When it comes to ITSM automation, there are almost as many solutions out there as there are issues to address. Sifting through the mountains of options and listening to every self-professed ITSM expert can be nothing short of overwhelming. But ITSM automation has proven to be the differentiator in achieving long-term success and ongoing competitive advantage. So, it’s a battle that must be fought. Thankfully, knowing what to look for in advance can make it a much easier process to endure.
Benefits of ITSM Automation
Before we delve into the key characteristics of a good ITSM solution, it’s helpful to get a clear understanding of how automation can become a force multiplier for your organization.
- Reduced need to depend on people, as best practices are clearly defined and ITSM automation is leveraged to allow technology to do the heavy lifting
- Less people dependency brings with it a greater cost savings to the company as a whole
- Significant reductions in human error
- Accelerated and improved incident response process
- Greater IT service delivery process, which improves both internal service levels and external customer satisfaction
That being said, here are some of the main considerations to keep in mind when evaluating various ITSM automation solutions.
Ease of use and speed to deployment. The quicker you can get your ITPA platform up and running, the sooner you can begin getting a return on your investment. As such, a plug-and-play, out-of-the-box solution that offers preconfigured templates is a great place to start.
Single user interface. These days, IT support is delivered across a plethora of different devices. As such, being able to access your automation platform from anywhere through a single-user interface is recommended. Be sure to inquire on how the interface is configured.
Customizable, intuitive workflows. Not only should your ITSM automation solution be capable of tracking and recording incidents and service requests, but it should also be able to intuitively automate the appropriate assignments, tasks and actions related to them. The goal should be a closed-loop process that provides optimum visibility from start to finish. You’ll also want to look for a platform that allows complete flexibility and the ability to customize workflows as needed as well as agility to support your changing needs over time.
Enterprise-wide automation. With a solution that’s flexible and configurable, you can achieve widespread process automation across the entire enterprise. In other words, your ITSM automation solution shouldn’t be limited solely to IT service requests, rather it should be available to optimize other functions and business processes performed throughout the organization, such as employee onboarding, facilities management, HR and even marketing processes. The more robust the functionality, the better.
Ability to integrate. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel, nor should you have to invest in an entirely new infrastructure in order to adopt automation. To the contrary, look for an ITSM automation platform that is fully and seamlessly integratable with existing applications, such as active directory, desktop management, network monitoring and more.
Enhanced incident management. One of the biggest time killers in ITSM is spent fielding and managing incidents. Far too many organizations waste hours upon hours of manpower creating separate incidents for each task that needs to be performed. Still others assign entire incidents to second-tier support agents only to lose control and visibility. With ITSM automation, you can create and manage multiple tasks and assignments under one incident while maintaining complete visibility over the entire process.
Self-service options. Empowering end-users to handle many of the common IT support requests on their own not only improves productivity and satisfaction, but it’s also a great way to free up IT personnel so they can focus on more critical tasks and projects. Choosing a solution that offers self-service automation is a wise investment.
Comprehensive reporting and metrics. All the data in the world isn’t worth a thing unless you are able to extract and leverage what’s relevant to you. The ITSM automation solution you choose should have comprehensive and easy-to-use, multi-level reporting that will provide valuable insight into your service desk operations. This information can then be used to develop best practices, improve operations and make better business decisions.