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Want better self-service IT adoption? Try these 4 tips.

Many individuals (and even entire teams) mistakenly believe that self-service IT is something that threatens their livelihood. To the contrary, providing employees the control over their technology usage can make the job of IT much easier and more efficient. In other words, it’s a good thing, not something to fear and resist. So, how can a forward-thinking professional convince the powers-that-be that adopting intelligent automation is a step in the right direction?

Focus on the needs of the end-user.

The first part of the process involves identifying what needs end-users face that the IT department is responsible for fulfilling. This could include everything from simple password resets to entire user setups for new employees. As these needs are identified, they should be built out into what’s known as a self-service IT portfolio. The second part of the process involves determining the actions required in order to deliver these services. This will make up the service catalog.

Standardize and assign value.

With self-service automation, it’s important to ensure that any and all services and workflows being automated are as standardized as possible. Otherwise, you could end up automating broken processes, which will not only not help but could actually harm your overall business operations. It’s also important to assign a clear price/performance to each item in your service portfolio and catalog. This provides insight into the true value of the self-service IT activities.

Sell the benefits to each group.

If you want everyone – from the end-users to the IT team – to jump on the intelligent automation bandwagon, you have to demonstrate the actual benefits each group will achieve as a result. For instance, show employees how much more quickly they can get their needs taken care of without having to rely on someone from the help desk. At the same time, show IT personnel the time and effort they’ll be saving by eliminating these routine, repetitive tasks from their workload.

Start small and work from there.

You can’t expect a huge change such as self-service IT adoption to happen overnight. The process will take time and involve researching various automation platforms to determine which one best suits the particular needs of your business and then testing that tool before rolling out a full implementation. Start by automating one small area, such as password resets, and then work from there. Your service portfolio and catalog can provide the blueprint of what areas to automate in which order.

If you’re thinking of adopting intelligent automation to create a more consumer-style, self-service IT environment for your employees, it’s important to recognize that these things take time. Following the steps listed above can make the process go much more smoothly and help achieve the buy-in and support needed from others across the organization.

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eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

5 Mistakes to Avoid with Self-Service Automation

Self-service automation is becoming more of the norm rather than the exception. In fact, a recent survey by SDI found that 61% of businesses were focusing on some type of self-service initiative (up from 47% in 2015). And it’s not only for making your customers’ lives easier. Many organizations are realizing the benefits of providing self-service options to employees to eliminate the need for many of the common issues plaguing the help desk, such as password resets and system refreshes. If you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, here are a few common mistakes you should actively avoid.

Inadequate Communication – If you want your employees to adopt and embrace self-service technology, you have to ensure that they understand its many benefits. This is particularly important for your IT team, some of whom may feel uneasy or even threatened by the thought of automated technology handling some of their tasks. Gain acceptance and buy-in by communicating how self-service options will actually make the lives and jobs of everyone easier and more efficient.

Lack of Knowledge – What types of activities can you – and more importantly – should you be transitioning over to self-service? Many otherwise savvy IT decision makers rush into self-service implementation before they truly have a good understanding of what tasks are most beneficial to automate. Take time to learn about what your IT team is bogged down by and also what areas the end-user might not only benefit from, but actually appreciate the ability to handle things on their own.

Not Choosing a Tool Carefully – Not all self-service automation platforms are created equal and if you don’t carefully and thoroughly do your homework, you could end up with a less-than-ideal result. Not only does implementing a faulty tool mean more headaches for your IT department, but the frustration of everyone who has to use it will ultimately lead to disengagement, resistance and/or complete lack of adoption. Make sure the platform you choose is robust, user-friendly and versatile enough to handle both full and semi-automation needs.

Setting and Forgetting It – Like anything else in technology, self-service automation isn’t something that you can simply put in place and never think about again. Not only is it important to keep up to date from a tech standpoint, but it’s equally important to ensure that the system you have in place remains as effective as possible. Conducting regular audits of both the IT department and the end-users can help you determine whether new tasks could be automated or if existing ones could use some tweaking.

Forgetting the Intangibles – Last but not least, maintaining an environment in which self-service automation is embraced and celebrated involves regular assessment and selling of the many benefits this technology provides. When calculating ROI, don’t forget to also consider the intangible ways self-service is good for your organization, particularly how it allows IT to improve its meaningful contribution to the organization. That is a value that can and should be recognized across the board.

What could self-service automation do for your company? Why not find out today by starting your free 30 day trial of Ayehu. No obligation, just enhanced efficiency and better overall operations. Get your free trial now by clicking here!

Could Self-Service Automation Be Your Saving Grace?

Self-service automation has become quite the buzzword amongst IT professionals, and for good reason. Simply put, this intelligent technology is revolutionizing the way organizations operate and dramatically improving the way employees perform their jobs. There are a great number of benefits to self-service automation, including helping the IT department save time and money while also empowering end-users to resolve their issues instantly, without the need to involve the helpdesk. As such, productivity and efficiency levels rise across the board.

But what, exactly, is self-service automation? Well, in the most basic of terms, this type of automation allows non-IT workers to proactively perform routine, repetitive and ad-hoc processes. These tasks could involve anything from new-user onboarding and generating reports to resetting passwords and performing system restarts. Previously, employees had to rely on IT each time one of these functions needed to be executed, which resulted in unnecessary delays, subsequent dips in productivity and, of course, frustration on the part of both parties.

With self-service automation in place, IT can establish a library of automated tasks, processes and workflows that can be easily implemented by the end-user community without the assistance of the tech team. By shifting these routine but necessary tasks to the end-user, IT personnel is then freed up to focus time, effort and resources on more critical business matters. Likewise, by eliminating the need for helpdesk involvement, employees are able to get their issues resolved faster, which reduces delays and promotes a greater degree of productivity.

Some folks in the IT realm are still on the fence about this technology, fearing it will ultimately make their jobs obsolete. In reality, while automation will indeed replace at least a portion of tasks and possibly eliminate some lower-tiered roles altogether, it will also create new opportunities for those in IT to further their skills and education, making them more valuable as an employee in the long run. Thus, self-service automation shouldn’t be viewed as a threat, but rather as a tool to make life better for everyone.

Self-service is also addressing the skills gap that currently exists in IT. Whether it’s a smaller to mid-sized company that can’t afford to keep a large IT department on staff due to budget restraints or a larger enterprise that simply cannot keep up with the increasing demand that is stretching even the most well-staffed IT department too thin. Taking those smaller, menial tasks off the plate of the tech team provides for a better allocation of resources.

Are you reaping the many benefits of self-service automation for your company? If not, the time to start doing so is now. Click here to launch your free trial of Ayehu’s automation platform today.

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The Consumerization of IT through Intelligent Self-Service Automation

Gartner defines the term consumerization as “the specific impact that consumer-originated technologies can have on enterprises. It reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise IT sector”. One area of technology that is dramatically changing the face of the modern workplace is that of intelligent self-service automation. Here’s how.

In the past, for most organizations, the IT department was like an island. Any and all IT functions were managed and controlled exclusively within that group. With the introduction and more wide-spread adoption of self-service automation, however, the onus has markedly shifted. Today’s end-users are much more comfortable handling their own devices and applications, and many prefer the autonomy to be able to manage their needs on their own, without the assistance of IT.

Today’s self-service options allow the end-user to easily access and leverage the content they need the moment they need it, safely and securely, thanks to predefined controls running behind the scenes. Individual workers outside of the IT department enjoy the freedom and empowerment of sharing and restoring their own files and handling an array of technical issues on their own, without having to place added strain on the help desk and with little to no security risk.

This consumerization has resulted in tremendous benefits on both sides of the fence. For IT, it has provided the opportunity to remove time-consuming, menial (but necessary) tasks from IT – such as routine password resets, freeing highly skilled professionals to focus their efforts on more complex projects and mission-critical initiatives. From the end-user’s perspective, having the ability to advocate for his or her own needs has dramatically increased satisfaction levels.

As a result, the organization as a whole benefits from consumerization through self-service automation. With IT no longer bogged down by routine tasks, these valuable resources can be better allocated for the good of the company. And because users are able to handle their own needs, there is a significant boost in productivity thanks to the reduction in costly delays. Practically speaking, self-service automation removes the middle man, thereby eliminating bottle-necks in routine processes.

The ever-increasing investment by large organizations into mobile technology, whether it’s supplying devices to employees or adopting BYOD policies, is further evidence of how self-service automation has become an integral part of today’s workplace. And, when used as a component of an intelligent IT process automation strategy, the overall efficiency level of the entire enterprise can be maximized. So, it really is a win-win.

Is your organization taking advantage of this technology? Click here to experience intelligent automation for yourself today.

eBook: 10 time consuming tasks you should automate

The Secret to Maximizing Service Desk Efficiency and Acccessibility

There’s no doubt that the IT world has seen some incredible advancements over the past couple decades, particularly in the area of the service desk. But while we’ve most certainly experienced a number of improvements over the years, the truth is that the real revolution is happening now – as you read these very words – and it’s coming in the way of service desk automation.

Any help desk professional who has been in the field long enough will tell you the job is wrought with bottlenecks and inefficiencies. Traditionally, the end user would contact the help desk upon experiencing some type of IT issue. The technician receiving the request would then have to place the caller on hold or keep the ticket open (depending on the method of contact), and complete a plethora of documentation to officially open a request. Only then could the issue be resolved and/or escalated. Once closed out (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours or sometimes even several days later), the end user would receive follow up confirmation.

The Secret to Maximum Service Desk Efficiency and AvailabilityDepending on the size of the organization, there might be additional steps added into this process. For instance, some larger enterprises with significant staffing numbers might have all tickets and/or calls initially fielded by Level 1 help desk representatives. From there, all requests are then escalated to Level 2 or higher. That meant that even something as simple as resetting a password could potentially take much more time than really necessary. Not only does this bog down IT, but the delays it causes to the end user can be incredibly costly to the business as a whole.

In this operational model, staff becomes bored and frustrated and efficiency levels are at their absolute lowest. There has to be a better way. Enter service desk automation. Thanks to ITIL combined with advanced, intuitive technology as a foundation of the help desk operation, everything from routine tasks to complex workflows can be structured, organized and standardized. Now, self-service portals provide the freedom and flexibility for end users to troubleshoot and resolve many of their IT issues, including system resets and password changes.

What this does for the IT help desk is it significantly reduces the workload and number of menial incoming requests. Service catalogs have been developed and introduced which deliver standard offerings and provide specific policies and procedures to better set SLAs and manage expectations. Meanwhile, internally, the barriers that once pigeon-holed workers by tier or level are being broken down and talent is being used much more effectively.

With service desk automation, companies are finding a long-sought after solution to the cost conundrum. When is the last time you heard of an IT department getting a big boost in budget? Yet the traditional way of working – with multiple tier levels handling the same issues – is both inefficient and costly. In fact, according to MetricNet, the average cost of a Level 1 service desk technician to manually work a ticket is $22. Escalating to Level 2 triples that cost, and further escalation to Level 3 triples it again. Multiply that by the number of incoming requests and it becomes abundantly clear that this methodology is not only a waste of valuable time, but it’s a terrible and unnecessary waste of funds, which impacts the bottom line.

Furthermore, now more than ever, IT leaders are faced with finding a way to produce maximum output at a minimum cost. Hiring additional staff isn’t usually an option, and burdening existing personnel with extra work will only lead to burnout and subsequent turnover. Shifting a good amount of the work to service desk automation, on the other hand, allows existing staff to handle what needs to get done without becoming overwhelmed. And with greater efficiency comes cost savings, so it’s a win-win.

Customer satisfaction levels also dramatically improve with service desk automation. Gone are the days when opening a ticket would require hours, days or weeks to resolve. Now, whether the end user chooses self-service automation or opens a request to the help desk, technology is there to do the majority of the heavy lifting, often without the need for any human intervention at all. Those issues that do require escalation can be handled much more quickly, ensuring a speedier turnaround. This equates to greater productivity across the board.

When you consider all of the many benefits of service desk automation, it’s clear to see that the tides have changed. With increasing competition and growing pressure to operate at the greatest level of efficiency and productivity while also keeping costs as low as possible, the only solution is automation, and the time to take action is not tomorrow – but today. Right now! Get your service desk started on the path to a more streamlined and profitable operation by launching your free product demo today.

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

Making Intelligent IT Automation Part of Your Corporate Culture

Making Intelligent IT automation part of your corporate cultureIn order for intelligent IT automation to be truly successful and produce sustainable results, it can’t be a one-off project that is exclusive to the IT department. It has to be woven into the very culture of the organization and fully embraced across the entire company. But changing corporate culture is much easier said than done. How can you incorporate automation so that it becomes an integral part of the everyday work environment? Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Get buy-in from top leadership. Cultural changes typically start at the top and trickle downward, so make sure that everyone in a leadership role within your organization understands the benefits of intelligent IT automation and why it’s so critical that it become a part of the underlying atmosphere of the company as a whole. Once they’re on board, it’s time to start leading by example.

Sell the benefits. If you want your company culture to embrace automation, you have to make everyone in every position aware of how it will benefit them directly. In other words, show what’s in it for them. Otherwise, you will lack the support needed to make the final shift. Remember, intelligent IT automation isn’t just about those running your help desk. Things like self-service automation also provide enhanced flexibility, autonomy and empowerment to the end-user. Get the message out.

Identify and address obstacles. Change management is challenging, especially when it involves the evolution of an entire corporate culture, but it’s not impossible. You just have to understand what’s standing in the way so you can overcome those obstacles. For instance, if your employees are scared that intelligent IT automation will make them obsolete, they will resist. You have to address and quell that fear head on by showing them the opportunities it will bring for new roles, such as Automation Engineer, and the ability to do more with less.

Incentivize and reward. Culture change happens much more smoothly and effectively when it’s not shoved down the throats of your employees. Instead of simply telling them and expecting them to adapt, make them a part of your company’s evolution. Not only will this help them better understand the reasons behind the change, but the buy-in will create a much stronger foundation for the shift across the board.

Keep it fluid. The beauty of intelligent IT automation, and technology as a whole, is that it’s constantly changing and improving. A corporate culture is much the same in that it should be something that can be molded and enhanced as needed. Keep an open mind and make modifications where necessary. As long as you’ve got a solid foundation to work with, the only direction you can go is up.

Have you been successful in weaving intelligent IT automation into your organizational culture? Please share your insight, advice and tips in the comment section below. And don’t forget to launch your free product demo of our Next Generation Automation & Orchestration platform, powered by AI. It’s something you must experience for yourself!

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

The Truth About Self-Service Automation

The truth about self-service automationBy now you’ve probably heard of self-service automation, but you might be surprised at how often you’ve personally encountered it in your day to day life. In fact, if you’ve ever used an ATM to withdraw cash, rung up your groceries at the self-checkout line of your local supermarket, or ordered takeout online, you’ve experienced self-service automation up close and personal.

From a business perspective – especially in terms of IT – self-service automation can dramatically increase efficiency and improve productivity levels across the board. Yet, despite these benefits, many organizations are still somewhat hesitant about embracing it for themselves. Much of this is due to many common myths that are still being perpetuated. Let’s take a look at a few of these misconceptions and the real truth behind them.

Misconception: Self-service automation is too expensive.

Reality: While automation certain requires some type of investment and ongoing upkeep, the costs associated with implementing self-service automation are well offset by the savings it affords. To determine the ROI of self-service, simply calculate how much money your company is paying for IT personnel to do routine manual tasks, such as password resets. Shifting that process to the end-user would be much more cost-effective in the long run.

Misconception: Self-service automation will replace human workers.

Reality: While moving to a more self-sufficient business model certainly does change the duties and roles of IT personnel, it doesn’t necessarily negate the need for human intervention. To the contrary, by enabling the end-user to handle manual tasks, it’ll free up talented IT workers so they can continue their education and apply their skills to more important business matters.

Misconception: Self-service automation removes all control from IT.

Reality: Not every self-service policy is fully automated. In fact, if preferred, the process can be set up to incorporate human input at any point during a particular workflow if desired. For instance, certain requests can be submitted by the end-user, which can either trigger a partially automated workflow or be escalated for remote approval via SMS, email or phone. This semi-automated approach still increases efficiency without giving up control.

Misconception: Implementing self-service automation is complicated and cumbersome.

Reality: One of the biggest hurdles many IT managers must overcome when it comes to adopting self-service automation is the misconception that it’s a pain to implement. To the contrary, with the right tool, the process can be quick and painless. In fact, many companies are pleasantly surprised to learn that their automation project can be up and running in just minutes.

Are you guilty of falling for one or more of these misconceptions about self-service automation? Now that you know the truth, the time to start leveraging this powerful tool for your business is today. Click here to get started!

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

ITSM Automation: The Secret Key to Unlocking Business Value

ITSM Automation: The Secret Key to Unlocking Business ValueOne of the more surprising trends in recent history has been the implementation of IT Service Management (ITSM) in areas that are outside of the IT realm, such as facilities management and human resources. Similar to IT, these functions can derive significant business value from standardizing, automating and streamlining workflows and processes. Furthermore, by cutting costs and skyrocketing efficiency, ITSM automation can help all lines of business roll out newer and better capabilities for the benefit of the entire organization.

Widespread Benefits of ITSM Automation

According to a recent survey by PMG, nearly three quarters of the 300 respondents listed self-service automation as beneficial to the entire organization. 68 percent agreed that automation can help lower the costs of IT operations. 82 percent acknowledged that automation has fundamentally changed the way cloud and virtual environments are managed while 65 percent credit automated technology as instrumental in integrating and managing Big Data.

Nearly all survey respondents, however, (98 percent) agreed that automation already provides clear and measurable business benefits, including:

  • Enhanced customer satisfaction
  • Increased productivity and subsequent gains
  • Better knowledge sharing
  • New product delivery

It’s no surprise, then, that ITSM automation is now being leveraged to streamline manual processes across entire organizations, including IT help desks, HR departments, customer contact centers and more. Extending automation outside IT departments into other business units within the company is becoming much more commonplace.

Aligning ITSM Automation with Business Goals

Of course, in order for ITSM automation to truly generate measurable benefits across the enterprise, it must be aligned as closely as possible with broader organizational goals. This isn’t a significant challenge, however, thanks to ITSM’s ability to facilitate better communication throughout the company. By eliminating miscommunication, businesses gain greater efficiencies. When IT becomes less of a silo and more a part of overall business operations, everyone benefits because they’re all on the same page.

Obstacles to ITSM Automation

While the majority of business leaders agree on the many benefits ITSM automation has to offer, there are still certain key challenges that exist and must be overcome. One of the biggest obstacles is the lack of a holistic approach to automation, which results in silos that are not integrated and therefore are not being leveraged to their fullest potential. In some instances, separate automated processes actually work against rather than with one another, slowing down progress and creating more inefficiency than they’re supposed to eliminate.

One of the contributors to these silos of automation is different departments that deploy automation individually, without the IT team’s knowledge and assistance. Other respondents to the survey cited business leaders who create their own automated solutions using incorrect tools or non-standard processes. Clearly these issues must be addressed and overcome if ITSM automation is to become truly beneficial. Ideally, the IT department should take the lead on developing and implementing an interdepartmental strategy for automation.

The first step? Choosing the right platform. Watch ITSM automation powered by machine learning and AI in action today by requesting a free product demo. Click here to get started.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide

Leveraging Self-Service Automation to Meet Business Requirements

Leveraging Self-Service Automation to Meet Business RequirementsOne of the most powerful tools an IT department can leverage is that of self-service automation. Not only does this empower everyday employees to be able to handle many of their own needs without having to contact the help desk, but it also vastly improves productivity and efficiency of IT operations. IT automation provides the ideal solution to be able to leverage self-service investments for your own organization and furthermore align them to help achieve your strategic business goals.

To successfully implement such a strategy, IT must first develop balanced score cards (BSCs) to determine the specific business goals that are to be achieved. These BSCs should have four main aspects: financial, internal, customer, and learning and development (L&D). The goal is to map out IT and self-service automation initiatives using these four aspects so that specific business impacts can be identified and worked toward.

A great example of this would be self-service password resets. Believe it or not, this task alone comprises 40% of the service calls that are fielded by help desk representatives on a daily basis. Imagine the time it takes to handle these simple, menial tasks taking up almost half of your IT department’s daily activity. Now, imagine if that task could be automated and handled instead by the end-user. That way, your personnel would be freed up to focus on more critical aspects of their jobs – and things that are specifically aligned with your company’s strategic objectives.

Let’s examine in further detail how self-service automation can further impact your organization. Consider for a moment your organization’s expenditure for help desk calls. According to the global research firm Gartner, the average cost of a help desk call is $17.88. Taking the total number of password reset requests received annually and multiplying it by this average cost will demonstrate just how much this one simple task is costing your organization.

Another way to quantify this expenditure is to calculate the total costs associated with each of your help desk associates (salary plus benefits, including bonuses, stock options, etc.). Multiply that total cost by the 40% figure indicated above. This will help you determine how much you’re spending on an annual basis just on password resets alone. According to Gartner, the average total cost of a help desk associate, including all other perks and benefits, is $80,012 per year. That would mean that for each employee, you’re paying $32,005 just to have passwords reset!

Certainly one of your business goals is to maximize resources while minimizing expenditure. By leveraging self-service automation options to handle even just the one task of password resets, you can dramatically reduce operating costs and improve efficiency at the same time. Of course, this is just one small example of how IT automation and self-service initiatives can have a significant, positive impact on your business.

Are you leveraging this powerful tool for your own IT department? If not, the time to do so is now! Click here to take our intuitive automation and orchestration platform for a test drive today.

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

Could Self-Service Automation Be Your Organization’s Key to Success?

Could Self-Service Automation Be Your Organization’s Key to Success?You’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy into building an IT department that is highly qualified. You’ve probably also invested a good deal of money into providing that team with the advanced technology they need to do their jobs more efficiently. What you may not realize is that the secret to sustainable success, not just in IT, but across the entire organization, may actually lie with the end-user. In fact, when it comes to productivity and competitive advantage, self-service automation might just prove to be your ace in the hole. Here’s why.

What is self-service automation?

Before we delve into the many business benefits self-service operation has to offer, it’s important to first understand just what this term refers to. Essentially, self-service technology empowers non-technical employees across the enterprise by allowing them to proactively perform a variety of routine and ad-hoc tasks and processes. This could be as simple as resetting a password or generating a report, or as complex as initiating and carrying out the new employee onboarding process.

Why is self-service automation such a powerful tool?

There are a number of advantages to employing self-service technology in your organization. From an end-user’s perspective, not having to wait for a help desk agent to complete the task in question can save a tremendous amount of time. Imagine if a user is locked out of his or her workstation and submits a help ticket, but all available IT agents are busy putting out bigger fires elsewhere. In the meantime, the end-user cannot perform his or her work duties. Multiply this by several users and you’ll see a significant hit on overall organizational productivity.

Now, imagine this situation with self-service automation instead. Rather than opening a help ticket, the user could take the necessary steps to regain access without having to involve IT at all. The employee saves time and can get back to being productive again much more quickly.

Self-service automation makes everyone’s life better.

Now let’s take a look at that same example from an IT agent’s perspective. Do you know how much time is wasted performing routine tasks such as password resets and system restarts? Essentially, you’re paying a highly skilled IT professional (or several) to do mundane work. By shifting this responsibility back to the end-user, you free up your talented technicians to be able to apply their expertise toward more mission critical tasks and projects. This is a much better allocation of resources for the organization.

And while many IT staffers may initially resist the idea of a self-service portal, they almost always change their tune once they experience how liberating it can be for them. Even lower-tier and entry level personnel can benefit, as they will have the freedom and flexibility to focus on improving their skillsets and making themselves more marketable.

Overall, self-service automation can improve productivity of employees across the board. When everyone is optimizing their time and work is being completed at a more efficient rate, the company as a whole will perform better. The better your company is running, the higher your customer satisfaction rates will go and the more traction you’ll be able to gain against the competition. In other words, with self-service automation, everyone wins.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. Experience the many benefits for yourself by downloading your free trial of Ayehu today and start positioning your business for a more successful tomorrow.

IT Process Automation Survival Guide