The concept of IT process automation may seem pretty straightforward – you take manual tasks and workflows and allow them to be executed by a technological tool instead of human workers. The problem is, getting started with automation can often feel overwhelming. Where should you begin? What should you automate first, second and so on? To make the process a little less intimidating, we recommend taking it one simple step at a time, as follows.
First, make a list of all the tasks and workflows that are currently being done manually. Is your IT help desk being buried under daily requests for routine things like password resets and system restarts? What things are taking up the most time and resources? This will provide a framework for implementing the IT automation process.
Next, ask yourself (or your team) whether anything on the list can be comfortably eliminated. Are there any time-wasters that are obsolete or could be incorporated into other tasks and workflows? There may be no point in automating these things, as the result would just be futile. Cross off what you can on the list and move on from there.
Now, prioritize the list by what items are most important and could be best optimized by IT process automation. Keep in mind that even the simplest of tasks could be the highest on the list based on the amount of time and resources they’re taking up on a daily basis. By automating these things first, you can dramatically improve operations and free up skilled personnel to focus their talents elsewhere.
With your to-do list of automatable tasks, the next step is choosing the right tool for the job. There are hundreds, if not thousands of IT process automation tools available on the market today. They are not all created equal, however. If you’re just starting out with automation, you should be looking for easy to use, out-of-the-box products that offer robust features and the ability to grow as needed.
Once you’ve chosen the right IT process automation product for your needs, the final step (at least in the beginning stages) is automating one or two key functions from your list. Not only will this allow you and your team to become familiar with the automation technology, but it will also provide insight into what other areas to leverage automation for next.
As you become comfortable with and more confident in automation, you can then move on to the next step of automating more complex tasks and workflows. As with anything else, these things take time before they become an integral part of operations. By taking a more incremental approach, you’ll be well on your way to a successful implementation at every level. It starts with taking that very first step.