ITSM Automation Explained

IT Service Management is the lifeblood of an organization. But if the people, processes and technology that are in place aren’t adequately optimized, the very function of ITSM simply cannot add value. Automation can pull all of this together and streamline operations for maximum efficiency and service levels. But what, exactly, is ITSM automation? More importantly, what can it do for your business? Let’s take a look.

There are several different levels of ITSM automation, each offering a certain degree of functionality. The most basic form of automation used in the context of IT service management is that of ticketing workflow. This involves automating the following tasks:

  • Opening tickets based on the service catalog
  • Updating ticket SLA based on priority
  • Setting ticket attributes based on category
  • Initiating ticketing status workflow

The next level of ITSM automation is capable of repeatedly opening tickets based on a particular schedule. For instance, the IT team can schedule weekly or monthly maintenance workflows for network equipment.

Beyond this is advanced ITSM automation, which is intelligent and intuitive and subsequently adds the most value. With this type of AI-powered automation, tickets can be moved from creation all the way through resolution without the need for any human intervention. A sample workflow using this type of automation might be as follows:

  • Monitoring software detects low disk space on a specific server
  • Monitoring software opens a ticket in the ITSM automation platform
  • The automation platform automatically assesses the ticket request and categorizes it accordingly
  • ITSM platform initiates the automated workflow for disk space remediation (i.e. deleting temp or large files that are no longer needed)
  • Upon completion of the designated workflow and a follow-up disk space analysis, the ITSM platform automatically updates the ticket and marks it as resolved

Of course, this is just one example of the myriad of tasks, workflows and processes that can be fully automated. Perhaps the most important takeaway here is that an advanced ITSM automation platform can dramatically streamline the way IT operates, shifting most or all of the system administration tasks from human to machine. And because the automated processes are recorded, management can review these events to determine if there are areas where further improvement can and should be made.

Not only does ITSM automation save the enterprise a significant amount of money in terms of operating costs, but it also frees up service desk agents to focus their efforts on more mission-critical tasks and projects, such as those pertaining to increasing customer satisfaction rates.

In seeing the functionality and benefits of ITSM automation, the question then becomes not if an organization should adopt this technology, but how soon can they do so.

Take our ITSM automation platform for a test drive today and experience it for yourself free for 30 days!

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The Secret to MSP Success…

Anyone familiar the role of a managed service provider understands all-too-well the pressure of finding a way to do more with less. It’s really all about efficiency and scalability. The more effective your performance, the more success you’ll achieve. The problem is, achieving this isn’t always easy, particularly when there are tight budgetary constraints involved, because for many organizations, hiring additional staff simply isn’t feasible. The solution? Intelligent automation, and leveraging it to win the race and position yourself firmly at the head of the pack.

Most MSPs agree that when it comes to intense competition and budgetary restrictions, the best and only solution is to invest in intelligent automation. In fact, this is even the case with enterprises that do not struggle with cash flow issues. Even those that can afford to hire additional staff, doing so will inevitably impact the bottom line. By taking a step back and allowing technology to do the heavy lifting, on the other hand, scalability is achieved without the added expenditure of increasing personnel.

Outsourcing or relocating 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 successfully deliver as many quality services as possible while simultaneously utilizing the fewest resources…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 perform their due diligence when choosing an intelligent automation platform to employ. Those who have been most successful in this so-called “survival of the fittest” contest have provided some insight into what to consider 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 incredibly important that the automation platform you choose is robust but easy to implement and use. Remember, you’re going to be relying on this system to handle not just simple, repetitive tasks but also complex workflows that are critical to the success of your entire organization. Do your homework and make sure the product you ultimately select is comprehensive enough to handle anything and everything your business may need, not just today but in the future as well.

There’s no question that intelligent automation is fast becoming the central part of many successful MSP operations, and only those organizations that embrace and act on this will continue to remain competitive. Don’t get left behind! Get on track to a profitable future by investing in AI-powered automation.

Get started today by launching your free 30 day trial of Ayehu. 

Intelligent ITSM Automation – Your Secret Formula for Success

One 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, intelligent ITSM automation can help all lines of business roll out newer and better capabilities for the benefit of the entire organization.

Widespread Benefits of Intelligent 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
  • Data-driven decision-making

It’s no surprise, then, that intelligent 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 Intelligent ITSM Automation with Business Goals

Of course, in order for intelligent 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 achieve greater efficiencies. When IT becomes less of an island and more a part of overall business operations, everyone benefits because they’re all on the same page.

Obstacles to Intelligent ITSM Automation

While the majority of business leaders agree on the many benefits intelligent 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, rather than eliminating inefficiency.

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 intelligent ITSM automation is to become truly beneficial. Ideally, the IT department should take the lead on developing and implementing an interdepartmental, enterprise-wide strategy for automation.

The first step? Choosing the right platform. See AI-powered, intelligent ITSM automation in action today by requesting a product demo. Or experience it for yourself with a free 30-day trial.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

7 Key Business Benefits of Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is being adopted and implemented in businesses of every industry. Still, there are some decision makers who are on the fence about whether it’s worth the investment. If you are among those who aren’t 100% certain, let’s take a look at a few of the quantifiable benefits AI-powered automation can provide to your organization.

Cost Savings

One of the biggest advantages of intelligent automation is the immediate and significant reduction in expenditure it can deliver. When work is automated, not only is it completed faster, but it also can be performed round-the-clock at a much lower rate. So, you get greater output for less, which results in a better bottom line.

Quality, Accurate Work

Let’s face it. Even the most careful human can and will make an occasional mistake. Multiply those errors by the number of people you have performing routine tasks for your company, and you could be looking at a pretty costly problem. With artificial intelligence, the work is performed error-free. Better quality means higher satisfaction rates, which – again – is good for your company’s profitability.

Enhanced Cycle Time

How long does it take a human worker to perform a given task such as completing a web form? Even if it’s mere minutes, an intelligent robot could shave that time down to just a few seconds. Over time and multiplied by dozens of tasks and several staff members, this savings really begins to add up.

Employee Empowerment

Intelligent automation does not require any special technical skills. That’s why it’s an ideal application for the end-user. The ability to deploy robots to perform certain tasks without having to enlist the help of someone from IT empowers the end-user to get their jobs done more efficiently and effectively. Meanwhile, it frees up IT to focus on more important tasks and projects.

Simplicity and Flexibility

Automating tasks and workflows through Ayehu’s AI-powered automation does not require coding or script-writing. That means even complex processes can be transferred from human to machine with little effort. The faster these tasks and workflows can be automated, the sooner your organization will begin reaping the benefits. In other words, intelligent automation delivers quick returns.

Better Control

Many companies choose to outsource so-called busy work to external parties. This, of course, comes with inherent risk. Intelligent automation can provide a better solution and since the work remains in-house, the business maintains maximum possession, control and visibility.

Insights and Analytics

Learning from the past can help your business leaders make better decisions for the future. Machine learning algorithms offer the ability to gather, organize, track, analyze, report on and store valuable data. That information can then be utilized to improve on current operations, address and correct issues in a timelier manner, accurately forecast and develop best practices.

Still not convinced that intelligent automation is a beneficial solution for your business needs? Why not try it for yourself? Click here to start your free trial of Ayehu NG today.  

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How to Build an AI Team

Once viewed as a technology of the distant future, AI is quickly becoming an integral component of many an IT/business strategy. The rapid advancement of data science and machine learning technology, combined with the accessibility and affordability of artificial intelligence platforms in the cloud, are enabling companies in every industry to uncover new ways to extract business value from data. But in order to fully capitalize on AI, an organization must first assemble a strong team. Let’s take a look at three steps for creating such a team in your business.

Learn what successful AI looks like.

When establishing a department dedicated to AI, it’s important to recognize that successful artificial intelligence initiatives require a variety of different roles and skillsets. If you are focused solely on one role – data scientist for example – you will almost assuredly come up short. Instead, take a more well-rounded approach paying particular attention to three distinct areas: a person (or people) who can generate data, a person (or people) who can interpret that data, and a person (or people) who can make judgments about that data.

Recruit/train (and retain) top talent.

It’s no secret that skilled AI professionals are in high demand. In order to develop a good AI team, recruitment and retention are key. The good news is, you don’t necessarily have to look outside of your company to do so. In fact, developing AI talent from internal staff can be just as, if not more effective – particularly given the talent shortage. Investing in training and upskilling can produce a higher return on your investment than external recruiting.

And remember, it’s not just about assembling a team. You also need to focus on keeping turnover at bay. Offering things like professional development and autonomy can make long-term employment with you more attractive.

Tap freelancers.

What if your company simply isn’t prepared or doesn’t have the budget to hire a Ph.D. in computer science? What if your existing staff is too small, doesn’t have the potential or lacks the bandwidth to recruit internally? There are still other ways to get started with AI. Some organizations have had tremendous success hiring artificial intelligence specialists via online talent marketplaces, like Upwork. By eliminating the need to hire in-house, and all the ancillary expenses that come with such an arrangement, you can tap into global AI talent at an affordable price.

With Gartner forecasting that 85% of CIOs will be piloting AI projects by the year 2020, it’s abundantly clear that artificial intelligence is the way of the future. Having a team of skilled individuals dedicated to your AI initiatives can help you maximize the long-term benefits and give your organization the competitive advantage it needs to thrive in the digital era.

Ready to get started with AI but not sure how? For a limited time, we’re offering a free trial of Ayehu’s Next Generation Intelligent Automation platform. Use the full product for 30 days and don’t pay a penny. Get yours before it’s too late!

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Overcoming the AI Talent Shortage

Artificial intelligence has become a huge contributor in the battle for digital transformation. In fact, according to a recent PwC report, global GDP could reach up to $15.7 trillion as a result of AI. But no organization can fully realize the value of this technology without adequate talent at the helm.

The PwC report goes on to point out: “If your business is operating in one of the sectors or economies that is gearing up for fast adoption of AI, you’ll have to move quickly if you want to capitalize on the openings, and ensure your business doesn’t lose out to faster-moving and more cost-efficient competitors.’’

Thanks to this rapid development and adoption, however, many companies are now dealing with an AI talent shortage. This problem exists even in sectors where adoption is slower or the potential for disruption is lower. In fact, staffing skills are the number one challenge for the majority of CIOs looking to adopt AI. The firm also predicts that by the year 2020, 85% of CIOs will be piloting AI projects. In order for that to happen, something has to give.

Roles will evolve, but the need for people will remain constant.

There has long been whisperings that artificial intelligence will eliminate jobs and replace human workers. But while some tasks will certainly be shifted to machine, the need for humans will still exist. They will simply need to master new skills that will enable them to work alongside AI. Those skills, which cannot be replicated by machines, include creativity, communication, leadership and emotional intelligence.

Meanwhile, the demand for data scientists, AI and robotics engineers and other experienced tech specialists continues to grow, and at a fast pace. Unfortunately, given the rapid rate of change and low barrier to entry, these talented individuals are becoming harder and harder to come by. As a result, forward-thinking organizations are focusing their efforts to helping existing employees develop the skills they need to navigate the changing workplace landscape.

Building a Pipeline

One way that organizations are addressing the shortage of AI talent is to establish relationships with resources such as universities and trade schools. This enables them to engage in learning projects, become involved through speaking and mentorship and – most importantly – tap into emerging talent at an early stage, before students enter the workforce.

Internships provide valuable real-world experience and the opportunity to hone their skills and network with other like-minded professionals through meaningful, hands-on projects. The company benefits through the development and ongoing growth of a talent pool from which to draw. It’s a win-win.

Development from Within

The beauty of AI is that it’s a technology that can draw interest from individuals with many different backgrounds. For instance, people with strengths in math, statistics and engineering make excellent candidates for working with machine learning. As such, many companies are discovering that they are already sitting on a gold mine in terms of sourcing talent for their AI initiatives. Internal training and development can be an incredibly effective alternative to external staffing efforts.

For those organizations that lack existing talent or simply don’t have the capacity to transition current employees into new AI-related roles, there is also the option to hire for soft skills and train for the rest. For instance, many futuristic leaders are seeking out candidates that are highly collaborative, possess aptitude and are open to learning new things. Once hired, they can then work on growing AI experts from within.

Closing Thoughts

Whichever way you look at it, the AI talent shortage is very real and it’s not something that can easily be solved, at least not for the foreseeable future. Organizations looking to adopt AI and work toward digital transformation must begin thinking outside the box to solve their staffing needs. In many cases, that means making connections, nurturing relationships and building talent in-house.

If you are interested in adopting artificial intelligence for your business, a good place to start is with a great tool. Take our Next Generation AI platform for a test-drive, free for 30 days. Click here to get started.

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Intelligent Automation – Which Processes Should You Start With?

When discussing intelligent automation, one of the first questions (even before platforms) is – which processes should you automate?

Operational or Business Processes?

There’s a popular distinction between business processes and operational, or data center processes. A business process may be, for example, change management, escalation, notification, etc.

Operational/data center processes have stronger focus around IT operational systems and procedures – for example, backup and recovery, access management, etc.

The line between these two types of processes is not clear cut, and in many cases a process may be both operational and business oriented. Understanding exactly what you’re working with and what your goals are is key.

Top Areas for Intelligent Automation

It’s always interesting to see what others are automating – even though you have your own priorities and unique needs. A recent Information Week survey asked how critical was it to automate specific process areas? According to the survey, leading the pack were mostly hardcore operational processes, such as the following:

  • Backup and restoration
  • Disaster recovery
  • Service fulfillment
  • Incident management
  • Data movement

This seems natural, as most of these (with the exception of disaster recovery) are repetitive tasks that consume many hours from IT teams. In fact, some of these tasks are relatively easy to automate. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most popular processes that are ideal for intelligent automation.

Researchers have also identified the following 5 “key win areas” for automation, which provide fast and measurable value.

Service Desk
  • Change management
  • Configuration management
  • Provisioning
  • Routine maintenance
  • Identity and access management

So which processes should you automate?

Now that you know a bit about what others think should be automated, we’re back to our initial question – which processes should you automate?

As a first step, start by mapping your current processes and their key operational metrics for each of the service and business applications.

Once you create such a list, try to prioritize them based on the following two questions:

  • Time. What are the quantifiable benefits from automating each process? Consider how many hours are currently spent on the manual process – both by employees, as well by management.
  • Effort to Automate. What would be the required effort to implement automation, as well as maintain the automated process? Obviously, this question is more challenging to answer, since it requires a familiarity with one or more tools, and depends on the skills of your team.

Once you’ve answered these two key questions, it’s time to jump in and get started. The best way to do that is to leverage a platform that is designed to make implementing intelligent automation fast, easy and seamless. The good news is, you can now try Ayehu absolutely free for a full 30 days. Click here to download your trial today.

The 4 Secrets to Effective Digital Transformation

Often times, when it comes to solving a business problem or achieving a certain organizational goal, it makes more sense to begin with the end in mind. That is to say, you need to know what you’re trying to accomplish and what the journey to that objective is all about before you begin investing time, money and resources into new strategies and technologies. This is a particularly effective way to approach digital transformation.

Despite the overwhelming trend pushing businesses toward digital change, many have tried and ultimately failed, simply because they didn’t start the process with a clear understanding of what digital transformation truly is. When decision makers start with a tech-first mentality, they end up missing the point of what this transformation is actually about. To help you avoid going down the wrong path in your own digital journey, consider the following best practices.

Don’t lose the human element.

So many business leaders focus so much on putting all the latest and greatest tools, technologies and applications in place that they forget about the most important element – humans. Simply put, a digital strategy cannot be successful without a people strategy to support and carry it out. Look closely at the organizations that have made great strides in achieving digital transformation – like Pitney Bose and GE – and you’ll find that what they have in common is a staff of people who are curious, passionate and motivated to affect positive change.

Be customer-centric.

Being people-minded doesn’t only apply to employees, either. It’s equally important that you take into consideration the evolving behaviors and preferences of your customers if your goal is to drive digital transformation. The companies that have gotten it right have done so with an outside-in mentality, focusing first on the customer journey to identify things that are broken or missing, and then taking the necessary steps to fix those things from a digital standpoint. After all, if you’re not keeping your customers satisfied, what’s the point?

Make collaboration a priority.

While digital transformation may start with IT, it’s not a singular effort. To the contrary, for transformation to truly occur, it has to permeate the entire organization. Still, you will most likely begin smaller to start the process going. Undoubtedly, mistakes will be made, and from those mistakes, best practices will be discovered and defined. For optimal results, these trail blazing teams should play a pivotal role in helping to roll out change to the rest of the company through documenting, sharing and ongoing collaboration.  

Be unapologetic.

Let’s be honest. Change is hard. It’s scary. It can be uncomfortable. And as a result, it will almost always be met with some degree of resistance. If you want to forge ahead with digital transformation, you have to accept this fact, and then ignore the naysayers. Focus instead on the small group of innovators and early adopters. They will become the champions, influencers and drivers of change that you need to break through, overcome objections and achieve your end goals. Above all, be unapologetic. When you are doing what’s right for your employees, your customers and ultimately your business, everything will eventually fall into place.

Once you’ve got all these things in place – the people, the approach, the perspective and the attitude – you’ll be ready to take the next step toward successful digital transformation. And we’ll be ready to help you with that by placing the power of AI and machine learning in the palm of your hand. Check it out with an interactive demo or experience it firsthand with a free, 30-day trial of Ayehu.

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Want to go green? Automate.

The term green IT became popular more than a decade ago. Since that time, however, it’s been mostly just giant IT organizations and large data centers that have implemented green IT practices  – and this was due more to regulations and the wish to cut costs than any internal agenda for reducing global warming.

Yet, according to Gartner, PCs, monitors, laptop computers and networked devices represent close to 60% of the total ICT consumption.

Considering the great interest in going green with IT, both from a financial and energy savings perspective, why so few projects?

The answer is simple. More importantly, it’s misleading many people. The main reason is that green IT is still not a top priority task is the erroneous notion that it’s too costly to implement.

“We are not that big to make a difference,” many IT managers would say. The truth is, going green can make IT operations much more efficient, regardless of the size of the company. Not only that, but it can also reduce costs significantly. And yes, it does contribute to a decreased carbon footprint and combined, it will make a difference.

What does go green with IT mean?

Simply put, green IT means having an IT infrastructure that consumes less energy and is subsequently cheaper. The next logical question is how it can be done – in particular, with minimal impact on your day to day work?

The good news is, there are several simple steps you can implement immediately:

  • Shutdown remote computers – Power-off servers that hardly work and consume more power than CPU. You can schedule a shutdown process on a daily or weekly basis for lab, tests, etc.
  • Automated remote workstation shutdown or standby – Turn idle workstations and user PCs to standby mode every time users are not using their computers – i.e. overnight, on weekends and holidays.
  • Go virtual – Take your physical servers and virtualize them, as one strong hardware can run multiple operating systems. You can turn servers off when they are not in use or start them only upon user request (usually this works for R&D, QA and lab testing).

How much you can save with IT automation?

Average energy savings per computer for a 12 month period can reach up to $36 each. Multiple this figure by the number of workstations, and you realize the potential may reach hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

How to go green with IT Automation without adding extra work?

Use IT automation for scheduling maintenance tasks, and applying remote workstation shutdown or standby policies.  Workstations that are turned off not only save energy consumption but also increase data security and lower the possibility of failures.

Ready to give it a try? Claim your free 30-day trial of Ayehu and get started on your path to a greener, more efficient and much more environmentally-friendly IT environment.

Is Intelligent Automation Really Replacing Human Workers?

When intelligent automation first hit the market, some thought it was too far-fetched to ever become a reality. But as more and more organizations began recognizing the many benefits – from increased productivity and efficiency to lower costs and fewer errors – people started worrying, wondering whether this technology would spell the end of the human workforce as we knew it. Would artificial intelligence really start taking over jobs? To answer that question, those asking it must look inward.

In reality, the impact automation has on the workforce will depend largely on how humans themselves respond. When faced with the rising adoption of AI, workers will likely take one of two paths. The first group will continue to focus on the type of work they’ve always done, but do so more efficiently thanks to the assistance of machine learning. The second will take this as a golden opportunity to pursue their ambitions, further their education to broaden their skill sets, put their creativity and innovation to work and move on to more value-added, meaningful work. In either case, the organization will benefit, as will most of the employees.

In particular, roles that have a primary focus on people, such as customer support and HR, have the potential to benefit greatly from intelligent automation. Instead of being bogged down by repetitive, menial tasks that can easily (and more quickly) be handled by software, agents will be freed up to tackle more complex issues requiring a human touch. Furthermore, the improved allocation of resources afforded by AI will enable agents to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. This can dramatically improve both customer and employee satisfaction rating.

This concept can also be applied to the IT help desk. Rather than waiting until system problems arise and scrambling to fix them in a timely and effective manner, help desk agents can use the extra time automation provides them with to monitor and proactively address technical issues before they occur. Imagine how impressed the CEO will be when he gets a call from IT letting him know his hard drive was about to fail, but it’s been taken care of.

In both of these scenarios, the human worker is enhancing their interactions with their colleagues and/or customers. And since intelligent automation is there to take on the routine, manual tasks, the human agents themselves are also able to improve.

The reality is, very few organizations are focusing on using AI to eliminate jobs. Instead, they are focused on automating tasks, which in turn will improve productivity, streamline how work is completed, eliminate errors and cut costs. In other words, companies implementing automation are not doing so to replace human workers, but rather to augment and make their lives easier. As a result, everyone benefits – from employees and management to clientele and ultimately the organization’s bottom line.

Still not completely sold on the idea of intelligent automation and the value this technology can bring to your business? Don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself. Click here to download a free 30 day trial of Ayehu. You have nothing to lose!

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