Without question, IT automation is revolutionizing the way organizations of every size and industry operate. Simply put, if you have IT functions – even if you don’t have an IT department per se – you can benefit from automation technology. Yet, despite the widespread adoption and rave reviews, there are still several barriers to entry that many business leaders face. Gartner has done much of the legwork for us, researching and discovering the five most common IT automation pitfalls to avoid. Let’s take a look.
Shortage of skilled IT automation personnel.
It may seem somewhat paradoxical to think of people (or lack thereof) as a reason why an automation project can’t get off the ground, but it’s true. Despite the fact that an automation and orchestration platform is designed to shift work from human to machine, there is still the need for skilled professionals who can manage the platform and optimize its use. To address this need, organizational leaders must focus either on hiring qualified staff or educating existing personnel accordingly.
Lack of documentation of existing processes.
Another big reason IT automation implementation fails is due to a lack of adequate documentation. This includes both identifying and documenting project goals as well as the proper logging of existing tasks, workflows and processes. The former will ensure accurate measurement of project success while the latter will ensure that the processes being automated are well-defined and fully understood by staff.
Simply put, people have a natural resistance to change. Couple this with the erroneous belief that IT automation is meant to replace the need for human workers and you’ve got a recipe for significant contention. In order for automation to be fully and successfully implemented, you’ll need buy-in from employees at every level. Thankfully, there are many ways to overcome resistance, several of which we’ve chronicled here.
Lack of standards and process expertise.
As with any business practice change, implementing IT automation can be challenging. This difficulty is multiplied when there is a lack of standards and expertise in place. This challenge can be overcome by carefully and methodically choosing the right platform. Specifically, decision makers should look for a product that offers seamless integration with existing systems and applications as well as fast, easy deployment. The more weight the platform carries, the smoother the transition will be.
Loss of focus and traction.
The last barrier to successful IT automation implementation occurs when the project has been ongoing. The longer the process takes, the easier it becomes for employees to lose track of what they’re working toward, causing the project to be delayed or stall altogether. The solution to this issue can be found in the above tips, particularly in terms of adequate documentation and a clear understanding of staff members. The more work you put into the planning and preparation process, the less likely your team will be to end up derailed.
Introducing any new solution into your organization can be a complex, time-consuming and even somewhat confusing undertaking – and IT automation is no exception. Keeping your eye on the prize – that is, focusing on the end-goal of increased efficiency, lower costs and mitigated risk – can help improve the odds of a seamless implementation. Likewise, knowing which pitfalls to watch for as listed above and how to overcome them, business leaders will be better prepared to launch and carry out successful IT automation initiative.