5 Productivity-Killing IT Processes You Should Automate Now
Posted by on May 25, 2018
Chuck Darst is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for Cherwell Software. Chuck has over ten years of IT Service Management (ITSM) industry experience and over 20 years in a variety of IT Operations Management (ITOM) roles with a focus on machine learning, automation, compliance, and IT security.
In today’s increasingly consumerized world, your organization must be nimble to compete. It must quickly respond to changing user dynamics and business priorities. And it needs the continual help and expertise of your IT team to do so. But when your service desk techs are consumed by routine, low-value tasks, you lack the bandwidth and resources to do the kind of work that delivers real business value.
Automation is the perfect way to free up your team to go faster. And you don’t need to be a DevOps expert to reap its benefits. The key is to start small. Automate just a handful of processes that are the most routine and repetitive. (And be sure those processes are “right and tight” before attempting to automate them—automating a process that’s already broken will only make things worse).
Ready to try your hand at automation? And free up more time and resources to take on higher value projects in your enterprise? Here are the five most time-sucking processes to automate first.
A few years back, Gartner reported that password resets accounted for 40 percent of all service desk calls at an estimated cost of nearly $18/call. Even if your math adds up a bit differently, automating password resets can free up significant service desk resources—not to mention make for happier techs. Your team probably enjoys this work about as much as a root canal.
An ITSM platform that includes out-of-the-box (OOTB) integrations with Active Directory should make short work of this automation. When evaluating ITSM tools for your enterprise, be sure you’re getting this capability, and that it can be easily configured by your service desk staff.
Request and Change Approvals
There are a number of other common requests and changes—both inside and outside of IT—that can easily be automated. In the IT department, these might include employee installs of certain apps from your service catalog or requests to increase email inbox capacity.
Some requests, like downloading apps, might not require approval at all, making them particularly well suited for automation. Even those that do require approval can follow a similar automation sequence, with the addition of an approval request. This might look like an email to the manager with an approval checkbox, which is also easily automated.
Status Emails and Acknowledgements
Communicating status is yet another culprit keeping your service desk trapped doing low-value work. If your end users must call or email your service desk to check the status of a service ticket, you’ve identified a prime candidate for automation.
For starters, leverage your self-service portal when possible. If your portal allows submittal of tickets, it should also be able to present the status of tickets in progress. If you receive requests through another channel, like email, you can still use your ITSM system to automate status updates, including acknowledgement (ticket open), status change (ticket assigned), and resolution (ticket closed).
Most enterprises have certain "standard changes” as defined by ITIL® that can be pre-approved and are therefore good candidates for automation. Some examples include rebooting a server, installing a patch, and releasing software updates.
Using the software release example, you can pre-approve and automate the release to certain systems. If your ITSM platform provides pre-built automations, you can easily automate this type of standard change.
Subsets of Complex Workflows
When evaluating processes for potential automation, you don’t need to take an all-or-nothing approach. Automating just one or two steps of a complex workflow can yield significant improvements in efficiency.
New employee onboarding is a good example of a multi-step workflow that’s ripe for automation. You might start by automating just a single step, like procuring hardware or provisioning access to enterprise applications. While the physical setup of a new computer will likely require human intervention, its procurement can be automated. Look for other simple steps like this that can be processed as standard changes.
When you’re feeling the pressure to go faster, automation allows you to free up valuable time and resources. By relieving your team of routine, repetitive tasks, you gain bandwidth to respond to critical needs and shifting business priorities.
Accelerate your service management initiative with the help of our playbook: 5 Ways to "Fast Forward" ITSM.
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