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.