As the holidays approach, many of us are busy making wish lists of all the goodies we’d love to receive from our loved ones. What about your IT wish list? Have you identified areas of your day to day operations where IT process automation could make your job easier, more efficient and more enjoyable? If not, there’s no time like the present. Here are a few tips to help you pull your thoughts together and come up with a comprehensive list to work from.
First, figure out what your goals are, both short and long term. What are some of your organization’s immediate needs and existing capabilities? An example of a short term goal might include the need for enhanced monitoring, reporting or system auditing capabilities. Down the road, the needs may expand to include ticketing and service desk capabilities, or automated backup and recovery. By understanding your areas of need, you can better determine which IT process automation features and/or products would be the best fit.
Once you’ve identified your goals, the next step is mapping out the specific areas where automation would make the most sense, now and in the future. This will help you figure out what your “must-have” features are when you begin evaluating IT process automation solutions. Almost as important as your must-have features are those which are expensive and unnecessary. There’s no point in investing in a product that offers a bunch of stuff you can’t or won’t use.
The next component of your IT process automation wish list involves scalability. How many systems, servers, devices and other endpoints in your enterprise do you need to take into account when evaluating automation tools? The goal is to select a product that offers lightweight computing, database and storage but also has the capability to expand as needed. That way as demands and business needs change, your IT automation will adapt accordingly without the need to replace it frequently.
Another part of this puzzle is future growth and performance. If your IT department currently manages 5,000 devices, but has an action plan to increase that number substantially over the coming months and years, the tool you select for your IT process automation should be able to keep up with the same pace of growth you’re anticipating. A good rule of thumb is 3-5 years.
Lastly, you’ll need to consider which type of tool makes the most sense. For instance, modular tools, also referred to as frameworks, combine modules to accomplish automation goals. These are typically complex and expensive, and as a result, are usually limited to larger enterprises. In comparison, point tools support automation on a more cost-effective approach. Unfortunately, the downside is they don’t tend to integrate well. An automation appliance, on the other hand, is an affordable, prepackaged product that can be quickly set up, integrated and deployed.
Once you’ve got your wish list drawn up, evaluate the options available in terms of meeting your IT process automation needs. Short list your selections and compare. Whenever possible, test out each product prior to making a purchasing decision. This will help you make the best choice for your particular business needs and budget