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How to Calculate the Cost Savings of Self-Service Automation

How to Calculate the Cost Savings of Self-Service AutomationIt’s surprisingly not uncommon to see enterprise-level organizations still running operations with manual processes. Not only is this extremely inefficient, but it’s also costly, both in terms of resource allocation and the increased risk of human error. Automation is revolutionizing the way businesses operate by shifting this rote work from human to machine. Furthermore, self-service automation is allowing businesses to better optimize their IT departments, making them much more efficient and therefore profitable. But is it really worth the investment? Let’s take a closer look.

First, before we can get to the nitty gritty of just how valuable self-service automation can be, it’s important to understand precisely what this term refers to. In reality, most of us encounter some degree of self-service automation just about every day of our lives, whether it’s processing a payment electronically from our mobile device, using the self-checkout at the grocery store or even using a vending machine to purchase a snack.

In the business world, self-service automation involves enabling the end-user to handle specified transactions on their own, without the assistance of someone in IT. This could involve anything from resetting a forgotten password to going through the new employee onboarding process. By removing the need for IT to get involved, the process is faster and therefore much more efficient. From the end-user’s perspective, they are able to perform their jobs better. For the IT department, time is much more effectively allocated to other, more complex and mission-critical projects.

But obviously all of these benefits come at a cost, and the only way to justify such an expenditure is to determine that doing so will, indeed, provide a significant enough return to make it worth the investment.

Accurately calculating the return on investment, or ROI, of self-service automation begins with a detailed evaluation of the current amount of time being spent performing basic IT services. For instance, how many hours per day do your IT workers spend processing password resets? What about system restarts? List out all the tasks that could potentially be shifted over to the end-user and then calculate how many man hours are spent on each of these tasks daily.

With this information in hand, the next step in calculating self-service automation ROI is to figure out how much money is currently being spent on those man hours. This can be broken down relatively simply, by taking the average hourly rate of an IT worker and multiplying that by the number of hours being spent on tasks that could potentially be automated.

For the purpose of this example, let’s say you’re paying an average of $30/hour for your help desk employees. Now, let’s assume each of these employees is currently spending 4 hours each day processing password reset requests. Assuming each employee works 50 weeks out of the year would leave us with the following equation:

$30 x 1,000 hours/year = $30,000

That’s $30k being spent each year on manual password resets alone, times however many employees you’ve got processing these requests. And, that’s not including any of the other manual tasks routinely being processed by IT personnel.

Now that you’ve calculated what you could potentially be saving, you’ll need to determine the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a self-service automation tool – that is, the total of all expenses associated with its software, hardware, services, implementation, training and maintenance. Calculating the true ROI of adopting self-service IT options requires that you take the total cumulative cost savings across all services that could be automated and subtracting that from the TCO. This will demonstrate approximately how much you will net in the process.

Additionally, there are a number of other benefits to adopting self-service automation that are a bit more challenging to quantify but are equally important to keep in mind. These include:

  • Faster service and delivery
  • Improved satisfaction levels
  • Better user experience
  • More cost-effective service model

If you’re considering self-service automation for your organization, your best bet is to give it a try for yourself. Once you experience what a difference this advanced technology can have for your business operations, you’ll want to start automating everywhere.

Click here to download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare and see why automation is worth the investment many times over.



IT Process Automation Survival Guide




5 Tips for Improving Your IT Automation Return on Investment (ROI)

5 Tips for Improving Your IT Automation Return on Investment (ROI)Even though  IT process automation has presented itself as a tremendous benefit for organizations of just about every shape, size and industry, there are still many decision makers that fail to recognize the value this technology can have for their own enterprises. In order to demonstrate how important automation is for the future of business, IT managers must find a way to improve ROI and demonstrate those benefits to the powers that be. Here are 5 tips for getting those ROI numbers to tip in the right direction.

Clearly Define Needs, Benefits and Expectations

Simply put, you cannot focus on improving anything – whether it’s efficiency through automation or the actual ROI it offers – unless everyone understands what to expect. Time should be taken to identify and define the specific needs of the organization, and then specify how automation can solve those problems and meet those needs. Once this information is gathered, you can then more accurately measure all of the specific areas where automation is producing a solid return and how. Factors to measure include effort reduction, mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), lowered rate of error, compliance and system uptime. Improving each of these things will directly boost ROI.

Understand the Process and Where IT Automation Fits

The driving purpose behind process automation is to use technology to replicate repetitive, manual tasks. To improve automation ROI, one must dig much deeper than this basic concept to understand the entire process at hand and identify exactly how automation can be integrated for optimum results. Important questions to ask in this analysis include: What factors should trigger an automated process? What must occur before and after the automated process? What variables and inputs will be necessary to achieve the best outcome? Most importantly, how does automation fit with the big picture – the larger business process as a whole? While individual tasks could certainly be automated, automating the entire process may actually produce a greater value for the business.

Recognize the Context and Customize Accordingly

Capturing true ROI involves understanding the specific context in which the automated process in question is running and customizing that process for optimum results. For instance, the automated response to a critical incident, such a systems outage, during peak business hours should be markedly different than the response to a similar outage that occurs in the middle of the night. These contextual considerations should be built into the automation process and they should also be considered whenever measuring results. By customizing the process, the automation can execute different actions based on each scenario, thereby producing enhanced ROI.

Comprehensive Testing Prior to Release

Testing an automated process manually or in a development system can certainly be time consuming, but it’s absolutely critical to achieving optimum ROI. Before an automated process is rolled out into the live environment, it must be adequately measured to ensure that it is producing the desired results consistently and successfully. Once the automated process is released, ongoing testing is still highly recommended, as this helps to ensure that the triggers, inputs, actions and outputs are all running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Routine audits can also help to identify areas that could be improved for even greater benefit.

Ongoing Evaluation and Improvement

IT Automation may feel like a “set it and forget it” solution, but those organizations that reap the greatest rewards from this technology do so by taking a continuous improvement approach. Regular evaluation of how automated process are working and analysis of where they may be expanded to produce even better results is a must if you are looking to improve your ROI. IT professionals should be asking whether additional tasks could be automated, or whether existing automated processes could be integrated with one another or built upon for greater efficiency.

Individually, each of these 5 tips can have an impact on your overall ROI. When combined, however, they can help to improve both short-term goals as well as drive long-term strategies to produce the desired results of reducing human effort, improving operational efficiency, boosting service levels, reducing errors and downtime, remaining compliant and much more. The end product is a consistently favorable return on investment, which can help to win over those who are not yet on board with automation.




EBOOK: HOW TO MEASURE IT PROCESS AUTOMATION RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI)