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How IT Process Automation Won’t Drain Your Resources

Why IT Process Automation Tools Shouldn't Require Extra Hardware or Virtual ResourcesThere have been several articles published recently indicating that IT process automation tools require a substantial amount of hardware and use up a great deal of virtual resources. While this may have been the case for older, more primitive automation tools, this is absolutely not the case for all automation products. In fact, if you choose the right software product, the impact on external resources will be minimal. It’s all about doing your homework, understanding your options, and choosing wisely.  Here’s what to look for if you’re in the market for an automation tool that won’t drain your resources.

Lightweight

Choosing a more lightweight IT process automation software product provides many benefits, not the least of which is the amount of resources it demands. These types of products are also much more flexible and can adapt to change much more quickly and seamlessly than their heavyweight counterparts. Lightweight automation products are much less expensive and less time consuming to implement, so they are up and running and fully functioning in a shorter amount of time, delivering immediate benefits. They also provide almost instant feedback, so the results can be measured and processes tweaked in a timely manner for optimum results.

Agentless

Agentless solutions make the entire process of IT process automation much more efficient than agent-based products, and they take up fewer resources because deployment is shorter and more concise. These products can also be customized to meet the specific SLA’s of each given task and can handle all of the system monitoring, freeing up agents to focus on more important tasks. Alerts and notifications are dispatched the appropriate parties immediately, often allowing problems to be corrected before the end user is even affected.

Small Footprint

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to choose a product with a big footprint to achieve big automation goals for your organization. Many of today’s IT process automation solutions offer equivalent results without taking up much room at all – either physically or virtually. It used to be that in order to get substantial results from an automation product, one would have to make sacrifices in terms of how much hardware and virtual resources were to be allocated. Today’s products offer the same big results without having to make these sacrifices.

Non-Intrusive

In the past, implementing IT process automation took a great deal of time and resources because it was difficult to integrate with other legacy software that was specifically designed to be managed by humans. The marriage between the two was complex and time consuming and the results were often less than impressive. These days there are non-intrusive automation products on the market that were specifically developed to be seamlessly integrated with a wide variety of existing software and internal systems in a way that is virtually undetectable. The result is that automated tasks are performed in the background, completely unnoticed by the end user.

If you want to introduce IT process automation into your IT department but are hesitant about having to allocate so much hardware and virtual resources to doing so, you’ve come to the right place.

When you know what to look for, and where you can find a more effective and efficient automation solution, you’ll be able to harness the power of automation without having to sacrifice precious resources, and still get the results you want.

Check out these 10 things you can and should automate and get started today – to download a a free 30-day trial, visit our IT process automation website.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




How to Increase Network Operation Center Performance While Reducing Costs

In a world where outsourcing IT operations has become the norm rather than the exception, many organizations are finding it challenging to manage their network operation center performance when it is being handled offsite. The good news is you don’t have to outsource your Network Operation Center (NOC) to achieve operational efficiency! To the contrary, by leveraging IT Process Automation you can effectively keep your service levels high while also reducing the cost of your network operations. Here’s how.

You don’t have to outsource your Network Operation Center to achieve operational efficiency. IT Process Automation lets you keep your service levels high.

There are a number of simple IT Process Automation strategies that you can implement that will allow you to host your own in-house network operation center and do so efficiently and cost effectively. Here are just a few examples:

  • Empower your Level 1 teams, thereby reducing issues escalated to Level 2 IT Process Automation allows your first level personnel to handle things like password resets, disk space clean-ups, restart services and more. This instantly improves efficiency and service levels.
  • Reduce Level 1 and Level 2 workloads IT Process Automation frees up your NOC team to focus on more critical matters and other strategic initiatives, allowing for a much more efficient allocation of IT resources.
  • Automate repetitive activities No more time wasted on manual, routine and repetitive tasks. Automated workflows can be created to handle almost any activity.
  • Integrate with existing management tools With IT Process Automation, your NOC doesn’t have to be a separate entity. IT operations can quickly and easily be integrated with all of your other management tools, such as monitoring systems, service desks, AD and email, creating a seamless, streamlined operation.

In addition to these broad business strategies, IT Process Automation can also help to reduce and consolidate workflows to make them more efficient and effective. For example:

  • Reaction to a disk space / file directory quota breach thresholds:
    • Monitoring system sends an alert that threshold has been breached on disk drive on a production server
    • IT Process Automation tool receives the alert and notifies Level 1 to take ownership of the issue (various sources of notification can be used)
    • Level 1 replies back that he took ownership (reply sent directly to IT Process automation tool)
    • Level 1 decides what action to take. In this case, which file(s) should be deleted, or whether to escalate to Level 2
    • IT Process Automation tool performs the requested action and return message is sent upon success or failure
  • Reset of password on Linux server:
    • A user request to password reset on a specific server is received
    • A change request is created in the ITSM tool
    • This initiates an automated workflow in the IT Process Automation tool
    • The IT Process Automation tool connects to the remote server, resets the password to a predefined password and provides notification upon success

Theses are just a few examples of the many tasks and processes that IT Process Automation can manage, opening the door of opportunity for organizations to maintain their own NOC in-house. This allows for better control, communications and overall performance management, thereby improving service levels, increasing efficiency and further streamlining IT operations for optimum results.





eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate




Managed Service Providers – 4 Essential Steps to Managing Your IT Services Cost-Effectively

Managed Service Providers - 4 Essential Steps to Managing Your IT Services Cost-EffectivelyWe’ve certainly come a long way since the antiquated automation tools introduced at the turn of the century. Huge, clumsy and less than perfect, those old tools were enough to get the job done, but thankfully have been vastly improved over the years. Now, IT automation offers sophisticated solutions in easy-to-use, out-of-the-box products that are affordable and scalable to suit just about any industry and business need. Yet, there is still work to be done if we are to truly get the most out of IT process automation in its current form – particularly if you are in the highly competitive field of Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Here are 4 key steps to manage your IT services efficiently and cost effectively.

  1. Stay Proactive – Of course you know what to do in the event that one of your clients’ infrastructure is compromised, but wouldn’t it make more sense to stay one step ahead of the game? That way, instead of having to waste time, resources and money putting out fires, you could resolve issues before they developed into serious problems. Let’s take the task of patch management into consideration. If you’re handling this manually, vulnerabilities in the days following a new release could be placing your clients at risk and making your job much more complicated than it has to be. IT process automation, on the other hand, allows you to take a proactive approach to patch releases, speeding the process and reducing risk.
  1. Develop and Implement Standards – By developing a check list of technology standards that can be applied across multiple devices and clients, you can remove much of the guess work from the trouble-shooting process. This will improve customer service levels and streamline your own internal operations. For instance, you can create a list of back-up and anti-virus processes, recommended amounts of memory, standard applications and configurations, etc. You can then automate the process of auditing these standards accordingly.
  1. Manage Policies – In addition to common standards, there are also a number of policies that must be managed properly, particularly in terms of IT usage governance. It’s critical to ensure that all users remain in compliance with the policies of your customers. Common policy areas include password refresh, application usage, allowable downloads and access security. By setting up a policy management plan that is proactive and automated, you can prevent unwanted actions and reduce the number of tickets you and your team will have to field.
  1. Review Regularly – While implementing the three steps listed above will dramatically improve productivity and performance, you’ll never get your incoming trouble tickets down to zero (nor should you want to). By reviewing your existing tickets regularly, however, you can effectively identify other areas where automation could help. What pain points are regularly causing you problems that you might be able to streamline for better results? You may also find through routine reviews that adjusting your standards and policy management in certain ways could further reduce the excess workload that your team is currently carrying.

As any MSP, you’re probably struggling with the need to do more with less. As IT issues become more and more complex, the ability to stay on top of the needs of your clients without having to increase expenditure will be critical to your future success. IT process automation, along with these 4 key steps, can help position you right where you need to be to stay out on top.

eBook: Top 7 Benefits IT Process Automation Provides MSP’s




How to Sell the Benefits of IT Process Automation Technology to Key Decision Makers

Pitching IT Process Automation to managementPitching IT Process Automation to management? Demonstrate the benefits and savings and you’ll have them convinced.

If you’ve ever had to pitch an idea to your manager or other key decision makers in your organization, you are probably already familiar with their many objections. It’s too expensive. We don’t have the resources. We’re just not quite convinced it’s a necessity. It’s nice to have. So on and so forth. Trying to sell the concept of IT process automation is no exception. If you’re sick and tired of wasting time on manual, repetitive tasks and are ready to convince the powers that be that it’s time to implement automation, here are a few helpful tips.

First, go over step by step the powerful benefits of IT Process Automation, as follows:

SLA Management

IT automation processes would significantly improve your team’s ability to meet and exceed SLA’s, as automated workflows can be implemented to expedite the team’s activities to restore service. This means improved operational efficiency across the board.

IT Service Management

IT automation tool can assist by implementing specific workflows to improve customer service. For example, thresholds on directory space require teams to make decisions regarding actions (i.e., delete files/logs). This process can take some time. Admins can automate the entire process including notification and reduce the decision time.

Reallocation of Workloads

Current workload of both Level 1 and Level 2 teams consist of many manual efforts that take extended periods of time. Through IT process automation tool such as eyeShare, automated human / system workflows could be implemented, freeing up personnel to be able to concentrate on service improvements instead of just concentrating on maintaining current service.

Reduction of Incidents

IT automation tool can assist in reducing incidents related to the manual effort of activities for both normal troubleshooting and maintenance. These manual procedures can be incorporated in human/system workflows to remove the human error factor that can cause critical incidents.

Decision Analysis

Improve levels of incident documentation activities, including monitoring resolutions times with adequate information for making quality decisions based on the data. Automate auditing processes to include accurate time stamps, automated assignments and ownerships, description of actions taken to restore services, and more.

Calculating ROI for IT Process Automation

Once you’ve delivered the key benefits of IT process automation, it’s time to address one of the biggest objections – cost. As with anything else, the decision makers of an organization want to be absolutely certain that they will receive an adequate return on their investment with any new venture. To effectively deliver this message, you must first plan your ROI strategy.

To be most effective, your ROI analysis should demonstrate the ability to achieve short-term results while also addressing the longer-term, strategic benefits of automation. Here are a few pointers on achieving these goals.

The basic formula for calculating task automation savings is as follows:

Time spent on a single task x Frequency/month x Cost/hour x 12 months = Yearly Savings

You can use this formula to assign a monetary value to the freed-up time of your IT personnel when automation is leveraged. This formula should be applied to each task you plan to automate so that you can add up the annual savings per task.

Once management begins to see the specific benefits along with the incredible tangible savings that can be realized through IT process automation, you’ll have them convinced.

Got the green light and ready to begin leveraging IT process automation in your organization?

Here are some tips on evaluating different ITPA tools to help you choose the right one for your business.


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