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Making The Case For IT Automation

News | Tony Head | January 1, 2017 | 1106 Words

Let IT automation transform your business for the better.

For decades, IT organizations have preached the virtues of automation to improve the efficiency of business operations, reduce personnel costs, and reduce human error across the enterprises they support.

Now, technology is providing IT organizations with the capability to lead by example and automate many of their own routine processes that are costly to their organization and the business. More often than not, application outages are due to human error during routine software upgrades, new software deployments, or poorly tested patches and fixes.

Making The Case For IT Automation

Not only does this make sense to business leaders, but it makes sense to IT executives as well. For business leaders, the case for change is obvious: “better, faster, cheaper”. While that same case is persuasive for IT executives as well, there is another equally valuable proposition for them.

Because many IT executives will tell you that untold resources and political capital are spent responding to problems with “routine” Windows upgrades, new application deployments, or slow responses to help desk tickets, it is enticing for an IT executive to hear that automation can do away with the risk, headache, and political liability of the seemingly routine tasks that should “just happen” (with no impact to the business) but seldom work out that way.  ​

 

How Much Of IT Can Realistically Be Automated?

Clearly, the higher you go up the value stack, the less feasible automation becomes. Many of the functions of service management that are predictable, repeatable, and already have structured manual processes are good candidates. Similarly, even components of application deployment, such as testing, packaging, and migrations, are already being automated by more progressive IT shops. Here are a few examples of processes that benefit greatly from automation:

  • Automated application build/packaging, testing, and deployment of new apps or upgrades of existing apps. This allows for continuous improvement to your technology environment instead of the high risk, high cost, “big bang” approach to change. There is no more need for keeping “fingers crossed” or hoping that every little piece of technology fits together during a major upgrade.
  • Automated Windows upgrades. which are always labor-intensive and historically cause widespread business interruption across the enterprise.  Making sure the “simple” or “utility” technologies don’t cause major interruption when your email or calendar does not work.
  • Automated help desk/service desk functions. Putting the power to fix problems in the hands of the user or proactively fixing those technology problems before the user ever knows about them reduces both time and cost spent by the IT organization and business operations. No more waiting on a call back from the help desk.
  • Automated discovery of desktop apps and licensing to ensure a homogenous environment. This reduces license compliance exposure and security risks from rogue apps or viruses. Instead of “taking inventory” once a year, AccessIT keeps you compliant and secure. No more problems getting in the back door undetected or scrambling around preparing for an audit.

 

If Progressive IT Shops Are Already Doing This, Then What Stops Other Enterprises?

Like most technology investments it involves an upfront investment and is a change to the current operating methods and a cultural change. Using tools from Access IT USA, some major financial institutions have seen a return on investment in about 12 months in most cases. Therefore, the cost-benefit case is an easy one to make.

Getting employees on board with a cultural change can be a bit more difficult. However, experienced consulting/service teams from automation tool providers like Access IT USA can help companies with best practices that have proven to be successful with early adopters.

The issues with cultural change are not all that different from the issues stemming from technology projects in business operations. Many operating applications increase efficiency in part by reducing personnel costs. This creates a reluctance to change within the IT organization based on fear of staff reductions or perceived reductions in the importance of individual roles and responsibilities.

This reaction is common and normal, and it has been experienced by business units for years. Appropriately handling the management of these transitions is critical to gaining acceptance from both leadership and individual contributors.

Another common objection to automation is that the new technology or approach will not work. Unfortunately, there are examples of technology and transformation projects that have failed. For this reason, the implementation of IT automation projects must be approached in a way that addresses any and all objections early on in the project. Most studies of IT project failures conclude that IT projects seldom fail because the technology did not work.

 

Breaking Down the Barriers to Change

All successful IT projects start with identifying the potential problems and integrating change efforts into the overall plan. Some potential change approaches include:

  • Providing a technology proof of concept to demonstrate how the IT automation tools work.
  • Developing and communicating a plan for people whose jobs will be impacted.
  • Demonstrating the benefits to the business and its employees so that all parties gain an understanding of why the effort is being undertaken.
  • Realizing the nature of change. Studies show that up to 20% of staff may not want to make the change and will leave. Oftentimes, these are not the top performers. The key here is to identify the most valuable employees and make a plan that will keep them interested in a brave new world of IT automation.

While these mitigation strategies are not new, they are often overlooked when IT organizations are seeking change and inward-focused technology advancement. The unfortunate results are a bit like Cobbler’s Children Syndrome.

 

Getting Started

With proven technology and best practice methods and procedures, Access IT USA provides you with a proof of concept and a low-risk phased approach that can quickly help your IT organization or enterprise realize the value of automation.

One of our consultants can walk you through the approach and the toolset in just a few phone calls and demonstrations. We can also put you in contact with current clients so you can learn the perspective of technical and non-technical executives who have made this transition.

 

    UK

    Access IT Automation, No.1 Royal Exchange,
    London, EC3V 3DG

    USA

    D-300 Camelback Square, 6991 E Camelback Rd,
    Scottsdale, AZ 85251.