5 Tips for Improving Your IT Automation Return on Investment (ROI)

5 Tips for Improving Your IT Automation Return on Investment (ROI)Even though  IT process automation has presented itself as a tremendous benefit for organizations of just about every shape, size and industry, there are still many decision makers that fail to recognize the value this technology can have for their own enterprises. In order to demonstrate how important automation is for the future of business, IT managers must find a way to improve ROI and demonstrate those benefits to the powers that be. Here are 5 tips for getting those ROI numbers to tip in the right direction.

Clearly Define Needs, Benefits and Expectations

Simply put, you cannot focus on improving anything – whether it’s efficiency through automation or the actual ROI it offers – unless everyone understands what to expect. Time should be taken to identify and define the specific needs of the organization, and then specify how automation can solve those problems and meet those needs. Once this information is gathered, you can then more accurately measure all of the specific areas where automation is producing a solid return and how. Factors to measure include effort reduction, mean-time-to-resolution (MTTR), lowered rate of error, compliance and system uptime. Improving each of these things will directly boost ROI.

Understand the Process and Where IT Automation Fits

The driving purpose behind process automation is to use technology to replicate repetitive, manual tasks. To improve automation ROI, one must dig much deeper than this basic concept to understand the entire process at hand and identify exactly how automation can be integrated for optimum results. Important questions to ask in this analysis include: What factors should trigger an automated process? What must occur before and after the automated process? What variables and inputs will be necessary to achieve the best outcome? Most importantly, how does automation fit with the big picture – the larger business process as a whole? While individual tasks could certainly be automated, automating the entire process may actually produce a greater value for the business.

Recognize the Context and Customize Accordingly

Capturing true ROI involves understanding the specific context in which the automated process in question is running and customizing that process for optimum results. For instance, the automated response to a critical incident, such a systems outage, during peak business hours should be markedly different than the response to a similar outage that occurs in the middle of the night. These contextual considerations should be built into the automation process and they should also be considered whenever measuring results. By customizing the process, the automation can execute different actions based on each scenario, thereby producing enhanced ROI.

Comprehensive Testing Prior to Release

Testing an automated process manually or in a development system can certainly be time consuming, but it’s absolutely critical to achieving optimum ROI. Before an automated process is rolled out into the live environment, it must be adequately measured to ensure that it is producing the desired results consistently and successfully. Once the automated process is released, ongoing testing is still highly recommended, as this helps to ensure that the triggers, inputs, actions and outputs are all running as smoothly and efficiently as possible. Routine audits can also help to identify areas that could be improved for even greater benefit.

Ongoing Evaluation and Improvement

IT Automation may feel like a “set it and forget it” solution, but those organizations that reap the greatest rewards from this technology do so by taking a continuous improvement approach. Regular evaluation of how automated process are working and analysis of where they may be expanded to produce even better results is a must if you are looking to improve your ROI. IT professionals should be asking whether additional tasks could be automated, or whether existing automated processes could be integrated with one another or built upon for greater efficiency.

Individually, each of these 5 tips can have an impact on your overall ROI. When combined, however, they can help to improve both short-term goals as well as drive long-term strategies to produce the desired results of reducing human effort, improving operational efficiency, boosting service levels, reducing errors and downtime, remaining compliant and much more. The end product is a consistently favorable return on investment, which can help to win over those who are not yet on board with automation.


How to Measure ROI for IT Process Automation project

You frequently read about the benefits of IT process automation. Articles mention hard benefits such as saving time on manual tasks, faster MTTR and also soft benefits like complying with regulations, enforcing procedures.

But to convince your management to make such an investment, you need to show ROI with concrete numbers – numbers that will specifically refer to your own operations and that can demonstrate the bottom-line value delivered by the investment.  So here’s something to get you started.

First, a disclaimer: It’s not practical to cover the details of ROI measurement in a blog post, so this will only be an appetizer.

Quantified ROI Drivers for IT Process Automation:

There are different drivers from which hard value arrives with IT automation (for now, we’ll ignore soft benefits).  Briefly, these include:

  • Mean time to resolution (MTTR) is a standard measure for how quickly the IT organization is able to respond and resolve of business service or application.  Minimizing MTTR is critical to avoid service interruptions and meeting SLA’s. 80% of the time related to MTTR is spent on identifying the problem, troubleshooting, and finding the people who should fix that problem.
  • Reduce Downtime. Calculating the cost of downtime and data loss is not a simple exercise. Some effects are more easily quantifiable than others. Still, the exercise is essential because it’s the cornerstone of the business case. To calculate the cost of downtime determine the following for each business process:  revenue losses, productivity losses, impact to customers, penalties etc..
  • Operation Costs Reduction. Manual, repetitive daily maintenance and routine IT tasks, scripting and coding, maintaining complex and expensive management tools.

 Calculating Saved Time ROI from Task Automation:

Begin with calculating the total number of tasks that takes 0-30min, 30-60min and tasks that take over an hour, the average time of each task dealt by level 1/level2 and the cost per hour of each level of staff.

It is not uncommon for a NOC to be generating thousands of alerts a day. Assuming 50 of these are physically dealt with manual operators every day and the end-to-end manual process of creating, updating and acknowledging.  These alerts and events each take an average of 20 minutes to complete, this translates to a daily savings of POTENTIAL COST SAVINGS: 0.33 * $50 * 50 = $825 or $301,125 annually.

Download this eBook How to Measure IT Process Automation Return on Investment (ROI) to learn how to increase the ROI from IT Process Automation projects by implementing a well-defined processes and deployment plan to better and efficient IT operations.

Five Steps to a Quick Return on Your IT Process Automation Project Investment

The faster you can identify and measure ROI on your IT Process Automation project, the better.

Five Steps to a Quick Return on Your IT Process Automation Project InvestmentHere are 5 simple ways to quickly identify and quantify results.

The most important component of any business decision, particularly in terms of IT, is being able to measure the results as quickly as possible. Ongoing success depends heavily on whether or not the money you’re spending is truly getting you the type of return that warrants continued investment; otherwise you may end up wasting cash and resources. Obviously, the sooner you can identify what is and isn’t working, the better. If you’ve recently launched an IT Process Automation project, or are about to do so soon, here are five simple ways you can quickly identify results.

1.       Identify Quick Wins or pain points that can show quick value – What was it that ultimately drove you to make the decision to adopt IT Process Automation for your organization? What pain points were you hoping to address with this technology? Perhaps you identified areas where your team was being bogged down by time-consuming manual tasks, which was killing their productivity. Or maybe you realized that writing scripts was becoming a huge waste of valuable time and resources. Whatever the reasons, when you clearly identify them, you can quickly match the appropriate solution with each one, making it much easier to see the results.

2.       Clearly Define Your Outcomes – Know ahead of time what your desired outcomes are and how you can anticipate achieving them. Then, calculate the potential savings you will realize by automating these steps. This gives you a clear picture of future savings and ROI that you can use as a benchmark to measure against as you work further into the process of shifting to automation.

3.        Choose the Right Tool – Understand that not all IT Process Automation tools are created equal. Be careful and diligent when evaluating your available options and know ahead of time what to look for in a quality IT Process Automation tool. For instance, some of the criteria you should be using includes determining whether the product is easy to use, modular, offers any type of pre-designed templates, and if so, what kind of customization is available. You should also be particularly aware of the 80/20 rule – that is, avoid tools that require 80% of your time, but that you will only benefit from 20% of the time.

4.       Get the Right Sponsorship and team engaged in the process– Make sure that you’ve got the right team in place to help see this process through to fruition. Not only do you need buy-in from the “decision makers” and those high level team members that will lead the project, but you’ll also need to ensure that everyone involved remains focused and motivated to achieve the end result. This will help you stick to your timeline for implementation, avoiding costly delays that can affect your overall ROI.

5.       Measure Results of this project and Identify Other Areas for ExpansionIT Process Automation isn’t something that only presents solutions for the here and now – it’s a long term solution that can help streamline your operations, improving ongoing efficiency and productivity, and enhancing your bottom line over the long haul. Don’t just focus on the short term benefits. Measure results on a regular basis. This will help you determine your long term ROI as well as identify other areas for expansion that could further benefit your firm.


Webinar invitation- How to calculate return on investment (ROI) of IT process automation project

How to Calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) of IT Process Automation ProjectAyehu invites you to a Webinar

How to Calculate the Return on Investment (ROI) of IT Process Automation Project

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 11:00am EDT / 8:00am PDT/ 16:00PM GMT

Gartner predicts that by 2015, the use of automation in IT services could result in the elimination of up to 25% of IT labor hours.  That’s an extraordinary savings on a macro level, but how does an enterprise calculate the ROI of IT process automation (ITPA) on a micro level, in its own operations center?

Ayehu has put together a resource guide explaining how to calculate various ROI metrics associated with the deployment of IT process automation.  The guide includes specific formulas for calculating savings from:

  • Task Automation
  • Downtime Reduction
  • Improvement of MTTR (Mean Time to Resolution)

Looking forward to seeing you!

 How to Calculate the ROI of IT Process Automation Webinar

IT Process Automation Engineer wanted – 5 skills needed

How to Be More Proactive with Your Cyber Security Incident ResponseEveryone 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 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 IT process 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 IT Process 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 IT process automation engineer needs? Here are 5 of the top ones in our view.

  1. Business perspective. A business/financial state of mind that enables considering and applying 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 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. IT Project management. Skilled project manager who can not only oversee and monitor projects, but also identify business users’ needs and translate them into IT requirements. IT engineers that can clearly justify how a business may increase its staff productivity and efficiency using different processes and tools.
  4. Process Implementation. The new IT process automation engineer has to be able to understand end-to-end processes, have a wide 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 interpersonal skills – the ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of people outside the IT domain, understanding business peoples’ needs, concerns and different point of view, and that rare ability to negotiate and make compromises – on both sides.

What are the skills you think are required from IT Process Automation engineers?

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate