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The Secret to MSP Success…

Anyone familiar the role of a managed service provider understands all-too-well the pressure of finding a way to do more with less. It’s really all about efficiency and scalability. The more effective your performance, the more success you’ll achieve. The problem is, achieving this isn’t always easy, particularly when there are tight budgetary constraints involved, because for many organizations, hiring additional staff simply isn’t feasible. The solution? Intelligent automation, and leveraging it to win the race and position yourself firmly at the head of the pack.

Most MSPs agree that when it comes to intense competition and budgetary restrictions, the best and only solution is to invest in intelligent automation. In fact, this is even the case with enterprises that do not struggle with cash flow issues. Even those that can afford to hire additional staff, doing so will inevitably impact the bottom line. By taking a step back and allowing technology to do the heavy lifting, on the other hand, scalability is achieved without the added expenditure of increasing personnel.

Outsourcing or relocating operation centers to other areas of the world may provide a slight advantage in terms of overall cost, but it won’t necessarily level the economic playing field. The ultimate goal of every MSP is to successfully deliver as many quality services as possible while simultaneously utilizing the fewest resources…hence, doing more with less. Tapping into foreign markets and moving your IT department will not achieve this. Only automation will.

That said, it’s also critically important that key decision makers perform their due diligence when choosing an intelligent automation platform to employ. Those who have been most successful in this so-called “survival of the fittest” contest have provided some insight into what to consider during the selection process. Most importantly, keep the concept of scalability in mind. Make sure you choose a product that will be able to bridge the past with the future, integrating with legacy systems while also adapting with your changing business needs as they occur. Flexibility is key.

It’s also incredibly important that the automation platform you choose is robust but easy to implement and use. Remember, you’re going to be relying on this system to handle not just simple, repetitive tasks but also complex workflows that are critical to the success of your entire organization. Do your homework and make sure the product you ultimately select is comprehensive enough to handle anything and everything your business may need, not just today but in the future as well.

There’s no question that intelligent automation is fast becoming the central part of many successful MSP operations, and only those organizations that embrace and act on this will continue to remain competitive. Don’t get left behind! Get on track to a profitable future by investing in AI-powered automation.

Get started today by launching your free 30 day trial of Ayehu. 

Intelligent ITSM Automation – Your Secret Formula for Success

One of the more surprising trends in recent history has been the implementation of IT Service Management (ITSM) in areas that are outside of the IT realm, such as facilities management and human resources. Similar to IT, these functions can derive significant business value from standardizing, automating and streamlining workflows and processes. Furthermore, by cutting costs and skyrocketing efficiency, intelligent ITSM automation can help all lines of business roll out newer and better capabilities for the benefit of the entire organization.

Widespread Benefits of Intelligent ITSM Automation

According to a recent survey by PMG, nearly three quarters of the 300 respondents listed self-service automation as beneficial to the entire organization. 68 percent agreed that automation can help lower the costs of IT operations. 82 percent acknowledged that automation has fundamentally changed the way cloud and virtual environments are managed while 65 percent credit automated technology as instrumental in integrating and managing Big Data.

Nearly all survey respondents, however, (98 percent) agreed that automation already provides clear and measurable business benefits, including:

  • Enhanced customer satisfaction
  • Increased productivity and subsequent gains
  • Better knowledge sharing
  • New product delivery
  • Data-driven decision-making

It’s no surprise, then, that intelligent ITSM automation is now being leveraged to streamline manual processes across entire organizations, including IT help desks, HR departments, customer contact centers and more. Extending automation outside IT departments into other business units within the company is becoming much more commonplace.

Aligning Intelligent ITSM Automation with Business Goals

Of course, in order for intelligent ITSM automation to truly generate measurable benefits across the enterprise, it must be aligned as closely as possible with broader organizational goals. This isn’t a significant challenge, however, thanks to ITSM’s ability to facilitate better communication throughout the company. By eliminating miscommunication, businesses achieve greater efficiencies. When IT becomes less of an island and more a part of overall business operations, everyone benefits because they’re all on the same page.

Obstacles to Intelligent ITSM Automation

While the majority of business leaders agree on the many benefits intelligent ITSM automation has to offer, there are still certain key challenges that exist and must be overcome. One of the biggest obstacles is the lack of a holistic approach to automation, which results in silos that are not integrated and therefore are not being leveraged to their fullest potential. In some instances, separate automated processes actually work against rather than with one another, slowing down progress and creating, rather than eliminating inefficiency.

One of the contributors to these silos of automation is different departments that deploy automation individually, without the IT team’s knowledge and assistance. Other respondents to the survey cited business leaders who create their own automated solutions using incorrect tools or non-standard processes. Clearly these issues must be addressed and overcome if intelligent ITSM automation is to become truly beneficial. Ideally, the IT department should take the lead on developing and implementing an interdepartmental, enterprise-wide strategy for automation.

The first step? Choosing the right platform. See AI-powered, intelligent ITSM automation in action today by requesting a product demo. Or experience it for yourself with a free 30-day trial.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

7 Key Business Benefits of Intelligent Automation

Intelligent automation is being adopted and implemented in businesses of every industry. Still, there are some decision makers who are on the fence about whether it’s worth the investment. If you are among those who aren’t 100% certain, let’s take a look at a few of the quantifiable benefits AI-powered automation can provide to your organization.

Cost Savings

One of the biggest advantages of intelligent automation is the immediate and significant reduction in expenditure it can deliver. When work is automated, not only is it completed faster, but it also can be performed round-the-clock at a much lower rate. So, you get greater output for less, which results in a better bottom line.

Quality, Accurate Work

Let’s face it. Even the most careful human can and will make an occasional mistake. Multiply those errors by the number of people you have performing routine tasks for your company, and you could be looking at a pretty costly problem. With artificial intelligence, the work is performed error-free. Better quality means higher satisfaction rates, which – again – is good for your company’s profitability.

Enhanced Cycle Time

How long does it take a human worker to perform a given task such as completing a web form? Even if it’s mere minutes, an intelligent robot could shave that time down to just a few seconds. Over time and multiplied by dozens of tasks and several staff members, this savings really begins to add up.

Employee Empowerment

Intelligent automation does not require any special technical skills. That’s why it’s an ideal application for the end-user. The ability to deploy robots to perform certain tasks without having to enlist the help of someone from IT empowers the end-user to get their jobs done more efficiently and effectively. Meanwhile, it frees up IT to focus on more important tasks and projects.

Simplicity and Flexibility

Automating tasks and workflows through Ayehu’s AI-powered automation does not require coding or script-writing. That means even complex processes can be transferred from human to machine with little effort. The faster these tasks and workflows can be automated, the sooner your organization will begin reaping the benefits. In other words, intelligent automation delivers quick returns.

Better Control

Many companies choose to outsource so-called busy work to external parties. This, of course, comes with inherent risk. Intelligent automation can provide a better solution and since the work remains in-house, the business maintains maximum possession, control and visibility.

Insights and Analytics

Learning from the past can help your business leaders make better decisions for the future. Machine learning algorithms offer the ability to gather, organize, track, analyze, report on and store valuable data. That information can then be utilized to improve on current operations, address and correct issues in a timelier manner, accurately forecast and develop best practices.

Still not convinced that intelligent automation is a beneficial solution for your business needs? Why not try it for yourself? Click here to start your free trial of Ayehu NG today.  

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Attn: MSPs – Want to Maximize Efficiency and Gain Competitive Advantage? Here’s how.

In years past, businesses had little choice when it came to managing their own internal IT operations. For many, the only feasible option was outsourcing. Today, with so many advancements in technology, the concept of outsourcing has shifted and more companies are bringing these services in-house. So, how can Managed Service Providers compete and stay profitable? The answer is simple. MSPs must find a way to maximize efficiency while delivering the highest value proposition to their customers. And here’s how.

Do More with Less

The first step in staying successful as an MSP is finding a way to get the most out of your employees while also keeping expenditure down. While hiring more staff may seem like the logical solution to staying on top of tasks and delivering exceptional client service, doing so would be too cost prohibitive for most firms – especially in today’s highly competitive landscape.

As an alternative, MSPs can turn to technology and leverage the various tools available to them to help boost productivity without the need to bring on additional employees. Intelligent automation, for example, an excellent solution to this dilemma, as it can eliminat many of the day to day tasks from your team’s to-do list. Not only will this allow you to keep staffing lean, but it also frees up those who would normally handle those repetitive workflows to focus on other, more meaningful business initiatives.

By automating activities such as incident management, the program itself can handle much of the process without the need for human intervention. This improves response time and efficiency levels, which ultimately enhances SLA to the clients.

Make an Offer They Can’t Refuse

One of the reasons the managed service provider industry is considered so risky is because tech advancements, such as cloud hosting, have made managing operations in-house easier and more affordable. To counteract this, MSPs must make what they have to offer too valuable to refuse. Beyond just taking on the task of handling IT operations for a company in real-time, these firms must remain one step ahead. This means taking a proactive approach and identifying and addressing issues even before they occur.

The best tool for this task is again automation. By leveraging a robust intelligent automation product, preferably one that can be integrated with other existing systems. That way, things like alert management can be streamlined to maximum efficiency. This reduces human error and allows problems to be corrected at a much faster rate. When you can effectively demonstrate to a company that is considering hosting IT in-house that your services are much more valuable, you’ll win the battle for survival.

Ayehu for MSPs

To stay afloat in an increasingly volatile, cut-throat environment and disprove the impending “outsourcing is dead” theory, MSPs must continue to adapt. Performance will need to be at its highest with cost at its lowest. The only logical solution to this is intelligent automation. This will provide the edge you need to remain ahead of the pack in the months and years to come.

Are you an Managed Service Provider that is feeling the pressure to perform better? Are you ready to experience what the right automation platform can do for your business? Download your free 30-day trial of Ayehu today!
eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Intelligent Automation – Which Processes Should You Start With?

When discussing intelligent automation, one of the first questions (even before platforms) is – which processes should you automate?

Operational or Business Processes?

There’s a popular distinction between business processes and operational, or data center processes. A business process may be, for example, change management, escalation, notification, etc.

Operational/data center processes have stronger focus around IT operational systems and procedures – for example, backup and recovery, access management, etc.

The line between these two types of processes is not clear cut, and in many cases a process may be both operational and business oriented. Understanding exactly what you’re working with and what your goals are is key.

Top Areas for Intelligent Automation

It’s always interesting to see what others are automating – even though you have your own priorities and unique needs. A recent Information Week survey asked how critical was it to automate specific process areas? According to the survey, leading the pack were mostly hardcore operational processes, such as the following:

  • Backup and restoration
  • Disaster recovery
  • Service fulfillment
  • Incident management
  • Data movement

This seems natural, as most of these (with the exception of disaster recovery) are repetitive tasks that consume many hours from IT teams. In fact, some of these tasks are relatively easy to automate. We’ve rounded up 10 of the most popular processes that are ideal for intelligent automation.

Researchers have also identified the following 5 “key win areas” for automation, which provide fast and measurable value.

Service Desk
  • Change management
  • Configuration management
  • Provisioning
  • Routine maintenance
  • Identity and access management

So which processes should you automate?

Now that you know a bit about what others think should be automated, we’re back to our initial question – which processes should you automate?

As a first step, start by mapping your current processes and their key operational metrics for each of the service and business applications.

Once you create such a list, try to prioritize them based on the following two questions:

  • Time. What are the quantifiable benefits from automating each process? Consider how many hours are currently spent on the manual process – both by employees, as well by management.
  • Effort to Automate. What would be the required effort to implement automation, as well as maintain the automated process? Obviously, this question is more challenging to answer, since it requires a familiarity with one or more tools, and depends on the skills of your team.

Once you’ve answered these two key questions, it’s time to jump in and get started. The best way to do that is to leverage a platform that is designed to make implementing intelligent automation fast, easy and seamless. The good news is, you can now try Ayehu absolutely free for a full 30 days. Click here to download your trial today.

Is Intelligent Automation Really Replacing Human Workers?

When intelligent automation first hit the market, some thought it was too far-fetched to ever become a reality. But as more and more organizations began recognizing the many benefits – from increased productivity and efficiency to lower costs and fewer errors – people started worrying, wondering whether this technology would spell the end of the human workforce as we knew it. Would artificial intelligence really start taking over jobs? To answer that question, those asking it must look inward.

In reality, the impact automation has on the workforce will depend largely on how humans themselves respond. When faced with the rising adoption of AI, workers will likely take one of two paths. The first group will continue to focus on the type of work they’ve always done, but do so more efficiently thanks to the assistance of machine learning. The second will take this as a golden opportunity to pursue their ambitions, further their education to broaden their skill sets, put their creativity and innovation to work and move on to more value-added, meaningful work. In either case, the organization will benefit, as will most of the employees.

In particular, roles that have a primary focus on people, such as customer support and HR, have the potential to benefit greatly from intelligent automation. Instead of being bogged down by repetitive, menial tasks that can easily (and more quickly) be handled by software, agents will be freed up to tackle more complex issues requiring a human touch. Furthermore, the improved allocation of resources afforded by AI will enable agents to prevent issues from occurring in the first place. This can dramatically improve both customer and employee satisfaction rating.

This concept can also be applied to the IT help desk. Rather than waiting until system problems arise and scrambling to fix them in a timely and effective manner, help desk agents can use the extra time automation provides them with to monitor and proactively address technical issues before they occur. Imagine how impressed the CEO will be when he gets a call from IT letting him know his hard drive was about to fail, but it’s been taken care of.

In both of these scenarios, the human worker is enhancing their interactions with their colleagues and/or customers. And since intelligent automation is there to take on the routine, manual tasks, the human agents themselves are also able to improve.

The reality is, very few organizations are focusing on using AI to eliminate jobs. Instead, they are focused on automating tasks, which in turn will improve productivity, streamline how work is completed, eliminate errors and cut costs. In other words, companies implementing automation are not doing so to replace human workers, but rather to augment and make their lives easier. As a result, everyone benefits – from employees and management to clientele and ultimately the organization’s bottom line.

Still not completely sold on the idea of intelligent automation and the value this technology can bring to your business? Don’t take our word for it. Try it for yourself. Click here to download a free 30 day trial of Ayehu. You have nothing to lose!

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

3 Business Areas that are Ideal for Machine Learning

At the current rate, AI systems worldwide are on pace to hit nearly $50 billion in revenues by the year 2020. The proof is in the pudding. And if you’re not yet leveraging the power of machine learning, you can bet your competitors are. The good news is, you don’t need a massive budget or a team of experienced data scientists to start putting machine learning to use in your business. In fact, to follow are three practical areas where almost any organization can get started with ML technologies.

Internal/External Support

If you have an IT help desk for employees or a support team dedicated to customer inquiries, you have a great opportunity to leverage machine learning technology. Chatbots can be trained to handle everything from the most basic FAQs to complex issues, working in tandem with human agents.

Not only will a chatbot strategy free up your support staff to focus on more important business initiatives, but it’ll also improve service levels, so it’s a win-win. (Not sure where to start? Here’s a step-by-step guide to implementing bots along with some tips for what not to do.)

Cybersecurity

According to research by Ponemon, the average cost of a single ransomware attack is $5 million. And that’s just one strategy hackers use. If you think cybersecurity is not a big deal, think again. The problem is, cyber criminals are becoming savvier and using more sophisticated methods by the day. Staffing enough people to handle the onslaught isn’t just challenging. It’s next to impossible.

The good news is, machine learning can be used to augment your IT security team, providing an added layer of protection against potential breaches. Intelligent automation can work around the clock, constantly monitoring and analyzing mountains of data and identifying/addressing anomalies before they have a chance to wreak havoc.

Human Resources

While there are certainly areas of the human resources function for which a human touch is still needed, such as discussing sensitive matters with employees, the reality is, the vast majority of today’s HR processes and workflows can easily be automated.

For instance, machine learning algorithms can be used to weed through job applicants, saving recruiters time and aggravation, while intelligent automation can handle new employee onboarding far faster and more efficiently than a human agent could. To get you started, check out these 5 tips for optimizing HR with automation.

Of course, none of these things will be possible without the right technology. Thankfully, you don’t have to be an AI guru to leverage machine learning, nor do you have to hire a team of experts. In fact, you don’t even have to know how to code. Experience the power of plug-and-play intelligent automation by requesting an interactive demo of Ayehu or jump right in with your free 30-day trial today!

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Automation Engineers: 5 Essential Skills for Success

Everyone talks about the changes in the IT world – the increased complexity, the pressures to improve efficiency, and the need for tighter links between IT and business.

But how does this influence your IT personnel and their skill set requirements? Obviously, there’s a need for IT professionals with backgrounds in data center operations, systems integration, virtualization etc. Yet the demand for closer links between IT technologists and business operations implies new skills. Particularly with intelligent automation becoming an essential element, IT engineers need new skills beyond familiarity with technologies.

If in the past requirements focused solely on technical expertise and you were only looking for scripting wizards and troubleshooting superheroes – then today your IT group needs a much wider set of abilities. You need Automation Engineers who are able to understand the needs and processes of the business, translate those needs into IT activities, and prioritize and implement them in the most productive way.

So what are the additional skills an automation engineer needs? Here are 5 of the top ones in our opinion.

  1. Business perspective. A business/financial state of mind that enables the consideration and application of non-technical data inputs. For instance, figuring out key KPI’s affecting the IT project,  measuring return on investment (ROI), and optimizing an IT project implementation to successfully achieve financial goals.
  2. Process analysis. The ability to define and implement processes such as incident management, change management, operations, information security, business continuity & disaster recovery, and business service management.
  3. Project Management. Individuals who can not only oversee and monitor projects, but also identify business users’ needs and translate them into IT requirements. Automation engineers that can clearly justify how a business may increase its staff productivity and efficiency using different processes and tools.
  4. Process Implementation. Modern automation engineers must be capable of grasping end-to-end processes, have a deep understanding of workflows and the ability to create them in an automated environment.
  5. Interpersonal skills. The need for stronger communication with business managers requires solid interpersonal skills – i.e. the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people outside of the IT domain, understanding business peoples’ needs, concerns and different points of view, and that rare ability to negotiate and make compromises on both sides.

What skills do you think are required for a successful automation engineer? Tell us in the comments section. And don’t forget to download your FREE 30-day trial of Ayehu today!

5 Surefire Ways to Derail Your Machine Learning Project

The process of implementing something new typically involves making mistakes, heading in the wrong direction and then figuring out a way to right those wrongs and avoid those risks in the future. Adopting machine learning is no exception. If you aren’t careful, the mistakes you make can become encoded, at least for the time being, into your business processes. As a result, these errors will occur at scale and will be difficult to control.

On the other hand, when you proactively detect errors and take the steps to address and correct them right away, you’ll have much more success with the technology. To follow are five common pitfalls that can wreak havoc on your machine learning project so you’ll know what to watch for.

Lack of clear understanding.

Simply put, you cannot adequately solve a problem that you don’t fully understand. The same can be said for machine learning initiatives. If you don’t completely understand what problem you are actually trying to solve, the risk of errors goes up exponentially.

To avoid this, begin with a hypothesis statement. Ask what the problem is that you are trying to resolve and which models you plan on using to address that issue. This is key, because if it’s not done correctly from the start, things can go wrong very quickly.

Poor data quality.

The old adage, “garbage in, garbage out” can easily be applied to machine learning projects. If the quality of the data you are supplying isn’t up to par, the outcome will inevitably suffer. In fact, poor data quality is one of the top concerns of data managers, as it can impact analytics and ultimately influence business decisions in the wrong direction.

The result of these poor decisions can negative affect performance and make it difficult to garner support for future initiatives. Exploratory data analysis (EDA) can help you proactively identify data quality issues so you can prevent problems before they occur.

No specific purpose.

Another common contributor to machine learning failure is implementation without a clear purpose. In order for machine learning to produce ROI, it must be applied properly – not simply because it’s the cool thing to do. In fact, using machine learning when it’s not the best solution to a problem and/or not completely understanding the use case can ultimately cause more harm than good.

In addition to addressing the wrong problem, doing so can involve wasted time and resources, both of which come at a cost. To avoid this, identify the precise problem and desired outcome to determine whether machine learning is the appropriate solution. 

Insufficient resources.

It’s easy to underestimate the amount of resources required to do machine learning right, in particular as it relates to infrastructure. Without adequate processing power, successfully implementing machine learning solutions in a timely manner can be a difficult, if not impossible feat. And without the resources in place to allow for its deployment and use, what’s the point?

To address the expense and complexity of deploying a scalable infrastructure, leveraging a cloud service that can be provisioned on-demand may be the better option. Those wishing to keep things in-house should look for a lightweight, plug-and-play solution that doesn’t require coding and can be deployed across on-premises and private cloud platforms.

Poor planning and lack of governance.

It’s not unusual for a machine learning project to start off with tremendous enthusiasm only to lose momentum and ultimately end up grinding to a halt. When this happens, poor planning and lack of governance is most often to blame. For those projects that don’t cease, a lack of guidelines and limits can result in an exorbitant expenditure of resources without the beneficial end results. 

To keep things moving in the right direction, machine learning initiatives must be continuously monitored. In the event that progress begins to wane, it can be wise to take a break and reevaluate the effort. Keeping people engaged in the process is the key.

Machine learning can be a tremendous asset to an organization, but only if it’s planned, implemented and managed properly. By avoiding the five common pitfalls listed above, you can place your company in a much better position and improve your chances of long-term, sustainable success.

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5 Ways Machine Learning is Transforming the Business World

Today’s forward-thinking organizations are leveraging the power of artificial intelligence to automate the decision making process. In fact, corporate investment in AI is predicted to reach $100 billion by the year 2025. As a result of this rapid digital transformation, many changes are underway in the workplace. In particular, there are a number of ways that machine learning is already making an impact for companies in every industry. Here are a few to consider.

Personalizing the customer experience.

One of the most exciting benefits machine learning can have for businesses is the fact that it can help improve the customer experience while also lowering costs. Through things like deep data mining, natural language processing and continuous learning algorithms, customers can receive highly personalized support with little to no human intervention. And people are warming to the idea. In fact, 44% of US consumers say they actually prefer chatbots to human agents.

Improving loyalty and retention.

With machine learning, companies can do a deep dive into customer behavior to identify those who are at a higher risk of churning. This enables organizations to develop and implement next steps designed to target and retain those high-risk customers. The more proactive a company is in this area, the more profitable it will be over time.

Enhancing the hiring process.

When asked about the most difficult part of their job, corporate recruiters and hiring managers almost unanimously list the task of shortlisting qualified candidates for job openings. With dozens and sometimes even hundreds of applicants, sifting through and narrowing down the options can be a monumental task. Machine learning is fundamentally changing the way this process is handled by letting software do the dirty work, quickly identifying and shortlisting those candidates that are the best fit.

Detecting fraud.

Did you know that the average organization loses up to 5% of their total revenue each year due to fraud? Machine learning algorithms can be used to track data and apply pattern recognition to identify anomalies. This can help risk management detect fraudulent transactions in real-time so they can be prevented. This type of “algorithmic security” can also be applied to cybersecurity, leveraging AI to quickly and accurately pinpoint threats so they can be addressed before they are able to do damage.

Streamlining IT operations.

Another way AI and machine learning are revolutionizing how organizations operate is through intelligent automation. Powered by machine learning algorithms, agentless automation and orchestration platforms become force multipliers, driving efficiency and helping enterprises save time on manual and repetitive tasks, accelerate mean time to resolution, and maintain greater control over IT infrastructure.

Want to see machine learning in action? Schedule a free product demo today!

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