How to Get Critical Systems Back Online using IT Process Automation

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online using IT Process AutomationIf you are concerned with critical incident management and its impact on productivity, service levels and downtime- IT Process Automation is your solution, and this post is for you.

IT operations staff spend a huge portion of their time resolving urgent problems like system downtime, performance, and network availability, or performing critical maintenance tasks. As IT environment get more virtualized and more complex, problems take longer and longer to resolve. The burden of these urgent tasks, combined with today’s tight budgets, make it difficult for IT operations to work on key initiatives that add business value. The solution? IT Process Automation.

The Challenge of IT Problem Resolution
IT operations departments are expected to innovate and deliver business value, but IT operations staff spend a large portion of their time resolving problems with critical systems and performing critical maintenance tasks. With so many resources invested in these urgent activities, there is little time left for initiatives that add business value.

Are You Fighting Fires or Adding Value?
In today’s IT organizations, IT operations departments are at the forefront of innovation. Key initiatives such as virtualization, cloud computing, IT modernization, ITIL implementation, and IT compliances (e.g. SOX)—all of which have a huge impact on IT productivity and agility—are the responsibility of operations.
But do operations staff really have the time to make these big steps forward?

It is a common experience among operations staff that urgent problems push aside other important tasks. A large portion of the time is spent resolving problems—such as system downtime, performance of critical systems, and network availability—and performing critical maintenance of the same systems, leaving relatively few resources for key initiatives, strategy and planning, and even regular ongoing maintenance.

This makes it very difficult for IT operations to keep CIOs and CEOs happy—to do more than just “keep the wheels turning,” by delivering real business value.

Two Trends That Will Make the Problem Worse Forrester Research identifies two trends that will adversely affect IT operations’ ability to resolve problems while leaving time for other activities:

  • Increased complexity of the IT environment—virtualization and cloud computing introduce “a new layer of infrastructure complexity”; a complex infrastructure means problems are getting more complex to identify and troubleshoot, and require more time to resolve. Critical maintenance tasks are also more difficult than ever.
  • Economic pressures and accelerated trend to productivity—IT organizations are required to do more with less, and “business satisfaction with IT seems to be at an all-time low.” With less manpower and increased pressure to deliver value, IT operations departments are starving for resources.

Clearly, a solution is needed that will make problem resolution processes more efficient. This is the only way to reduce the burden on operations teams, and free up time for more valuable work.

How to Get Critical Systems Back Online in Minutes

Attention IT Professionals: Too Much to Do and Not Enough Resources? Try IT Process Automation

Attention IT Professionals: Too Much to Do and Not Enough Resources? Try IT Process AutomationOver the past few years there were two main topics that came into focus in IT organizations which created cutbacks both in IT budget and human resources. Caused mainly by the shaky economy, these cutbacks have created great concern over who was going to step in to fill the jobs and complete the work that still has to be done – and with no change in the economy on the near horizon, these concerns still widely exist. Here are some of the main concerns and how IT Process Automation can fill the gap.

“There is more work to be done by fewer people.”

It’s sad but true. With businesses of every size and industry feeling the pressure to cut back and tighten the belt on labor costs, many IT departments are facing having to manage the same workload with fewer people to do it. IT Process Automation provides a solution to this very real problem by allowing technology to handle many of the time consuming manual tasks.

 “New employees are not being recruited, forcing us to run short-handed. Now we must work harder, more efficiently and cover more domains expertise.”

With businesses focusing on lowering expenditure, many have implemented an indefinite hiring freeze, leaving current employees to handle growing needs. Instead of being stretched too thin, IT professionals can turn to IT Process Automation to take care of many of their repetitive and routine day to day tasks. This frees up IT personnel to be able to learn and develop more advanced skills.

“We are under a great deal of pressure to deliver more and faster, while not being given any new resources.”

The growing demands on IT professionals can make the job seem overwhelming, but with automation it doesn’t have to be. In fact, IT automation offers solutions that can help organizations truly capitalize on their scarce IT resources while also dramatically reducing downtime and improving service levels.

“Most of the knowledge is walking out the door due to layoffs and open positions not being filled, while new help is inexperienced.”

Another big problem many IT departments are facing is the inability to properly train newer staff members due to lack of time or resources. When every available person is busy plugging away at labor-intensive and time consuming tasks, there’s no time left over to bring others up to speed on the growing and changing needs of the organization. When IT Process Automation is leveraged for many of these routine tasks, senior staff has more availability to focus on key training initiatives, improving the overall performance of the department.

These days, organizations of every size are faced with the demand to do more with fewer and fewer people. They’re also facing the fact that hiring freezes and reduced workforce mean fewer trained professionals to work with. This is particularly the case in the specialized field of IT operations. IT Process Automation presents the ideal solution to all of these needs by eliminating labor-intensive manual interactions, automating key processes such as system, network and application tasks, and freeing up IT management to focus on key issues that improve both internal training and external service levels. The result is a highly efficient and cost-effective operation that contributes to the ongoing success of the business as a whole.

Learn how IT Process Automation can help streamline your organization.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

How IT Automation is Giving IT Outsourcing a Run for its Money

IT AutomationThe subject of IT outsourcing has long been one of staunch debate over the past few decades or so. It seemed that with the increasing use of cloud computing, having IT operations managed elsewhere would become the norm rather than the exception. Yet, there’s one thing that is now giving outsourcing a run for its money and making the need for it nearly obsolete. That thing is IT automation, and here’s why it’s tipped the world of IT outsourcing on its side.

While the concept of outsourcing is by no means going away anytime soon, the need for it – at least in terms of the IT industry – seems to be shrinking. The reason is simple, really. IT automation has provided a solution to each of the main reasons organizations turned to outsourcing in the first place.

Cost – For small to medium sized businesses, the costs associated with managing IT operations in-house were simply too high to justify. Instead, they turned to outside sources to provide these services, reducing expenditure. Automation makes managing IT operations internally much more affordable, so there’s really no need to rely on a third party provider.

Scalability – Another common reason businesses choose to outsource is the ability of these services to evolve along with the changing needs and demands of the business – something managing IT in-house couldn’t easily accomplish in years past. With automation, however, businesses can scale up or down with ease.

Resources – Finally, there is the topic of logistics. Housing IT internally once meant the need for bulky and complex equipment, something that many SMBs simply could not accommodate. Automation, combined with cloud technology, eliminates this need, streamlining IT and making it simple to manage in an office of any size.

Essentially, IT automation is enabling enterprises of any size to do more with less. No longer is it necessary to employ a huge group of professionals to manage IT operations. Rather, the day to day IT tasks needed to keep the business running smoothly can be handled by just a handful of people. Now, what once made sense both financially and logistically – outsourcing –  is becoming more of a hassle than it’s worth.

As we’ve pointed out in previous articles, there are many benefits to keeping IT operations in-house. These advantages include, but are not limited to:

  • Increased control over procedures and processes
  • Enhanced security due to limiting access to only internal employees
  • Improved flexibility and customization (unique to each organization’s specific needs)
  • Time savings – no more relying on a third party
  • More cost-effective option than outsourcing to an MSP

For those businesses that choose to continue outsourcing their IT needs, automation will likely still play a significant role, as IT service providers leverage automation to deliver timely, precise and efficient results to their clients. So, either way IT process automation will impact your business in some way, even if that impact is indirect.

In any event, as IT automation continues to become a household name in 2014 and beyond, it’s becoming more and more evident that the decision to outsource IT operations will be an increasingly complicated one. Overall, the trends indicate that IT process automation will ultimately win the battle and provide businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries the ability to run efficient, effective internal IT departments.

Want to learn more about how you can leverage IT automation for your own organization?

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

What Car Assembly Lines Can Teach Us about IT Process Automation

IT process automation carAt first thought, it may seem somewhat unlikely that the car assembly line can be closely compared to IT operations, but if you take a closer look, the similarities are compelling. Think about it. What made the automotive industry so lucrative? It wasn’t just the vehicle designs or the features. It was about finding a way to take the time consuming tasks of assembling each vehicle and make them more efficient. This was accomplished through IT process automation. The same can be said for what drives the IT industry.

What many people don’t realize is that car assembly lines are not simply made up of robots that put all the pieces where they belong. It’s an intricate combination of automation and human input. There is still a need for people to step in and guide the process, adding the finishing touches and ensuring that the entire operation runs like a well-oiled machine. IT automation is also like this. While many of the day to day tasks and workflows can be handled by technology, there is still a human element involved.

The key to a successful assembly line isn’t just the robotics, but the intelligence that is applied at the front end to ensure that the machines are loaded with the right parts to do their jobs. It’s the same with IT automation. It’s not so much about employing an automated workflow to manage system outages as it is about what goes into setting that workflow up to be successful. When the robot – or IT department – has been properly loaded, it can then be used to make the jobs of the assembly line workers – or the business as a whole – easier and more efficient.

Before automation came along, IT operations was like a number of separate robots, each doing their own individual job that they’d been programmed to do. As a result, productivity was slow and efficiency was virtually non-existent. What was needed was a big-picture solution. One that tied everything together to focus not just on the end results of each task, but on the process through which those tasks were accomplished together. That solution was IT automation.

With automation, IT departments, like vehicle assembly lines, are able to work collaboratively to achieve the desired end results in the most efficient way possible. This means breaking down barriers that once separated departments from one another, and adopting the idea that automation can truly drive the success of the business as a whole.

When the assembly line was adopted in the automotive industry, the results were nothing short of astonishing. What once took days, weeks, months and even years to painstakingly process manually could now be completed in a matter of hours. Not only did the assembly line improve efficiency, but it also reduced human error. In short, it revolutionized an entire industry. IT Automation is doing the same for the IT industry.

If you’re not yet on the IT Process Automation bandwagon, take a lesson from the car assembly line and jump on! You’ll be amazed at how much it will bring your business to the next level.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

How to Plug IT Automation Software into the Cloud?

These days there is increasing pressure being placed on IT professionals to deliver services to businesses more quickly and inexpensively, to evolve their data centers to become more highly efficient, and to provide users with self-service access to IT offerings with fast, automated delivery. The good news is that, while it sounds a bit overwhelming, it’s not impossible to accomplish. It’s simply a matter of integrating IT automation software with cloud services.

To effective meet these demands, IT operations teams must:

Create a catalog of standardized service offerings with the capability to provide a self-service portal for users. This serves to free up IT personnel, allowing for a more efficient use of time and resources, and also empowers other employees to handle many of the day to day tasks on their own, without the need for IT intervention.

Implement policy-based controls to help maintain system integrity and keep the organization’s overall IT operations running smoothly with little hands-on action needed.

Manage the service lifecycle so that all components effectively work together and accurate alerts can be sent in a timely manner and to the appropriate party when and if a problem arises. When the service process runs smoothly and efficiently, improvements are realized both internally among employees and externally with better service levels.

Automate various aspects of your IT operations, including service and infrastructure provisioning, change requests, support services, user management, alerting and more. Automating these repetitive tasks allows IT personnel to focus on more critical business matters that require human intelligence and a more hands-on approach.

Manage across various aspects of your infrastructure, including virtualization, network, storage, and applications. This broad solution creates a more centralized environment in which every area can be managed effectively and instantaneously, rather than individually.

Intelligent IT automation tools combine all of these capabilities to provide a single platform on which enterprises can build and support their private clouds. This creates a high level of efficiency, which also equates to a reduction in labor costs and other expenses.

Could your organization benefit from integration of IT automation and cloud services?

IT Process Automation Survival Guide