Leveraging IT process automation within your organization can dramatically cut costs, improve efficiency and service levels and reduce human error. These results ultimately depend, however, on how successful you are at rolling out the right ITPA platform. If you’re planning on bringing automation into your IT department (or workplace on a larger scale), here are four expert tips to ensure a smooth and seamless transition.
Develop and document specific goals.
As with anything else, executing IT process automation successfully requires that you have real, measurable goals in mind ahead of time. Determine in advance what you’d like to accomplish by adopting automation. Be as specific as possible, as this will allow you to ascertain progress at various integrals throughout the process as well as identify areas where changes and adjustments can and should be made. Having clear goals will also allow you to more accurately assess your return on investment.
Determine which areas to automate first.
Most organizations that have adopted IT process automation on a larger scale did so in smaller increments. Start by identifying which key processes your company would benefit from automating first and work from there. What pain points are plaguing your IT personnel? Which areas are resulting in the biggest waste of time, money and other resources? Begin by automating something simple, like password resets, and then work your way up from there. It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon.
To effectively identify areas where automation should be leveraged first, perform the following:
- List out each task and workflow being performed and how frequently
- Document each step of each process or workflow, including who is responsible and the resources required
- Identify specific pain points, bottlenecks and other issues that are currently hindering operational efficiency and performance
- Determine how and where automation could improve some or all of the documented tasks, workflows and processes
Choose your IT process automation platform.
Now that you’ve gained a clearer, more accurate understanding of what you’d like to get out of ITPA and which processes you’d like to automate first, the next step is choosing the right tool or platform. Keep in mind that while selecting a solution that is robust and scalable is important, it’s equally important not to fall for every bell and whistle out there. We recently highlighted some of the hidden costs of supposed “free” automation tools, but you should also beware of products that have way more features than what you actually need, otherwise you will be trading one area of wasted resources for another.
The idea should be to choose a platform that best aligns with your business objectives, including both short-term and long-term goals (i.e. if future growth and expansion is something your organization is striving for, you’ll want your automation platform to be able to evolve and scale up seamlessly). You’ll also want to think about how well the solution you choose will integrate with your existing systems, programs and applications. This will facilitate a more synergistic infrastructure.
Finally, consider how easily and painlessly the solution you’re considering will ultimately be deployed. How much training is involved? Are there existing workflow templates that you can use from the get-go, or will your IT department have to invest a ton of time creating them? Can it be customized to suit your business’ unique pain points? Performing thorough due diligence up front will improve your chances of selecting the ITPA platform that most closely aligns with your organization’s needs and goals.
Jump in and get your feet wet.
With your chosen platform in place, it’s time to officially begin your journey with IT process automation. To prepare, your team should be well aware of the changes that are about to take place and training should have already begun. If you encounter some resistance, don’t be dismayed. Focus on communication and keep reiterating the benefits that ITPA will afford to the IT department (i.e. less time wasted on manual tasks, ability to apply skills to more important projects, etc.) as well as the company as a whole (i.e. self-service automation to reduce routine help desk tickets).
Here’s where the platform you selected will really come into play – or rather, the provider of that platform. You should be able to rely on them for service and support before, during and after implementation. Don’t be afraid to call on them if questions, concerns or issues arise. The more closely you work together, the smoother and more successful your ITPA deployment will go and the sooner you’ll be able to begin taking advantage of the many benefits automation can provide.