It’s surprisingly not uncommon to see enterprise-level organizations still running operations with manual processes. Not only is this extremely inefficient, but it’s also costly, both in terms of resource allocation and the increased risk of human error. Automation is revolutionizing the way businesses operate by shifting this rote work from human to machine. Furthermore, self-service automation is allowing businesses to better optimize their IT departments, making them much more efficient and therefore profitable. But is it really worth the investment? Let’s take a closer look.
First, before we can get to the nitty gritty of just how valuable self-service automation can be, it’s important to understand precisely what this term refers to. In reality, most of us encounter some degree of self-service automation just about every day of our lives, whether it’s processing a payment electronically from our mobile device, using the self-checkout at the grocery store or even using a vending machine to purchase a snack.
In the business world, self-service automation involves enabling the end-user to handle specified transactions on their own, without the assistance of someone in IT. This could involve anything from resetting a forgotten password to going through the new employee onboarding process. By removing the need for IT to get involved, the process is faster and therefore much more efficient. From the end-user’s perspective, they are able to perform their jobs better. For the IT department, time is much more effectively allocated to other, more complex and mission-critical projects.
But obviously all of these benefits come at a cost, and the only way to justify such an expenditure is to determine that doing so will, indeed, provide a significant enough return to make it worth the investment.
Accurately calculating the return on investment, or ROI, of self-service automation begins with a detailed evaluation of the current amount of time being spent performing basic IT services. For instance, how many hours per day do your IT workers spend processing password resets? What about system restarts? List out all the tasks that could potentially be shifted over to the end-user and then calculate how many man hours are spent on each of these tasks daily.
With this information in hand, the next step in calculating self-service automation ROI is to figure out how much money is currently being spent on those man hours. This can be broken down relatively simply, by taking the average hourly rate of an IT worker and multiplying that by the number of hours being spent on tasks that could potentially be automated.
For the purpose of this example, let’s say you’re paying an average of $30/hour for your help desk employees. Now, let’s assume each of these employees is currently spending 4 hours each day processing password reset requests. Assuming each employee works 50 weeks out of the year would leave us with the following equation:
$30 x 1,000 hours/year = $30,000
That’s $30k being spent each year on manual password resets alone, times however many employees you’ve got processing these requests. And, that’s not including any of the other manual tasks routinely being processed by IT personnel.
Now that you’ve calculated what you could potentially be saving, you’ll need to determine the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a self-service automation tool – that is, the total of all expenses associated with its software, hardware, services, implementation, training and maintenance. Calculating the true ROI of adopting self-service IT options requires that you take the total cumulative cost savings across all services that could be automated and subtracting that from the TCO. This will demonstrate approximately how much you will net in the process.
Additionally, there are a number of other benefits to adopting self-service automation that are a bit more challenging to quantify but are equally important to keep in mind. These include:
- Faster service and delivery
- Improved satisfaction levels
- Better user experience
- More cost-effective service model
If you’re considering self-service automation for your organization, your best bet is to give it a try for yourself. Once you experience what a difference this advanced technology can have for your business operations, you’ll want to start automating everywhere.