand how IT process automation can help?

Start today by downloading your free 30 day trial.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide