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IT Process Automation – 5 Tasks to Automate First

IT Process Automation - 5 tasks to automate firstIT process automation is certainly nothing new. In fact, organizations of every shape, size and industry have been leveraging this powerful and cost-effective tool to boost productivity and service levels and to create leaner, more efficient operations. The one issue that many who are new to the automation realm tend to struggle with, however, is determining where to begin. If you’re in the process of adopting ITPA for your company, here are 5 high-value tasks you might want to focus on first.

Password Resets – They are a necessary evil, otherwise your entire operations could come crashing to a screeching halt. But password resets are also a huge drain on time and valuable resources which could, again, be focused on more important issues. This is why password resets are one of the first tasks most organizations that are new to automation choose as their starting point. You’ll probably be amazed at how much of an impact something so simple can make.

System Monitoring and Diagnostics – How much time does your help desk personnel spend monitoring systems and working to diagnose the cause of issues that crop up on a regular basis? Now, imagine if most or all of that effort could be shifted over to IT process automation. Not only would the work be done faster and without the risk of error, but it will also free up skilled employees to focus on more business-critical tasks.

Incident Management – When it comes to handling incidents, the more proactive your IT group is, the better. But they’re human, which means they can’t be in all places at all times, leaving plenty of room for costly problems to take root. By automating the incident management process, issues can be identified and addressed automatically, before they have the opportunity to cause major damage. Imagine the time and money you’ll save by not having to put out fires after the fact.

Free Up Disk Space – Low disk space is something most busy IT professionals dread. In fact the entire process of monitoring and making room for more space is horribly cumbersome, yet completely necessary. IT process automation, however, provides the ability to monitor multiple servers, automatically deleting files when necessary as well as archive, copy and move files to other locations as needed. Again, this is a huge savings of time and money for your organization.

Active Directory Management – The larger the business, the greater the impact employee turnover can have on the IT department. Waiting for the help desk to set up a new employee within the company’s internal systems can also significantly impact productivity on both sides, as can having to remove access as needed. Shifting these tasks and workflows over to IT process automation, on the other hand, speeds up the process and makes everyone’s lives easier.

While automation is certainly not a new concept, many organizations are still just beginning to dip their toe into the waters. As such, getting started can seem downright overwhelming. For situations such as this, we recommend starting with the five things listed above. They may not be the simplest, neatest or prettiest of tasks, but given their overall impact on staffing and productivity levels, doing so will provide the most significant, measurable results.

Ready to get your own feet wet with IT process automation but still unsure where to begin? Take a look at these 10 most commonly automated processes and then download your free 30 day trial to start realizing the benefits of ITPA for your own organization.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




How “Free” IT Process Automation Software Can Cost You

How Free IT Process Automation Can Cost YouWho doesn’t love getting something for nothing – especially when you’re working with a limited budget and have to find creative ways to keep your business running efficiently, such as with IT process automation tools, without breaking the bank? While some of the products out there that are being offered for free are great, and can serve a purpose for your business, some of aren’t quite so beneficial after all. In fact, turning to the wrong type of “freebie” can actually end up costing you more money in the long run. Here’s how:

First of all, free products typically focus on providing a single-use solution. In other words, they’re designed to address one or maybe two problems that you or your team may be facing, but they aren’t all-encompassing. This is all fine and good until you step back and realize you’ve got a dozen different tools running at the same time, and none of them are actually working together. In some cases, they may even be working against each other. The result of this fragmented approach is decreased efficiency and increased chance of human error, both of which can be costly to your business.

Secondly, free IT process automation products are not usually designed to support a long term strategy, but rather to fix a present need. Any successful business person knows that in order to continue to be profitable, there must be a strategy in place that will account for both the present and the future. Without an effective long term plan, you’ll only be able to realize short term goals, and you may find your tools falling short over time. IT automation tools that you purchase, on the other hand, are much more robust and can be figured into the big picture and help you achieve long term goals.

Another way that free software may end up costing you in the end is that they typically lack real substance. When they’re built to be free, they’re usually missing several key components that could really take your business to the next level. This means your automation won’t be running on all cylinders and the results will ultimately fall short. Some are even temporary, so you may find yourself with no other choice but to purchase the full product in the end just to avoid having to start over again. If the full version isn’t much better than the free one, you’ve wasted valuable money that could have been spent on a better product.

Finally, there’s the age old theory that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If you’re going to place your trust in free IT process automation, you’d better make sure you understand the motive behind the giveaway. These businesses are in it to make money too, and giving everything away isn’t going to do them any good….unless they can somehow rope you in via their free product to have to pay for other things, such as ongoing support or add-ons. Before you know it, that “free” tool has suddenly cost you more than it would have to simply purchase a quality product outright.

In short, while availing yourself of free products may seem to make smart business sense upfront, in the long run it may end up costing you more. Do you really want to take chances on a half-rate product that could end up doing the exact opposite of what it was designed for by actually costing money and hindering productivity and efficiency? The wisest choice, at least when it comes to IT process automation, is to do your homework and select a quality tool that isn’t free, but will produce the benefits your business needs over the long haul.

Get started today with a 30 day trial of eyeShare and experience the difference for yourself.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




5 Most Common Reasons IT Process Automation Projects Fail

5 Most Common Reasons IT Process Automation Projects Fail

5 Most Common Reasons IT Process Automation Projects Fail

For all the talk we do here at Ayehu about how to make IT process automation work for your organization, one area we don’t usually cover is how and why these types of projects fail. Sometimes even though the reason for adopting automation is on target, the outcome isn’t quite what one had hoped for. This can lead to costly double-work and the frustration of having to start over again. To improve the chances of your ITPA project going off without a hitch, here are the 5 most common failures so you’ll know exactly what to avoid.

Focusing on tools and tasks instead of people.

It may seem somewhat ironic, particularly given the widespread opinion that automation is somehow out to replace humans, but one of the greatest reasons an ITPA project fails is because it was designed around a task or tool instead of the people who it will inevitably help. The fact is, IT process automation is meant to streamline operations and make the lives of your IT department better, not worse. Focus on how the project will benefit your human workers and the results will be much greater.

Failing to adequately calculate and communicate ROI.

For an ITPA project to be carried out successfully, the projected benefits and long-term gains must be determined and demonstrated upfront. This includes taking into account the early costs associated with adopting an automation tool and helping decision makers understand the time-frame for seeing positive returns. Without this, you risk upper management pulling the plug too early due to lack of results. (If you’re not sure how to calculate ROI on an IT automation project, here’s a helpful guideline.)

Not setting appropriate expectations.

Sometimes an IT process automation project is deemed a “failure” simply because it did not meet expectations of certain stakeholders. That’s why it’s so important that those in charge of planning, testing and implementing any ITPA project include communication of the expected time-frame as well as the potential for issues and delays that may inevitably arise. When “the powers-that-be” know what to expect ahead of time, there are no surprises to have to deal with during the process.

Automating broken processes.

Another common cause of an ITPA project failure occurs when those in charge attempt to automate a process that isn’t already working properly. Not only is this a huge waste of time and resources, but it simply won’t work, which means backtracking, adjustments and a whole host of other delays will ultimately occur. Before starting any automation project, be certain everything you’re planning to automate is ready.

Not using the right tool.

Just like most things in IT, not every automation tool is created equal. Some organizations fall into the trap of purchasing the cheapest tool they can find only to learn that, as usual, you get what you pay for. Others make the mistake of investing in a product that they think is top-of-the-line, only to discover that it has way more features than they really need, making it a waste of money. The key to successfully carrying out an IT process automation project is to do your research and select a tool (and a partner) that is both affordable and scalable to fit your specific needs.

Thinking about trying automation but not sure where to begin?

Check out these common tasks and processes that can and should be automated and then download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare to experience it for yourself.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




The Value of Service Management and Automation to Your Organization

The Value of Service Management and Automation to Your OrganizationThe concept of Service Management and Automation (SMA) is a particularly broad one. As such, there is often some confusion as to what it really entails and, more importantly, the value it lends to an organization. Many people, even IT professionals, mistakenly place more emphasis on the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) rather than SMA, simply because they both involve the adoption of a best practice process model. In fact, ITIL is merely a component of well-developed SMA initiatives.

According to research conducted by Forrester, in partnership with the USA chapter of the IT Service Management Forum (ITSMF), nearly all large US organizations have adopted some type of ITIL-based approach for their overall Service Management and Automation. Additionally, approximately 60% of IT organizations have embraced ITIL v3 for their operations.

What does this mean in terms of the future and the big picture for IT? It means that an increasing number of businesses will begin seeing the benefits of broad SMA programs. These benefits include: 

Increased Productivity

Standardized best practices reduce the risk of error and simplify execution, naturally improving the overall productivity of the organization. Automation of manual, repetitive tasks frees up personnel to be able to focus on more important, business critical responsibilities. Instead of having to deal with problems after they occur, staff can prevent them from ever happening. IT automation delivers a level of productivity that simply cannot be achieved through manual efforts.

Enhanced Level of Service

When processes are clearly defined and expertly deployed, there is a significant reduction in errors, producing a subsequent boost in service levels. End users and customers will begin to hold their service providers in a higher regard. This, in turn, creates and fosters a sense of loyalty and provides a certain competitive advantage for the organization.

Improved Reputation

One of the most important components of an IT organization’s viability is its reputation. It only stands to reason, then, that by improving the processes that are in place, both internally and externally, the overall view of the enterprise as a whole will be improved. Better output begets better input and it becomes an ongoing cycle of improvement. If the services of an organization are consistently deemed to be quality and trustworthy, the organization itself will be viewed in the same respect.

Reduced Operational Costs

There isn’t a successful business on the market today that isn’t concerned, to some degree, about budget. You simply can’t be profitable unless you find ways to reduce operational costs and expenses.  While ITIL and SMA do require some investments in order to achieve the benefits above, if they are deployed and managed successfully, those investments will see significant return over time. What’s more, as Service Management and Automation efforts continue to improve and mature, the impact on operational cost reduction will also continue to improve. It’s becoming increasingly evident that as technology evolves, the adoption of ITIL as a component of a robust and comprehensive Service Management and Automation initiative will become essential to the success of any organization.





5 Ways to level up your service desk using it process automation