Understanding IT process automation

While IT implements high-tech solutions for the rest of the business, IT operations are notoriously in need of technology improvements and process automation. 

High demand for IT services and the complexities of their processes leads to slow turnaround and bottlenecks. They’re so busy with the rest of the company’s software and systems, they haven’t dedicated enough time for their own, leading to stop-gaps and manual processes that slow company operations down.

For many companies, a large proportion of the IT organization is focused on support and administrative work that’s often manual and inefficient. At two financial services organizations McKinsey recently analyzed, a stunning 90 percent of the IT organization was focused on these kinds of mundane tasks.

IT process automation can streamline ITOps, DevOps and make many tasks more automatic. It’s commonly believed that IT is too complex to automate. And while there are definitely many technical software tasks and hardware processes that can’t be replaced with automation, for many repetitive tasks in between, IT process automation can speed things up to save time, reduce process debt and improve service.

 

How to use IT Process Automation (ITPA) in your processes:

 

Step up your service request workflow

IT Process Automation can begin with your help desk and service requests. Take this workflow beyond a typical webform to connect it to your multiple systems and channels of service. Use automation to collect and consolidate requests from your help desk webform as well as from other channels like customer-facing support portals or email requests. IT automation can take initial steps like filtering out duplicate requests, identifying and answering frequently asked questions, then inputting appropriate requests into the same ticketing system.

 

Trigger tasks from a ticketing system

IT process automation can augment your ticketing system and make it more automatic. Set up triggers for tickets with certain keywords to complete initial steps in a workflow like responding with common troubleshooting solutions, running initial diagnostics on a system, starting API calls, automatically assigning tasks, beginning further documentation, or looking up other data.

 

Simplify tech onboarding and offboarding

Tech setup and provisioning for new employees can require a lot of time, and therefore, interruption to your other projects. Use IT automation to increase efficiency in tech onboarding. Most tasks in an onboarding process are repetitive and easy to check off with automation. 

For example, every time a new employee signs, ITPA can automatically trigger email with a webform to ask the new hire about their preferred desk setup. Then, their responses can be used to automatically trigger purchasing of the correct supplies or assign them from your inventory. Next steps in an IT onboarding workflow could include browser automation to set up accounts and users, or buy software licences.

Then, a similar process in reverse can be used to deprovision systems in an automatic offboarding process for exiting employees.

 

Automate asset management

Use IT process automation for complete asset inventory listing and tracking. Keep records automatically up to date by setting triggers to assign assets when a new employee starts or checks out an item from a webform, or to add line items when invoices are received or indicate when assets are designated to be out of service. 

 

Ensure compliance and information security

With IT process automation, you can easily create built-in and automated compliance controls as part of larger workflows and trigger data gathering and reporting quarterly, annually or during transactional processes. IT automation gathers and structures data to gain insight and control over internal processes throughout the year, and benefit from a built-in “audit trail.” Every instance of a process can be saved in a data table, along with files, approvals, timestamps, and other details. This alleviates the burden of going out of our way to “save evidence.”

 

Perform routine system maintenance tasks

Automate system backups, cleanups and updates on a scheduled basis to keep your tech infrastructure strong and running properly. ITPA can also monitor and run automatic systems reports on usage, bandwidth and efficiency.

Take control of your tech with easy integrations 

IT process automation can seamlessly integrate with your current tech stack of cloud providers and software solutions. When all your systems are connected, your IT organization can be too. Eliminate manual data entry, scheduling, notification and follow-up tasks, and any other workaround you currently use to bridge the gap between the large number of apps, people and departments you work with.

 

Automate without coding

Just because your IT team knows how to code, doesn’t mean they always have to spend precious time coding custom solutions. With an intuitive, no-code platform for IT automation, developers can save time when creating automated workflows and save their technical expertise and time for advanced cases.

 

Deliver on digital transformation governance

Businesses need to automate their overall operation across departments to stay competitive and they need IT help. IT process automation can make rolling out a digital transformation initiative with a federated model easier by building automated workflows for change management, task distribution, trainings and governance.

 

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Written by Catalytic