Gartner is one of, if not the most respected resources in the IT realm. As part of their commitment to improving the industry and the lives of those who are a part of it, the research firm often puts together helpful tips and tricks. Recently, Gartner shared some of the more common IT process automation pitfalls and, more importantly, what steps IT professionals can take to overcome these challenges and realize success. Here is a summary of their findings.
Challenge #1: Shortage of Both People and Skills
The most common complaint organizations list when it comes to IT process automation is related to a lack of skilled professionals. What many fail to recognize, however, is that automation itself can be the key to overcoming this obstacle. While locating IT professionals that are proficient in ITPA is a good starting point, adopting the right product can be just as effective. Once the basic tasks and processes are automated, existing IT personnel will then be freed up to focus on improving their own skillsets, eliminating the need to hire additional staff.
Challenge #2: Lack of Existing Documentation
One of the biggest tasks when adopting IT process automation is identifying those key areas where ITPA would be most effective. The problem comes into play when existing processes aren’t properly documented. Without adequately documented and repeatable approaches, the results can be frustratingly inconsistent. The solution to this dilemma is simple: start documenting now. It can be challenging at first, but it’s a necessary component of successful ITPA rollout.
Challenge #3: Cultural Resistance to Change
It’s human nature to resist change, particularly when that change is viewed as detrimental to one’s livelihood. That’s why it comes as no surprise that Gartner’s findings revealed the third most common challenge organizations face when attempting to implement IT process automation is the resistance of existing personnel. The key to this – and any change management initiative – is identifying what the sources of concern are and then systematically addressing them, one by one. Alleviating fear will dramatically improve the process for everyone involved.
Challenge #4: Lack of Process Standards, Discipline and Governance
Without standards, the entire purpose of IT process automation is lost. Otherwise, organizations run the risk of implementing automation processes that are flawed from inception. In other words, time, money and other resources will be wasted on doing the wrong thing more efficiently. This is why creating a process standard is essential. Furthermore, leadership and governance roles should also be defined to help establish best practices; review, validate and optimize processes; and recommend ongoing improvements.
Challenge #5: Lack of Traction and Loss of Focus
Your IT process automation roll-out may have started out great, but lately it seems to have lost its steam. This is why documentation and communication are so important. Specific business objectives should be defined from the get-go (Gartner lists the top objectives for ITPA as efficiency, cost reduction, risk mitigation and predictability). There should also be a strategy developed that includes milestones for measuring success and keeping everyone on track.