We often talk about IT automation in terms of the technology behind it, or more specifically, how it can streamline operational efficiency and jump-start productivity. What we often fail to consider, however, is the other side of the coin – the human element of ITPA, or how people interact with technology and the ongoing engagement between the two. When we view IT automation from this perspective, the opportunities it opens up for skilled IT professionals become much clearer.
First, let’s take a closer look at how IT automation makes the lives of human workers easier.
Manual, Repetitive Tasks – In its most basic form, automation can improve the day to day operations of an IT department by eliminating most or all of the manual, repetitive tasks such as password resets and service restarts. When technology handles these things, human employees are then freed up to be able to focus their time and skills on more important, business-critical tasks.
Error Reduction – Along with streamlining routine tasks, IT automation can also significantly reduce, if not completely eliminate many of the common errors that occur when humans are responsible for handling the workload. This can ultimately save the organization money.
Documentation and Best Practices – When IT automation is employed, documenting processes and workflows in order to develop robust disaster recovery plans and best practices becomes much easier and faster. This can also make unexpected audits less of a headache.
Beyond the many benefits IT automation has for its human counterparts, there is also the important role that people play in the ITPA process, from start to completion. For instance, determining what tasks, processes and workflows can and should be automated, choosing the right automation tool and developing, implementing and managing an automation strategy requires intelligent human input.
The fact is, IT automation isn’t a magical fix for every IT problem, nor is there a one-size-fits-all approach that works for every organization. Each business must assess its unique needs and identify its specific pain points in order to determine where and how automation can help. Effective ITPA tools are complex and require the expertise of seasoned IT professionals in order to ensure widespread adoption and ongoing success.
Additionally, IT automation is hardly a “set it and forget it” strategy. While it’s certainly something that is designed to streamline the way business is conducted, it still requires the ongoing management of designated IT personnel. For instance, some highly complex workflows feature steps that incorporate human decision making. The automation tool handles everything up until a certain stage in the process, at which point the appropriate person or persons are notified. Once action on their part is taken, the workflow can then continue through completion.
The bottom line is, as much as IT automation has revolutionized the IT industry and will continue to do so, there will always be a need for human interaction to some degree. Additionally, a automation technology improves and advances, the roles of IT professionals will need to adapt and evolve accordingly. So long as they do so, ITPA will not replace humans in the workplace, but only continue to improve their lives and, in turn, enhance business performance overall.