5 More Habits of Highly Effective IT Departments & How IT Process Automation Plays a Role

5 More Habits of Highly Effective IT Departments & How IT Process Automation Plays a Role

Recently we shared 5 common characteristics of highly effective IT departments and the role that IT process automation plays in their success. In that vein, we thought we’d delve into a few more noteworthy habits that those who are mastering the IT realm exhibit. So, without further ado, here are 5 more things to model your IT department after.

Breaking down silos.

One of the biggest reasons IT professionals have struggled to maintain optimum service levels is the fact that so many organizational infrastructures remain fragmented. When each individual silo is operating on its own, cohesiveness within the systems is a near impossibility. Successful IT departments have found a way to break down these barriers and create a more streamlined, multi-channel and connected platform. IT process automation can be the bridge to effectively achieving this.

Taking a proactive approach.

It used to be sufficient to handle incoming threats and other IT issues as they arose. In today’s digital age, however, this is no longer effective enough to maintain security and remain competitive. Instead, IT personnel must take a more proactive approach to identifying potential problems before they occur and addressing them accordingly. Thanks to automation technology, this is completely possible.

Reducing interruption and downtime.

System down time of any length can be detrimental to an organization. Likewise, when end-users have to be interrupted in order for maintenance and other routine tasks to be performed, the drop in productivity and efficiency can affect the bottom line. IT departments who have adopted IT process automation, on the other hand, can ensure that these events are minimized and/or eliminated altogether.

More effective security strategies.

These days, data security is a concern that every business in the world must consider. Cyber-attacks are on the rise and becoming more sophisticated by the day, exposing the weaknesses of traditional security plans and policies and leaving organizations vulnerable to costly threats. Integrating IT process automation with existing incident response strategies can create a more fortified layer of data protection and help avoid these ever-increasing risks.

Ability to demonstrate real value.

While IT professionals understand how critical their services and the tools they use are to an organization, getting key decision makers on-board can be a challenge. In order to justify an adequate budgetary allocation, IT leaders must find a way to communicate their worth. IT process automation provides the ability to quantify results and prove ROI, demonstrating to “the powers that be” how invaluable investment in this area of the business truly can be.

In an industry for which the demand to do more with less continues to rise, adopting the right habits can truly mean the difference between an IT department that simply exists and one that thrives through ongoing success. These five additional characteristics can help transform your IT group into a highly effective, agile team that continues to realize positive results.

Could IT process automation be the missing link for your IT department? Download your free trial today and see what you’re missing!

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

Five IT Service Management Operations you Should Automate Today

Five IT Service Management Operations you Should Automate TodayWhen it comes to IT service management automation, there are some things that are a must, particularly in terms of implementation. In order for your organization to realize the maximum benefits, the following 5 components should be present and accounted for.

Configuration Management & Service Asset

For IT service management automation to run most effectively, integration with the AMDB and CMDB are among the most critical. Automation can take care of keeping CMDB current and consistently up to date. Successful automation can also lead to a greater level of accuracy.

Actionable Service Catalog

An organization’s service catalog contains an organized list of any and all information and business technology-related services performed by said enterprise. Furthermore, an actionable service catalog provides the ability for end-users to request services on-demand as well as perform self-service tasks. ITSM automation can help enhance this feature, benefiting both the user as well as the IT department.

Change Management

ITIL should be closely aligned with a company’s change management strategy. Given the importance of a solid policy for managing change, IT service management automation should support any and all change initiatives, not hinder them. Change tickets can and should be opened via automation and should also accompany the approval process to ensure proper compliance.

IT Financial Management

Establishing a cohesive integration between IT service management automation and IT financial management is no longer just an option. It’s a necessity. Successfully achieving this will enable portfolio owners or service providers to maximize output and match growing demand. It also provides a number of practical benefits from a logistics standpoint, such as simpler reporting.

CSI & Service Reporting

Perhaps the most important factor to keep in mind is that automation is not something that you simply roll-out once and forget about. To the contrary, it is most effective and successful when it is implemented in different phases and executed on an incremental basis. IT service management automation tools must be adequately integrated in order to enable service managers to track and govern the automation process.

Other necessities for the IT service management automation process include automated service reporting, accurate fulfillment of automation requests, speed, agility, scalability and sustainability.

Are you accounting for all of these critical components in your IT service management automation strategy?

Could you use some expert guidance or a more sophisticated tool to maximize your ROI? Give us a call at 1-800-652-5601 or better yet, download your free product trial today.

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

5 Habits of Highly Effective IT Departments & How IT Process Automation Plays a Role

5 Habits of Highly Effective IT Departments & How IT Process Automation Plays a RoleWe frequently talk about how IT process automation can dramatically improve IT operations, but this is really only one piece of the puzzle. It’s not enough to simply adopt ITPA. To truly achieve optimum efficiency, productivity and performance, it’s equally important that the staff at the helm exhibits certain characteristics. In part one of a two-part blog series we’ve identified 5 common habits of highly effective IT departments that other organizations can model their operations after.

Identifying and leveraging emerging technology trends.

Perhaps there is no field in which this skill is more valuable than in the IT industry, where technology evolves and improves at a lightning rate. The ability to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s new and then converting that knowledge into action for the benefit of the business is key. This is particularly the case in terms of IT process automation, which is improving and becoming more sophisticated by the day and can be invaluable to the business if used properly.

A solid understanding of big-picture business objectives.

One of the most frustrating obstacles IT personnel face is that of convincing the powers-that-be of the importance and benefits surrounding various technologies, including IT process automation. Because decision makers often don’t have any direct interaction with these types of tools or services, the best way to sell them is to demonstrate how they tie in with the organization’s big-picture goals. Therefore, having IT professionals who understand these objectives is essential.

Embracing change.

Rather than worrying that cloud and IT process automation technologies will make IT jobs obsolete, highly effective IT professionals have the ability to take a more comprehensive outlook. Instead of resisting the changes that are inevitable, these highly effective individuals and departments recognize the benefits and learn to embrace them, putting them to work for their organizations.

Seeing the value in self-service options.

Insecure IT professionals might view the implementation of self-service options as a threat to their jobs. Highly successful individuals, however, will view this type of IT process automation as a way to eliminate their menial day to day tasks and free them up to focus on more important things. They also see user self-service as an opportunity to further their own professional skills, which makes these forward-thinking IT workers much more valuable to the company as a whole.

Focusing on projects which impact the company’s bottom line.

Another reason why the ability to see and understand the big-picture business goals is because this allows IT professionals to focus their efforts in a more strategic manner. Rather than just participating in the daily drudgery of work, highly effective IT personnel will target projects that are specifically designed to either increase revenue, reduce costs or both.

The bottom line is, not all IT departments are created equal. Incorporating professionals that have the above habits and characteristics can mean the difference between barely getting by and helping your organization thrive on continued success.

Stay tuned for the second part of this blog series in which we’ll be sharing five more such habits and how IT process automation plays a role. And, in the meantime, enjoy some of our free eBooks and other valuable resources.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

Leveraging Robotic Process Automation to Attract, Retain and Motivate Your Staff

Getting a Leg Up on the Competition with Robotic Process AutomationLike it or not, most jobs include a number of tasks that are repetitive, mundane and not very enjoyable. In years past, these tasks were a necessary evil, but today – thanks to the more widespread adoption of robotic process automation technology – these menial day-to-day functions are being eliminated. As a result, companies that have embraced and implemented RPA are finding that it’s giving them a competitive advantage, particularly in terms of attracting and retaining top talent.

Firstly, by taking away the need for human workers to conduct mundane tasks, you free them up to focus on things that they find interesting and engaging. For instance, some of your employees might prefer interacting with customers or applying their problem solving skills to resolve important business issues. With robotic process automation handling the busy work, those team members can focus on what they’re passionate about. This drives morale levels up and naturally improves productivity.

Another way RPA can bolster HR efforts is a reduction in sick time. While it’s normal to expect employees to take time off when they’re not feeling well, in some organizations, these numbers are higher due in large part to the nature of the work being performed. Being on duty for longer hours and/or having to meet increasing demands to produce a greater output can easily lead to a rise in employee illness and burnout. Robotic process automation removes this barrier.

There is also a significant cost savings to the business itself when the need for overtime and hiring temporary employees is eliminated. As a result, the monies that would have been earmarked for these expenses can then be put toward hiring and engaging highly skilled personnel. Being able to pay competitive rates can further help a business attract the type of employees that will further improve performance and growth.

The technology behind robotic process automation can often be enough of a selling point for a potential candidate for employment. With the Millennial generation poised to take over the workforce over the next several years, tech-savvy applicants will be looking for prospective employers that can offer them the best working environment. RPA can be the differentiator that makes one organization stand out amongst the rest.

Finally, as a result of all of these benefits, employees that are more satisfied and engaged thanks to robotic process automation will tend to be happier and perform better overall. This can naturally lead to improved service levels, both internally as well as externally with customers.

Are you doing enough to attract, retain and engage highly talented individuals to your company?

Could robotic process automation give you better results?

Check out these ten tasks you can start automating today and then download your free 30 day trial to get started.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

5 Cyber Security Incident Response Risks and How to Avoid them Using Automation

5 Cyber Security Incident Response Risks and How to avoid them Using AutomationWhen it comes to the topic of cyber-security, or more specifically, the risks all organizations face against would-be criminals attempting to access sensitive data, there are certain emerging patterns to be aware of. Knowing ahead of time what to watch for and which tools can help reduce your company’s vulnerability is essential to staying a step ahead of these attacks. That being said, let’s examine 5 trends that should be at the top of your IT department’s list of priorities as well as how automation can fortify your cyber security incident response plan.

Not If, But When

First things first, to successfully protect your organization from the risk of a cyber-attack, you must first acknowledge that not only could a breach occur, but that it most likely will. It’s really just a matter of time. As more and more attacks are launched and are becoming increasingly complex, cyber security incident response is no longer a luxury but an absolute necessity, regardless of the size or industry of your business. Having a good offense is always the best defense.

Humans are the Weakest Link 

When we think of security breaches on a corporate level, we tend to envision sophisticated hacking programs working behind the scenes to access data. The truth is, a good majority of successful cyber-attacks occur not through programs and systems, but through the very people who work within the company. Phishing through email and social networks is on the rise, which is why training employees to know what to watch for and avoid should be an essential component of any cyber security incident response plan.

False, Traceable Data Can Help

One thing cyber criminals do is attempt to access internal information with the hopes that the data breach includes valuable material (such as personal identities or financial/proprietary information). Unfortunately for them, determining which content is useful isn’t always so easy. You can beat them at their own game by including false, traceable data in the mix and incorporating automation into your cyber security incident response process. When a hacker attempts to access/analyze the phony data, instant notification will help you identify and address the threat.

Third-Parties Increase Risk

With more and more businesses collaborating with one another and leveraging third-party vendors for assistance with a wide variety of tasks, it’s no surprise that security risks are on the rise. Many of the recent cyber-attacks reported occurred when hackers accessed sensitive information not directly from the source, but rather via a more vulnerable external partner. To avoid this, corporations should be proactively working with any and all other businesses with which they are sharing information to establish best practices and ensure a successful cyber security incident response strategy that covers all angles.

New Technologies = New Risks

Finally, with emerging technologies being introduced and adopted globally on a daily basis, cyber criminals are ramping up their efforts to exploit the new and unknown risks associated with such changes. To achieve the benefits associated with new tech, such as the internet of things, an organization’s cyber security plan absolutely must include tools – like automation – that will help to quickly and accurately pinpoint any would-be attacks so they can be immediately and effectively addressed, mitigating risk.

Could your enterprise use a more secure strategy for staving off cyber-attacks? Download your free trial of eyeShare to see how automation can bridge the gap and create a more solid, secure infrastructure for your business.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

3 Reasons Your Cyber Security Incident Response Plan Isn’t Working (and How to Fix It)

3 Reasons Your Cyber Security Incident Response Plan Isn’t Working (and How to Fix ItThese days it’s becoming increasingly evident that businesses of every shape, size and industry must develop effective cyber security incident response plans in order to avoid becoming a victim of online data breaches. Otherwise, they risk being the next brand in the news who allowed their customers’ sensitive information to be compromised. You may already have such a plan in place for your own company, but are you certain it’s truly as effective as it can (and should) be?

Let’s take a look at 3 common reasons your cyber security incident response plan may not be working, and how you can fix it before it’s too late.

Manual Processes

Handling any part of the incoming alert process can not only dramatically decrease your IT team’s productivity, but it also leaves the door wide open for a potential breach. In fact, even if you have an alert management system in place, without the proper tool to close the loop, your company is still at risk. What you need is a comprehensive system that involves adequate alert processing and leverages automation to properly assess, prioritize and assign legitimate threats accordingly.

Limited Resources

Even the best-staffed IT department cannot realistically handle the growing number of threats that are popping up at an alarming rate. That’s not even taking into account the increasing complexity of these threats. Even one missed alert could spell imminent disaster for your firm. If your cyber security incident response strategy does not contain a robust automation component, you’re not nearly as safe as you may think.

Silo’d Processes

If your infrastructure is made up of a number of separate systems, the risk of a cyber-attack increases tenfold. That’s because creating a solid defense in one area doesn’t necessarily translate to other key areas. Additionally, organizations in which departments exist in silos typically don’t have any type of best practices in place for dealing with an incoming threat in the most effective and timely manner possible.

To combat these common issues, one must take a more holistic approach to cyber security incident response – a view that encompasses every part of the organization. From there, silos must be broken down and a more uniform infrastructure put in place. Finally, automation should be implemented to bring all of this together.

Is your sensitive data as secure as it could be? Don’t risk it!

Download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare today and start putting the power of IT process automation to work for your cyber security incident response.

eBook: 5 Reasons You Should Automate Cyber Security Incident Response

Why Automation is a Must for IT Operations

Why Automation is a Must for IT OperationsIT process automation is certainly nothing new. In fact, it’s been somewhat of a buzzword for the past 5-10 years or so, maybe longer. Yet, despite the widespread acknowledgement that automation is virtually revolutionizing the business world, there are still some organizations that have not yet adopted the powerful tool. If you happen to fall into this category, we’d like to share some compelling reasons why your IT operations should start automating today.

Two things IT professionals are dealing with on a day to day basis are the demands on them to offer more support on fewer resources and the increasing complexity of the technologies around them. Each of these challenges causes talented personnel to struggle. Simply put, humans are beginning to fall behind. As a result, costly mistakes are made, customer satisfaction (both internal and external) is dropping and the competitive landscape is becoming even fiercer.

Automation is specifically designed to help alleviate much of the pressure that IT operations groups are currently experiencing. First, routine tasks, like password resets and system restarts, can be shifted from workers to machines. These tasks are then completed faster and are virtually error-free. Meanwhile, personnel are freed up to focus on other business-critical activities, like further developing their skills and handling higher-level items that cannot be automated.

A more efficient and productive workforce translates to smoother IT operations all around. It also means a much greater output of work and enhanced services since technology is now doing all the heavy lifting. Naturally, this leads to a higher level of customer satisfaction, regardless of whether those customers happen to be internal workers in other departments or external clientele who depend on the organization.

Another important benefit of automation is that it helps to make IT operations more responsive to change. There’s no question that we’re living in an ever-evolving world where technology is advancing quicker than we even realize. The ability to scale and adapt is absolutely critical, particularly in IT. A slow evolution simply won’t cut it, especially in a field that is so hyper-competitive. Automation allows for agility, which is essential to an organization’s ongoing success.

As the demands on IT operations continue to grow and become more complex, there will be an even greater need for automation. Only those organizations that are forward thinking enough to adopt these innovative technological tools will remain competitive and continue to achieve their business objectives. Where will your company stand? Will you come out on top or get left behind? Start automating today and position your firm as a front-runner of the future.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

IT Process Automation is Awesome…But Not for Everyone

IT Process Automation is Awesome…But Not for EveryoneOn a daily basis, organizations around the globe are learning just how valuable IT process automation can be. But it’s not necessarily for everyone – at least on such a large scale. Determining which tasks and workflows to automate is the first step in the process of figuring out how much, if any, ITPA is right for your business.

First and foremost, while IT process automation can be great even for smaller sized companies, those with fewer than 5 VMs may find the benefits not worth the expense. Of course, there are probably still plenty of tasks that you can (and should) automate, such as routine checks, updates and backups. For best results, list out what items could be left to technology and then weigh your options. If you find the right product that suits your budget, even if your organization is smaller, it could work.

Businesses that feature 50 to 100 VMs will likely reap greater rewards from IT process automation, since templates, building and operating systems deployment can all be automated. If you do plan on leveraging an automation tool for VM management, the sooner the better. Ideally, having all VMs built using the same automation will make the entire process easier going forward. Checks and backups can also be handled by technology.

Where IT process automation really pays off, however, is in larger organizations. Not only can the things mentioned previously be automated, but at this scale, businesses can also begin using self-service options. Additionally, backup scripts and health checks can be married with configuration and compliance checks so that they can be automatically run. Manual review and high-level human oversight can bring everything together.

Finally, for businesses at the enterprise level where hundreds of visualization hosts exist, along with thousands of VMs, IT process automation isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. Otherwise, costs will get out of control. Key areas where ITPA is a must include the host building and provisioning processes as well as storage provisioning. Ongoing checks to ensure everything is working properly should also be handled by the automation tool. Again, human intervention will still be needed, but automation should handle the brunt of the activities.

Automation is a powerful and highly effective tool for organizations of all shapes and sizes, but the concept of simply automating everything doesn’t always make the best business sense. There must be a comprehensive needs assessment conducted and a clear understanding of the costs and benefits of implementing ITPA must be achieved prior to moving forward.

Not sure if IT process automation is right for your company? We can help! Contact us today to get started.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

5 Tips for Choosing the Right Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Product

You may already be aware of the many benefits robotic process automation can have for businesses, both large and small and across any number of industries. Figuring out which product is right for your particular company is a whole different ballgame. To help you make a more informed decision and ensure that you end up with the RPA product that best suits your needs, here are 5 things to keep in mind.

1. Ease of Use

First and foremost, you want a robotic process automation product that will be easy and efficient for your employees to use it. Otherwise, you’re defeating the purpose of implementing RPA in the first place. Look for a software provider that has experience in the RPA realm and offers either a demo and/or free trial period.

2. Core Developer Capabilities

A good RPA product essentially runs complex codes behind the scenes. That product should provide back-end developers with the following core competencies:

  • Ability to integrate seamlessly with other major software platforms
  • Out-of-the-box functionality
  • Extensive range of supported inputs and outputs (i.e. email, text, xls files, etc.)
  • Software provider support

3. Scalability

One of the key benefits of robotic process automation is the ability it provides an organization to effectively adapt to the changing needs of their workforce on a whim. To that end, you should look for a product that has the capability to scale up when demand calls for increased output and back down again as those needs wane.

4. Analytics

Another advantage of a good RPA product is the ability to collect, organize and analyze workflow metrics to identify areas where improvements can and should be implemented. This essentially allows an organization to truly optimize operational efficiency.

5. Multi-Faceted

Finally, a quality robotic process automation product should be functional on both the end-user side as well as the technical side. As an organization, you may decide that one of these two areas is more important than the other and adapt your evaluation accordingly, but both sides should always be part of the selection process.

Ultimately, your decision as to which robotic process automation product is right for you will also depend on many specific circumstances that may be unique to your business. The five criteria above, however, should at least provide you with a starting point from which to build.

Want to learn more about robotic process automation and how you can put it to use in your organization? Click here or download your free trial today to get started.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

Using eyeShare IT Process Automation to Create Self-Service Portal Workflows

Over the past several years, Ayehu’s eyeShare IT process automation tool has helped countless businesses – both large and small – streamline operations and optimize efficiency levels. We’re excited to announce that eyeShare now features a convenient, easy-to-use “Self-Service” center, making the platform even more beneficial to organizations across the globe.

Simply put, the eyeShare Self-Service Portal feature allows end-users to trigger designated workflows without accessing the eyeShare studio or sending an email. Using a simple web-browser, the end-user may simply select the desired workflow to activate, enter the appropriate information into the required fields and submit. It’s that simple! Let’s take a closer look at how this process works, step by step.

First, let’s create a user in Active Directory for use in the Self-Service portal workflow. To do this, go to the Workflow section next to the Active Directory folder and select “New.” This will open a workflow designer window. In order to create a new user, you’ll need to generate a temporary password. Do this by clicking on “Tools”, choosing “Memory & Functions” and dragging over the “Generate Password” action. Be sure to double click on it to ensure the password adheres to the system requirements.

Next, you’ll need to drag the “Create Active Directory” function over. Double click and enter the data for your new account. Now, follow the steps below:

  • Enter the OU
  • Select the active directory server
  • Input first and last name
  • Input login name
  • Select the recently created password by typing in “generatepassword.password”
  • Enter email address
  • Check the text box to change the password at next login

The next step in the process involves taking care of two potential scenarios with a condition for successful and unsuccessful (or failed) user creation. For successful user creation, the goal is to show the status to the end-user via the self-service response action. In cases in which a user wasn’t created correctly, the response should include the error message received from the active directory server.

When you’re finished inputting each message, click “Save” at the top to save your workflow. Here you can enter your workflow name and also include a description.

Now, let’s delve into how to create a self-service interface using the self-service portal designer feature. First, go to “Self Service” near the “User Management” folder and click “New.” Enter the title of the self-service and select the workflow you just created. Now, click “Generate Blocks,” which loads all the variables exposed during the self-service workflow. Here you can choose between the options of text box, label or combo-box. Once this section is complete you can click “Ok” to create your first self-service workflow.

IT Process Automation Self Service portalFinally, let’s move on to the self-service portal web page. Log in using your eyeShare or active directory credentials. Here you will be able to view all the self-service options that have been completed and are available for use. For instance, you may have created a “New Employee On-Boarding” workflow, which will include whatever parameters and variables you’ve chosen for that particular process. Once these fields are filled out and “submit” is pressed, the request triggers the appropriate workflow in eyeShare with a confirmation sent upon completion.

The self-service portal is also available for use on any smartphone or other mobile device.

For more information on this feature, click here or watch our video tutorial to see it in action.

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