5 Mistakes to Avoid When Implementing IT Process Automation

5 Misktakes to Avoid When Implementing IT Process AutomationLaunching an IT process automation project isn’t something that should be taken lightly. As with anything else in IT, in order for the process itself to go smoothly – from start to finish – you must plan carefully. More importantly, you must know what common mistakes are often made that can slow down or even completely derail the plan so that you can avoid making those same errors with your own project. Here are five of those common mistakes to be mindful of.

Choosing the wrong platform.

First and foremost, you cannot expect to complete a project in IT without the right tools and technology at your disposal. That being said, not all IT process automation platforms are created equal. Some are entirely too complex, difficult to use and lack critical intuitiveness. Others are simply too broad, encompassing too many tasks and workflows at once. What you need is an IT automation and orchestration platform that is easy to implement, simple to learn, can be integrated with existing systems and is inherently intuitive (ideally driven by AI capability). You should also look for a product that is scalable, allowing you to start out by automating one or two workflows and then work your way up.

Starting with the wrong processes.

When first rolling out IT process automation, the best tactic to take is to start small and then gradually work your way up. Many IT professionals make the mistake of beginning their automation project with a workflow that is extremely complex or which covers too wide of a scope. The basics of ITPA involve automating basic, manual repetitive daily tasks – at least in the beginning. Start with these, and once you’re comfortable with the platform you’re using, move on to more comprehensive processes.

Approaching solely from a technology standpoint.

It may seem like an oxymoron to list this as a mistake, but believe it or not, the best way to approach an automation project is not from a point of technology, but from a point of problem solving. You should first have a clear picture of what pain points you want IT process automation to address, and in what order, and then view the automation as a means to that end. When you do so, you focus on the more important end result and how to reach it, rather than getting caught up in the technology behind it.

Not looking at the big picture.

While it’s true that automation is highly effective in taking routine tasks of one small department and automating them to improve efficiency, what many fail to consider is that these tools can do so much more. In fact, the ultimate goal of ITPA is to become a bridge that connects all departments and ties together the entire infrastructure of an organization. Focusing on just one area can limit the virtually endless potential that IT process automation has to offer.

Failing to recognize and measure the value of automation.

As with anything else in business, measuring the success of your ITPA strategy and extracting its value is critical, yet it’s something that is overlooked far too often. In order to truly get the most out of your automation project, you must understand how to calculate your return on investment. This will help you uncover areas that could use some adjustments and identify which workflows and processes have been successfully automated. (Not sure how to do this? Don’t worry. We’ve already done the work for you in our free eBook.)

The key to success in any business project is planning ahead, and part of that planning involves recognizing the common mistakes made by others so that you can hopefully avoid doing the same. If you’re not careful, these five routine errors can slow down and even bring your ITPA process to a grinding halt. By choosing the right tool, starting small, focusing on the big picture and properly measuring your progress, you’ll be well on your way to successful ITPA implementation.

For more tips and tricks on launching a successful IT process automation project, download your free copy of the ITPA Survival Guide below or click here to request a free product demo today.

EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

Ayehu VP of Alliances and Partnerships Brian Boeggeman to Present at International Cloud Expo 2017

Ayehu to Present at Cloud ExpoSanta Clara, CA –- Oct. 25, 2017Ayehu, provider of the IT automation and orchestration platform built for the Digital Era, today announced that VP of Alliances and Partnerships, Brian Boeggeman will present at SYS-CON’s 21st  International Cloud Expo® 2017 on November 1, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Boeggeman’s session will be part of the Enterprise Cloud and Digital Transformation track and is titled: “Intelligent Automation in the Digital Transformation Era.”

The presentation will address today’s key business imperatives for CIOs and CISOs and the journey to digital transformation. Mapping out the phases of intelligent automation, attendees will learn the impact of today’s challenges and opportunities. The session will explain the concept of the self-driving enterprise, and how when companies embody the key pillars of automation, they will accelerate business value and ensure future success in the digital landscape.

Produced by SYS-CON Events, Cloud Expo is a show where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss cloud computing and all that it entails. The three-day event (October 31, 2017 – November 2, 2017) offers a wide range of keynotes, technical sessions, and power panels on topics including cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and analytics, digital transformation and much more.

Boeggeman’s Cloud Expo session will be held on November 1, 2017 from 3:40 p.m. – 4:15 p.m. PST. Additionally, at the event, Ayehu will demonstrate its intelligent automation and orchestration platform in its booth #316.

Mitigating Risk with Compliance Automation

Mitigating Risk with Compliance AutomationWith laws and regulatory requirements evolving on a continuous basis and the stakes incredibly high in most industries, compliance professionals face the challenge of eliminating whatever might be standing in the way of conformity. Despite the fact that many organizations have already invested significantly in maintaining compliance, their efforts are often undermined by something as basic as improper or inadequate reporting. That’s where compliance automation comes into play.

The outcome of companies that fail to prioritize compliance can be seen all around us. Almost daily, another headline appears highlighting the downfall of yet another promising startup. Not only do failures in this area impact the company itself and its customers and investors, but these incidents also tend to result in a tightening of compliance regulations. So, in essence, when one organization messes up, everyone in that industry (and sometimes beyond) must pay to some degree.

When it comes to compliance, there are a number of ways a company can head down the wrong path. Businesses are tasked with staying on top of complex regulations and deal with the time, money and other resources that are consumed by ongoing data gathering and compliance monitoring. Streamlining reporting through compliance automation can alleviate much of this burden. But how? What’s the best way to transition from manual to automated (and therefore more auditable) processes?

The simplest solution is to eliminate as much human interaction from your workflows as possible. Compliance automation delivers much more than enhanced efficiency. It also provides a number of benefits as they relate to risk management. With an automation and orchestration platform in place, compliance teams can rest easy knowing that they are in good standing with all regulatory requirements.

Furthermore, come audit time, all the relevant data will be available at the click of a button. With automated workflows, there’s no laborious data gathering or risk of erroneous reporting. Most critically, because the business will remain compliant, it will also remain safe from potential penalties and other costly consequences. The less the compliance team relies on manual processes, the less exposure there will be for the company as a whole.

Remember – compliance problems don’t only result in costly fines and penalties. They can also wreak havoc on a company’s reputation, market value and more. By integrating automated technology into the compliance process, businesses can effectively eliminate additional risk of human error that could threaten to derail an otherwise sound operation. Compliance automation facilitates a repetitive, easily monitored and managed set of workflows, gathering data in one single platform and exposing potential issues so they can be addressed before they become a serious problem.

To see for yourself how Ayehu’s automation and orchestration platform can help streamline compliance and just about every other area of your business operations, click here.

EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

ITSM Automation: The Secret Key to Unlocking Business Value

ITSM Automation: The Secret Key to Unlocking Business ValueOne of the more surprising trends in recent history has been the implementation of IT Service Management (ITSM) in areas that are outside of the IT realm, such as facilities management and human resources. Similar to IT, these functions can derive significant business value from standardizing, automating and streamlining workflows and processes. Furthermore, by cutting costs and skyrocketing efficiency, ITSM automation can help all lines of business roll out newer and better capabilities for the benefit of the entire organization.

Widespread Benefits of ITSM Automation

According to a recent survey by PMG, nearly three quarters of the 300 respondents listed self-service automation as beneficial to the entire organization. 68 percent agreed that automation can help lower the costs of IT operations. 82 percent acknowledged that automation has fundamentally changed the way cloud and virtual environments are managed while 65 percent credit automated technology as instrumental in integrating and managing Big Data.

Nearly all survey respondents, however, (98 percent) agreed that automation already provides clear and measurable business benefits, including:

  • Enhanced customer satisfaction
  • Increased productivity and subsequent gains
  • Better knowledge sharing
  • New product delivery

It’s no surprise, then, that ITSM automation is now being leveraged to streamline manual processes across entire organizations, including IT help desks, HR departments, customer contact centers and more. Extending automation outside IT departments into other business units within the company is becoming much more commonplace.

Aligning ITSM Automation with Business Goals

Of course, in order for ITSM automation to truly generate measurable benefits across the enterprise, it must be aligned as closely as possible with broader organizational goals. This isn’t a significant challenge, however, thanks to ITSM’s ability to facilitate better communication throughout the company. By eliminating miscommunication, businesses gain greater efficiencies. When IT becomes less of a silo and more a part of overall business operations, everyone benefits because they’re all on the same page.

Obstacles to ITSM Automation

While the majority of business leaders agree on the many benefits ITSM automation has to offer, there are still certain key challenges that exist and must be overcome. One of the biggest obstacles is the lack of a holistic approach to automation, which results in silos that are not integrated and therefore are not being leveraged to their fullest potential. In some instances, separate automated processes actually work against rather than with one another, slowing down progress and creating more inefficiency than they’re supposed to eliminate.

One of the contributors to these silos of automation is different departments that deploy automation individually, without the IT team’s knowledge and assistance. Other respondents to the survey cited business leaders who create their own automated solutions using incorrect tools or non-standard processes. Clearly these issues must be addressed and overcome if ITSM automation is to become truly beneficial. Ideally, the IT department should take the lead on developing and implementing an interdepartmental strategy for automation.

The first step? Choosing the right platform. Watch ITSM automation powered by machine learning and AI in action today by requesting a free product demo. Click here to get started.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

Implementing IT Process Automation? Start by Crawling…

Implementing IT Process Automation? Start by CrawlingThere’s a common misconception about IT process automation that it’s extremely expensive, a huge pain to implement and that even after you invest a ton of money and spend months getting it up and running, it doesn’t work as promised. To the contrary, automating your IT workflows and processes doesn’t have to be costly or difficult, and it can work amazingly well…provided it’s approached the right way. Let’s take a look at a concept known as the “crawl, walk, run approach” and how it makes implementing ITPA easy and effective.

Crawl…

If you think about how a small baby begins to develop and become mobile, you can envision a slow, cautious start. Then, as confidence and experience builds, the child will begin to move faster and accomplish a little more with each endeavor. Using automation successfully should be the same. Start out slow, testing the waters by automating one or two simple tasks that are not business critical. Once you begin to get comfortable with the product, you will feel more confident rolling it out to other, more important tasks and workflows.

Walk…

Learning to walk takes time, patience and support. It’s the same with automation. Don’t get caught up in the pressure to jump in and move too fast. Instead, get the appropriate resources in place before you launch any major automation projects. Support in the form of project managers, IT process automation experts or engineers will be invaluable during this planning stage. In some cases, the automation company you choose will offer this service as part of their package. Others may be able to recommend professionals that will fit with your needs and your budget.

Once you’ve developed a well-thought-out, step-by-step plan, continue the patient pace by building out the steps, workflows and interfaces for each process. Ample testing should be conducted, ideally in a specially designated test environment or during scheduled maintenance downtime. Focus not only on the initial deployment, but also on a change management strategy so that your automated processes and workflows can adapt with future changes to business needs.

Run…

Now that you’ve successfully tested and implemented IT process automation, it’s time to pick up the pace. Every runner knows that in order to maintain a steady sprint, proper stretching is required. Once you’ve gone through the initial walking process, it’s time to extend automation to new initiatives and applications. As always, tackle one task at a time until you’re satisfied with the results and then move on to the next. Over time, managing multiple automated workflows and even linking several together will become completely do-able.

Some Additional Words of Wisdom…

An important thing to keep in mind is that when it comes to automation, as with most anything else, you get what you pay for. Those free bundled products are probably not all that great, otherwise they wouldn’t be free. Paying for the right IT process automation software, although requiring a monetary investment, can really pay off in the long run when the business benefits begin to significantly outweigh the costs incurred.

The bottom line is, IT process automation doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, and it doesn’t have to be a huge headache to implement. Provided you follow the steps above, starting off small and slowly scaling up, you can realize the true benefits of ITPA without all the hassle and without breaking the bank.

Ready to explore what automation can do for your business? Take the next generation of IT automation and orchestration powered by AI for a test drive today. Click here to get started!

EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)

The Role of Chief Automation Officer in Digital Transformation

Today’s savvy business leaders recognize the need to adapt to changing technology or risk being left behind. And while we may not be able to control what that technology will be or which direction it will take us, we can take advantage by responding quickly and making the necessary adaptations before our competitors. That’s why the role of Chief Automation Officer is becoming much more necessary.

A recent study by PMG revealed that the biggest obstacle to successful adoption of automation was the lack of a holistic approach. In fact, 59 percent of respondents agreed that automation implemented on an ad hoc basis leads to incompatibility and subsequent inefficiency. Most organizations today require not only a unification of silos but also the ability to align automation strategies between different physical locations, some of which may be situated half a world away.

How can one expect to effectively align IT functions with the business as a whole when automation – the very technology that’s designed to enable better business decisions – is not adequately represented in the C-Suite? A CAO brings valuable perspective with the ability to see automation from a global viewpoint. As a result, automation becomes a critical component of the overall strategy rather than just a means to deliver it.

Organizations with multiple technology centers located worldwide recognize the importance of globaThe Role of Chief Automation Officer in Digital Transformationl collaboration to the forward progress of the company. There is little overall business value if you’ve achieved continuous process improvement in just one office but not the others. You may have certain specialists deployed across the globe who are highly skilled at managing automation technology, but if there’s no central strategy and one leader, their abilities cannot be maximized.

The CAO’s purpose is to drive this type of simultaneous widespread orchestration. While automation specialists focus on their specific IT departments, managing the day to day operations, the Chief Automation Officer spends his or her time looking outward and forward. This role is absolutely essential to achieving rapid, sustainable transformation, as the ability to orchestrate automation on a global scale and unify strategies is what ultimately enables businesses to adapt at the speed of thought.

Automation is critical to an organization’s ability to reallocate capital from today’s business operations to the needs of tomorrow. It allows IT to shift from reactively putting out fires to taking a more proactive approach, which is necessary for successful digital transformation.

The good news is automation is evolving at relatively the same pace as the complexity it is designed to simplify. Disruption that would otherwise be overwhelming is now becoming entirely feasible thanks to automation and orchestration solutions that provide a competitive edge. Deriving business value from the IoT, for instance, is made possible by automation strategies that process and analyze the data being procured. Automation essentially frees up funds that can then be used to fuel innovation.

The CAO is responsible for taking optimized workflows and applying them wherever feasible throughout the entire organization. This creates more compliant and easily auditable processes. And because this approach eliminates repetition and duplication of work, the entire operation can run more consistently and efficiently. Furthermore, by evaluating how automation is utilized throughout the company, the CAO is also able to optimize the allocation of human resources, removing bottlenecks and improving productivity across the enterprise.

Another area where the CAO can be highly beneficial to the company is in his or her ability to seek inspiration from the rest of the workforce. One company was able to uncover nearly 300 innovative ideas simply by asking employees to suggest processes to automate. In the absence of this communication between upper management and frontline workers, these suggestions, and the positive changes they brought about, would have remained private.

In conclusion, automation remains a catalyst for change, driver of innovation and procurer of productivity. With the overarching visibility and control a CAO provides, automation strategies will have the flexibility and scope needed to stimulate disruption and achieve digital transformation.

Want to see the power of automation and orchestration powered by machine learning in action? Click here to request a product demo.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

5 Cybersecurity Mistakes That Could Be Placing Your Company in Danger

5 Cybersecurity Mistakes That Could Be Placing Your Company in DangerWhen it comes to keeping your organization and all the data you maintain secure from potential breaches, you may believe you know the basics. You may even think you’ve got it all together, with all the right strategies, tools and technologies in place to ensure maximum protection. But there are a few mistakes that many companies make without even realizing they’re doing so. And the consequences of those errors could be incredibly costly, both financially and reputation-wise. If you or your cybersecurity team are committing any of the following blunders, your business could be at risk.

Being overconfident.

Some IT leaders make the egregious mistake of believing that cybersecurity isn’t really that much to be concerned about. For instance, some think that because they’re a small business, cyber criminals aren’t interested in the information they possess. Others, such as end-users, believe that their IT team will handle everything. The fact is, cybersecurity is something companies of every size and all employees absolutely must account for. Otherwise, your firm will become a sitting target.

Neglecting the power of email.

Many companies invest tons of money, time and resources into protecting their network and infrastructure, yet somehow forget to secure email communications. The fact is, email remains one of the most effective tools used by cyber criminals to gain access to the sensitive data they’re after and if you’re not using the right kind of protection – namely two-step verification and encryption – you’re placing your company at risk. It’s equally important to educate all users about how to spot phishing and other social engineering attempts.

Inadequate password policies.

Weak passwords are a hacker’s dream come true. Despite this fact, it’s alarming how many people still use passwords like ‘12345’ or ‘admin’. Not only do people use these easy-to-guess passwords, but they often reuse them on multiple systems, making it simple for a cyber-criminal to gain access to any number of systems and applications. This is a huge problem for companies that must be addressed through the development and implementation of strong password policies.

Thinking anti-virus is enough.

Many otherwise savvy individuals make the costly error of believing that anti-virus software is enough to keep their sensitive data secure. The fact is, today’s hackers are becoming more sophisticated and persistent by the day, which means they’re identifying newer vulnerabilities to exploit – vulnerabilities that cannot be detected with traditional malware prevention methods. To truly be safe, the use of automated cybersecurity incident response powered by machine learning is strongly recommended.

Not backing up data.

The fact is, even the strongest cybersecurity strategy can be infiltrated by a dedicated enough hacker. It’s no longer a question of IF you’ll be attacked, but rather WHEN. As such, engaging in regular data backup activities can ensure that should your infrastructure be compromised, you can get back up and running quickly and with minimal impact. For instance, when your data is backed up, a ransomware attack can be neutralized since there will be no need to pay the fee in order to regain access to files. Instead, the infected files can be isolated and eradicated and data restored from your backup.

These five cybersecurity mistakes are surprisingly common. Thankfully, correcting them isn’t impossible. If you recognize any of the above occurring within your organization, the time to take action is now. Start by implementing the right policies, educating employees and investing in the right technology to keep your information as secure as possible.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

Is your IT department wasting time and money? Here’s the solution.

Is your IT department wasting time and money?It seems as though the concept of doing more with less came around rather recently. In reality, however, managing a lot of tasks on a budget is nothing new. In fact, it’s been a priority for businesses across just about every industry for decades now. When the economy took a nose-dive several years ago and companies had no choice but to lay off large chunks of their workforce, there was no other option than to figure out a way to get the work done with whatever skeleton crew was left.

Yet, to this very day, countless businesses are still chasing their tails, being bogged down with manual work that can (and should be) handled through IT automation. Right now, as you are reading this article, IT departments in all corners of the globe are busy writing scripts and going through workflows, step by painful step. Meanwhile, their productivity is suffering, as is the bottom line of their organizations as a whole.

So, what’s the solution? Could it really be as simple as choosing an IT automation platform? The answers to these questions lies in the reality of what your IT department looks like at the moment. Are your team members spending hours upon hours fielding incoming alerts and processing workflows that require little to no actual “skill”? What could your department accomplish if the majority of your workers weren’t tied to their desks going through the drudgery of doing things by hand all day?

While the ultimate goal would be to develop an IT automation strategy that is sophisticated enough to streamline all of your operations, what you can do right now is take that first step. It doesn’t have to involve a year’s worth of research and testing to find the perfect solution to all your IT woes. Yes – that’s the overarching objective, but it doesn’t have to be that complicated to start. The first, and most important step, is choosing to make a change – even if it’s just automating one small task.

Your challenge for the week is to observe those who work in IT and identify one or two basic tasks that are being performed manually (more than twice per day). When you see these things, ask yourself why they are being handled this way. Calculate the costs associated with the time it takes your worker to complete. Let’s say the employee in question makes $30 per hour. If it takes 3 hours a day to complete one manual task, you’re dishing out nearly $100 for something that IT automation could do in seconds.

By identifying key areas that are costing your business precious time and money, you can then look for an IT automation solution that can improve those processes. Start small, then work your way up. Once you’ve successfully automated those first few activities, expand your horizons to bigger, more complex processes. Before you know it, your business will be operating much more efficiently. As a bonus, your skilled IT professionals will be freed up to focus on more critical business projects.

Not quite sure where to begin? Check out 10 time-consuming IT tasks you should be automating below and then click here to request a free demo and get started on the path to a leaner, more productive organization.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Free Webinar: Automate Your Service Desk with ServiceNow in Less than an Hour

Webinar - ServiceNow - AyehuAccording to Gartner, ServiceNow appears on client shortlists “…at more than double the frequency of any other vendor”. It is, without question, one of the undisputed leaders of the ITSM market, and an icon of cloud computing, allowing users to consolidate their on-premise IT tools into one modern, easy-to-use service management solution.

Yet, despite its widespread use, organizations still struggle with optimizing ServiceNow and getting the most out of their instance. This leads to frustrated staff, resentful users, and a drag on earning a positive ROI.

Integrated with Ayehu’s automation and orchestration platform, however, IT departments and service desk personnel can easily automate many of their manual, laborious ServiceNow tasks.  Additionally, users can leverage automation technology to push out ticket creation and even incident resolution to end users in a self-service paradigm.

Please join the Ayehu team on Tuesday October 17th at 12pm ET / 9am PT for a live, virtual demonstration of how your ServiceNow instance can be quickly and easily turbocharged in less than an hour using next generation automation.

The demonstration will be presented in real-time by Ayehu’s Sr. Director of Customer Success, Guy Nadivi, and our Director of Professional Services, Peter Lee.

If you use ServiceNow, this is a demo you don’t want to miss, but we encourage you to register as soon as possible, as attendance is limited and we are expecting a full (virtual) house.

To reserve your spot, please fill out the registration form here. And mark your calendar for a session that is sure to be a game changer for your organization!

Join us at the 2017 MPOWER Cybersecurity Summit!

JOIN AYEHU AT MPOWER 2017 + GET A FREE EXPO PASS!Ayehu is excited to announce its participation in this year’s McAfee MPOWER Cybersecurity Summit (formerly the FOCUS conference). The US leg of the summit, scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, NV from October 17th-19th at the Aria Hotel & Casino, will offer deep dives and technical content to help attendees better manage their organizations’ cybersecurity posture.

What’s truly unique about this global gathering is that participants will be able to co-create the industry’s first on-demand, face-to-face event. As an audience member, you will be able to select the topics and demos that are presented in real-time based on what’s most important to you. Participants will essentially guide the program and shape the agenda with live input, being empowered to choose the content and drive the conversations. It’s an experience unlike anything else in the industry before.

The Ayehu team is thrilled to be a part of such a monumental and game-changing event. We will be stationed at booth #304, where you will be able to

  • Enjoy a live demonstration of our recently released AI-based automation platform
  • Meet with our security automation experts and get your questions answered in real-time
  • Make a memory with us (we’re giving away some cool picture magnets)

Because we know that you have busy schedules, many demands on your time and different goals to achieve at the conference, we are inviting you to schedule in advance a meeting with our team during the conference. Simply fill out your contact information on this form and someone from our team will be in touch to schedule your demo.

We’re also pleased to be offering FREE EXPO PASSES. You can take advantage of this offer by using the code SPOCAYEHU6513 when registering.

Don’t miss one of the most incredible experiences in the cybersecurity realm. Join us at MPOWER. We hope to see you there!