Self-Service Automation – Myths vs. Reality

Self-Service Automation – Myths vs. RealityYou may have 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.

Myth: Self-service automation is too expensive.

Truth: While any automation tool 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, consider 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 is much more cost-effective.

Myth: Self-service automation will replace human workers.

Truth: While moving to a more self-sufficient model certainly does change the duties and roles of IT personnel, it doesn’t necessarily negate the need for human intervention. To the contrary, automation tools that allow the end-user to handle manual tasks frees up talented IT workers to be able to increase their education and apply their skills to more important business matters.

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

Truth: Not every self-service policy is fully automated. In fact, if preferred, the process can be set up to incorporate human input as 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.

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

Truth: 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.

Have you fallen victim to one or more of these myths about self-service automation? Now that you know the truth, the time to start leveraging this powerful tool for your business is today.

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Self-Service Automation: Calculating the ROI of Automated Password Resets

Calculating ROI for Automated Password ResetsThink about how much time your IT department spends on simple, manual tasks. Specifically, consider the number of incoming password reset requests that are sent on a daily basis. These requests undoubtedly bog down your highly skilled IT personnel who could be much more effective if they were focusing their efforts on more challenging and strategic issues. Furthermore, the time wasted on manual password resets comes at a much higher monetary expense than you may think. So, what’s the solution? Self-service automation. Here’s why.

There are a number of different ways to quantify how much password resets are costing your organization. For the sake of this article, let’s start by considering how much the average help desk call is. If you’re not quite sure how to calculate this, don’t worry. A surprising number of organizations don’t measure this information (though they arguably should). Here’s a good starting point:

In 2015, Gartner projected that the average cost of a help desk call was $19.07. The next logical step would be to take the total number of requests that were specifically related to password resets and multiply that by $19.07 to get the overall cost of these calls annually. According to industry standards, 40% of all help desk calls are related to password resets. Another assumption is that the average end-user contacts the help desk about 1.25 times per month.

Now, let’s assume that your organization employs 5,000 individuals. That would equal 6,250 help desk calls during a given month. If 40% of those calls are requests for password resets, that would equal 2,500 calls. Now, multiply that number by the average cost per help desk call:

2,500 x $19.07 = $47,675

That’s nearly $50k spent on simple, manual password resets each and every month.

Can your organization really afford to spend this kind of money on something so straightforward?

Conversely, by leveraging automation via a self-service portal, you can essentially retain that astronomical expenditure and better allocate it to more important issues.

Another way to calculate the cost of password resets is to determine how much each one of your IT Service Desk staff members is being compensated. Remember to include salary, bonuses, stock options, 401k contributions, health and wellness benefits, insurance, and of course the all-important perks like gym memberships, car allowances, etc. Total this up and then multiply that number by Gartner’s 40% figure to determine how much you’re paying help desk staff to reset passwords.

Don’t have that number handy?

No problem. Let’s turn once again to Gartner who has gone to a lot of trouble to figure out what the average salary and benefit costs per help desk support FTE (full-time equivalent) are. Again, we’ll just use Gartner’s numbers, which state that in 2015, the average salary and benefit costs per help desk support FTE working the IT Service Desk was just under $90k year.

Now we multiply that number by 40%, and we arrive at the average cost of password resets per help desk employee – which is a whopping $36,000 per year, per staff member. Total that up for all your FTE’s and this amount would represent your annual ROI of automating password resets.

Once again, is this an expense you can really justify for your organization? Perhaps it’s time to start honestly considering how self-service automation can really impact your business’ bottom line.

Why not give it a try for yourself? Simply click here to download your free 30 day trial of eyeShare and start saving money today.


ITSM Automation – Achieving Self-Service Adoption

ITSM Automation – Achieving Self-Service AdoptionMany 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 ITSM 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 service 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 ITSM 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 activities.

Sell the benefits to each group.

If you want everyone – from the end-users to the IT department workers – to jump on the ITSM 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 ITSM automation adoption to happen overnight. The process will take time and involve researching various automation tools 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 ITSM 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 within the organization.

Ready to try ITSM automation, but not sure where to begin?

Check out the top 10 most automated processes to help point you in the right direction.

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

How to Automate Your Self-Service Portal

Self-Service PortalThink about the last time you had to deal with a live person during some type of day to day transaction, whether it was making a withdrawal at the bank, scheduling a delivery or even checking out at the grocery store. Self-service portal options have become an integral part of our everyday lives, so why should the IT department be any tasks that can and should be handled through a self-service portal, you’re missing out and falling behind.

The way IT once handled incoming service requests typically required a long string of painful manual tasks. For instance, an end-user runs into a problem (let’s say he or she needs a password reset). A help desk ticket is opened, which is then directed to someone in the IT department. The ticket is assigned and opened by IT personnel and the task is manually completed. The ticket must then be closed and the end-user notified that the request has been fulfilled.

Sadly, in many cases (such as our example of a password reset), the incoming request was for something that could easily have been automated to avoid all of this hassle. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have an automated process, initiated through a self-service portal, through which the end-user could immediately resolve his or her issue, completely eliminating the need to open a ticket and wait for response/resolution? This saves everyone time and aggravation.

The time-savings is only the tip of the iceberg, however. There are many more benefits of automating a self-service portal, many of which can impact the bottom line of the business as a whole. These benefits include:

  • Optimizing resources
  • Reducing service tickets/calls
  • Eliminating errors
  • Enhanced visibility and reporting capabilities (for compliance purposes)

All of these things can help IT service providers to lower their total cost of ownership (TCO), something the “powers-that-be” are always happy to see. What’s more, a quality automation tool can provide much more concrete, quantifiable results to demonstrate return on investment (ROI), a task that was once quite challenging to do. This allows IT leaders to access and better allocate funds to optimize operations. It’s a win-win!

Automating standard IT services and applications through a self-service portal just makes sense and it’s becoming a part of most business’ everyday operations. No more relying on busy, overworked IT staff to handle mundane tasks and risk costly delays or mistakes. Now, the end-user is empowered to independently resolve problems on his or her own while automation ensures a speedy and flawless workflow. Meanwhile, IT personnel are freed up to put their valuable skills to work elsewhere.

For more information on self-service portal and how you can leverage them in your own organization, click here. Or, download your free 30 day trial to experience it for yourself!

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

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

Why Providing Your End-Users with Self Service Automation is a Must?

Self service automationThe concept of self service automation portal isn’t new. In fact, more and more industries and businesses are adopting this as a means to improve efficiency, reduce costs and create an environment of empowerment. Many are even extending the concept from internal operations to external, providing customers with convenient self-service options. Yet, the one area where this concept remains to be widely embraced is in the IT. For a variety of reasons, many IT professionals continue to insist on maintaining all of their tasks in-house. What they fail to realize is that offering end-users self service automation solution can significantly benefit their department as well as the organization as a whole.

The Benefits:

  • Better service quality means happy end-users
  • Saved time through faster management and execution of requests
  • Process and resources traceability and transparency
  • Positive end user experience with IT service management

Think about it. Why would anyone want to continue doing time-consuming, manual IT tasks for other people when those recipients could just as easily do the task themselves? Wouldn’t it make more sense to delegate those things that can be handled on an end-user basis? Self service automation allows the end-user to independently resolve problems without IT helpdesk assistance, freeing up IT personnel to focus on more critical business issues.

If the concept of turning over control to the end-user seems frightening to you, consider the fact that there are varying levels of control that can be applied. Self service activities may be fully automated without any IT personnel involvement, or semi-automated, with IT managers remotely approving procedures via SMS, email or phone call.

Using a self-service portal, users can Independently perform a range of IT tasks such as creating new virtual machine, freeing up server disk space or restarting Windows services, Unlock user account,  Reset a password and many others IT may want to give to end-users.

Self-service automation can also be used proactively to transfer ownership from the IT department to the end-user by sending alerts and notifications by email or SMS, such as password reset or expiry notifications.

Whether for test, development or production tasks requests, effective IT Service Management starts with self-service and automation solutions. Users can “order” what they need from a list of standard options in an intuitive web portal. IT staff can enable on-demand provisioning of application and infrastructure requests within minutes, with no delays. And administrators can control and track each service, from initial request to decommissioning.

What do you need to get started? Self-service portal and orchestration engine capabilities to improve IT agility, flexibility, and speed.

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

IDC Predicts More User-Focused IT Process Automation in 2015

IDC Predicts More User-Focused IT Process Automation in 2015In December 2014, the International Data Corporation (IDC) hosted the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Cloud 2015 Predictions. During the web conference, a number of bold predictions were made based on a new IDC FutureScape report surrounding the state of technology, expected changes over the next year and how business leaders can make the most of what is to come for their own growth and future success. Among those predictions, a clear picture of the increased role of automation emerged. More specifically, the report revealed the expectation that IT process automation will continue to become more user-focused.

Of the many mentions of IT process automation’s role in the not-so-distant future, one particular statistic stood out amongst the rest:

“By 2017, 25% of IT organizations will formally support a ‘consumer tier’ to allow workers to develop their own personal automation.”

What this essentially refers to is the fact that not only is automation expected to become much more accessible, but it’s also going to develop to become much more customizable. Rather than just an overarching automation plan that is handled exclusively by IT higher ups, automation will slowly become part of the everyday workplace experience for employees across departments and skill levels.

According to the IDC study, more IT organizations are going to provide end-user self service automation. Employees will no longer need to be dependent on others to solve their own problems and perform their own necessary tasks, such as password resets, unlocking user accounts and system restarts. Instead of having to contact the help desk and wait for assistance, the automation tool will allow the end-user to handle all the necessary steps on his or her own. This will improve productivity and efficiency across the board.

IT departments need not worry about relinquishing control, either. A pre-defined list of standard options can be developed, which will then be presented to the end-user via an intuitive web portal. Only those tasks available on the list can be “ordered” so there’s no risk of user error. Each available option will have a built-in automated workflow that will be carried out accordingly upon selection. There are no delays to the end-user and, more importantly, IT administrators will still be able to maintain control over each service, with full visibility and tracking.

These enhancements to automation will naturally coincide with big data and other tech trends, such as wearables in the workplace and the Internet of Things (IoT). With more and more businesses shifting toward a “bring your own device” (BYOD) environment, it’s only logical to conclude that there will also be a more widespread use of automation. As the months pass, not only will IT personnel be leveraging automation tools to streamline their day to day workloads, but the end-user will also be taking a more active role, with automation at the forefront.

Excited to see what the future holds for IT process automation?

IT Process Automation Survival Guide