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Successfully Marrying IT Process Automation Tools with Cloud Technology

IT Process Automation in the Cloud AgeAs technology evolves, more and more businesses of every shape, size and industry are turning to the cloud for enhanced flexibility, improved efficiency and the opportunity for global advancement. Coincidentally, IT process automation also offers many of the same benefits, which makes the two a very attractive combination. Let’s take a look at how ITPA tools are currently work within the cloud and how to best choose the ones that will most benefit your business.

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that if you’re in the market for an automation product that you’d like to leverage along with cloud technology, you must clearly outline what your goals and strategies are ahead of time. There are plenty of options to choose from, and quite frankly, it can be downright mind boggling to figure out which option makes the most sense for your particular business. You must start by clearly defining what you want to accomplish and then compare your options to find the product that is most closely aligned with your needs.

The next thing to consider is how it will integrate with your current system. There’s no point in implementing a new IT process automation tool if it’s going to function as just another fragmented program in and of itself. You’ll only be creating more work and a bigger headache, and it’s very unlikely you’ll accomplish that set of goals you’ve laid out. You need to find a product that not only works in the cloud, but also provides easy integration with legacy systems. The goal is to make the transition as seamless as possible and to enhance, not hinder, the functionality of your IT operation and the organization as a whole.

Another important factor to consider when marrying cloud with IT process automation is security. These days, it’s absolutely critical that businesses do their due diligence when managing sensitive, proprietary and confidential data to avoid a potential security breach. The nature of the cloud makes it inherently riskier than systems that are completely housed on premises. Provided that the IT process automation product that you choose is of good quality and integrates well with your existing systems, the security issue can be resolved, since it allows you to achieve the best of both worlds – keeping confidential information safely in-house while still leveraging the benefits of cloud technology.

Finally, if you’re going to be successful at leveraging both cloud and IT process automation, you must find a way to adjust your thinking (and that of your entire team) from the older, more opportunistic approach to one that is much more holistic. The old system of thought was that each department or function could use its own automation tool to make their job more efficient. The problem is, not only do you end up with way too many tools, but the end result is fragmented and inherently inefficient, ultimately defeating the purpose of automating altogether.

The only way to really bring the two pieces together successfully is to look at automation as a “big picture” solution – a tool that can and should become an interdepartmental bridge that creates a more systematic approach to operational efficiency. Rather than many individually beneficial tools, automation can be the one big problem solver that brings everything together and improves the business as a whole. As such, the IT process automation tool you select should be designed to work across all systems.

Cloud technology is most certainly the future of business success. So is IT process automation. Combining the two can provide your organization with the best of both worlds, but you have to first know what to look for if you’re going to piece together a system that will truly boost your business to the next level. By following the guidelines provided here, you’ll be poised to create an environment in which cloud and automation will help streamline your operations and catapult your business into success, both now and well into the future.

Ready to see how IT process automation can help your organization? Check out our free eBook on the 10 time-consuming tasks you should be automating and get started with a free 30 day trial today!





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




7 Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating IT Process Automation Tools

Evaluating IT Process Automation ToolsWhen it comes to IT operations, there’s no question that it is crucial for organizations to increase their efficiency. In fact, with the expected increase in complexity, service levels and performance, greater operational efficiency becomes not just an option, but a competitive necessity. IT process automation tools can help your IT operations become more efficient, thereby improving your organization’s bottom line.

This blog post explores 7 important questions to consider when evaluating IT Process Automation tools to achieve greater operational efficiency.

1. What are the integration points? Before choosing your ITPA tool, you should first verify that it will have touch points and triggers that integrate with your data center systems, including different OS, legacy systems, Integration with help desk such as ServiceNow, monitoring and management systems, etc. The more integrated the better.

2. What should be expected in terms of deployment effort? Evaluate how much time and effort will be required for deployment (setup, configuration, implementation, etc.). You want to make sure that the timeframe proposed works with your organizational needs, and also set expectations so that everyone is on the same page throughout the process and there are no unexpected surprises.

3. What is the required skill set for this particular ITPA tool? Part of the implementation process involves training and adapting to the new system. Before moving forward, you should understand what the estimated learning curve will be for generating automated workflows independently. You’ll also want to determine ahead of time if any scripting will be required.

4. Does this product feature out-of-the-box functionality? Many IT process automation systems provide ‘pre-canned’ templates for various commonly performed tasks. If the system you are considering offers this, the next step is to determine whether these generic templates can easily be tailored to fit your unique business environment and processes.

5. What level of human intervention is available? Even the simplest automated processes will require some type of human decision at some point during the process. The question to ask is whether you will be able to embed decision-making logic into workflows for remote decisions on process execution. This allows management to maintain control over the process from start to finish.

6. What kind of scheduling functionality does it feature? While some automated processes will be triggered by system events, others, such as repetitive tasks, will need to be scheduled. You’ll want to make sure the ITPA tool you select provides for full scheduling capability.

7. Does it take into account regulatory compliance? Meeting regulatory compliance requirements is a critical part of every organization’s success. When evaluating an IT process automation tools, be sure to find out whether it can help you with these initiatives. For instance, does the tool provide tracking of events, reports and knowledge management that will help the organization comply with regulations?

These are the 7 most important things to consider when evaluating an ITPA tool for your organization. Additionally, it’s also good practice to select an ITPA vendor that offers some type of support package and other resources that can help ensure a smooth transition and the ongoing success of the system. By asking these key questions and understanding what to look for, you will have a much better chance of selecting an IT process automation system that will be a perfect fit for your business and ensure project success.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Future of IT Process Automation Tools

Future of IT Process Automation ToolsMany enterprises across the globe are presently experiencing serious problems with their automation. While the purpose behind implementing an automation tool is a positive one, the result for many has been overcrowding and an increase in costly errors. Adopting some best practices and changing the way IT process automation is viewed can go a long way toward creating a more unified and productive infrastructure and pave the way for more enhanced automation products down the road.

IT Process Automation Challenges

Much of the problem lies in the way IT automation tools have been approached. With so many options available to them, individual departments sought solutions for their unique pain points. While these solutions may have helped within each of these departments, the result has been an overall negative one. This essentially created and cemented silos that had little to no inter-departmental communication and collaboration. Dozens or more fragmented “solutions” now exist throughout any given organization, very few of which are being integrated for optimization.

Another significant challenge is the fact that automation is fundamentally designed based on specific workflows. When one step in the process is missed, or a necessary input isn’t received, the desired result is not achieved. This can lead to errors which ultimately require human intervention, thereby defeating the purpose of leveraging automation in the first place.

Automation of the Future Must Be Better

To address these serious challenges that many enterprises are currently facing, or will be in the near future, more sophisticated solutions will be needed. Along with these enhanced IT process automation products, a number of best practices should be developed and implemented, as follows:

  • Establish roles within the IT department that are specific to automation. These roles may include naming someone the automation manager, an automation architect or an automation specialist. These individuals will be responsible for identifying the actual need and overseeing the ITPA tool selection process with the “big picture” in mind.
  • Identify what tasks, processes and workflows can and should be automated. This typically starts with scripts (PHP, Unix, Windows, Ruby on Rails, etc.). By compiling a list of what scripts are to be automated, it will be much easier to determine which tools would offer a more universal solution. This may also provide insight into which existing tools could be retired.
  • Look for IT process automation tools that are mature and offer more robust features as well as versatility to interface with other systems. Less mature products typically only address a small area of concern. This only further promotes the fragmented siloed atmosphere that is holding many organizations back. When it comes time to expand, the cost of doing so with a less-flexible tool will likely be significantly higher than what you’d have spent on a better quality solution in the first place.
  • Take the time to evaluate the features of each tool and its ability to integrate seamlessly with other platforms. Making a hasty decision could result in implementing multiple tools that actually compete with one another, rather than complement each other. The goal is to choose a solution that will be able to bridge and connect with other systems.

The reality is, there will likely never be one single overarching automation solution that will provide for all the needs of the organization. In fact, according to resent research, 75% of large enterprises are predicted to have more than four automation tools in operation within their IT management portfolios by the year 2017. This will represent an increase from 20% in 2014. The goal, therefore, will be to identify and implement high-level IT process automation tools that are capable of bridging the existing gaps and creating a more uniform infrastructure.





IT Process Automation Survival Guide




Ayehu Software Names Most Recent IT Process Automation Super Hero of the Month: Yaniv Shachar of Ness Technologies

Ayehu Software Names Most Recent IT Process Automation Super Hero of the Month: Yaniv Shachar of Ness TechnologiesAyehu Software Technologies Ltd, industry leading developer of enterprise-class IT process automation products has announced its most recent Super Hero of the Month award recipient. This month, the company has chosen Yaniv Shachar of Ness Technologies. Yaniv stood out amongst the other nominees for his use of automation to streamline workflows, saving his team valuable time and resources.

In his role as System Team Leader, Shachar noticed that his team was spending an inordinate amount of time managing workflows. Any time an automatic flow would be needed, the group would have to rely on scripts which often took hours to write and debug. For example, bulk SMS sends were done by calling a specific .EXE file using a batch script. Shachar recognized that all the time it took to do this and other similar activities could be better spent on more important tasks, so he set out to find a solution.

About two years ago, the eyeShare product was introduced to Shachar and his team. Where before, the group relied on Batch, KIX and VBS scripts for flow automation, they began using eyeShare to shift these labor-intensive tasks, allowing technology to do the heavy lifting. Since implementation, they have automated a number of daily workflows, including adding/removing users from AD group, bulk SMS sends and daily XML import/exports from one system interface to another. Their security information and event management (SIEM) system also leverages eyeShare to send SMS alerts to the administrative team.

According to Schachar, the results have been incredible.

“Our flow delivery has been streamlined and is much faster and easier than ever before. Some of our workflows have been created in just minutes – a far cry from the hours of painstaking work they used to take,” he comments. “Because workflow creation is faster, my team is saving time, which results in a marked increase in efficiency. Delivery quality has also improved, because logging is more detailed than before. We can now trace and find workflow bugs and fix them in real-time.”

Ayehu’s Super Hero of the Month award is given each month to someone in the IT industry that is using IT process automation to save time, improve efficiency and catapult their team and/or organization to the next level. Anyone who uses the eyeShare product is eligible to receive this coveted award.

About Ness Technologies

Ness Technologies is a global IT service provider, serving customers in more than 20 countries. Their extensive portfolio includes software product engineering, enterprise application and business services, software distribution, and much more. For more information, please visit the company website at www.ness.com.

About Ayehu

Ayehu Software Technologies Ltd. develops and markets eyeShare, a lightweight, enterprise-grade product for unified incident management. Deployed at major enterprises and supporting thousands of business users, Ayehu eyeShare helps IT professionals identify and resolve critical incidents up to 90 percent faster, minimizing their impact to the business and saving time for IT operations teams. For more information, please visit www.ayehu.com





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