Automation in IT helps in mitigating the IT operations risk, reducing costs, improving standards enforcement. It increases operational efficiency and reduces the negative effects of complexity. The IT process automation should be the primary step in IT operations management, organizational designs, investments and supports. Enterprises that do not automate their IT processes will not be able to maximize their business values and ROI as they fail in providing the highest level of quality services. However, due to complexities and high costing, organizations tend to avoid automation and rely on manual approaches to their IT operations. The organizations need to know that IT process automation is not just an add-on tool but a stepping stone towards future of their business development.
Challenges of implementing IT process automation
- Lack of organizational maturity and appropriate skills are the main inhibitors for automation process success.
- Traditional resistance to automation is a significant barrier for many organizations.
- Non-standardization of IT architectures hinders the achievement of cost-effective
The road to IT automation from basics to best practices is marked with six essential milestones. Assessment and solidification of each of these milestones is necessary for successful implementation of process automation infrastructure.
The six key milestones are:
The maturity of Organization
The success of automation process in IT is directly related to the maturity and ability of domain-focused IT operations of the organizations. The domain focused IT teams should be able to collaborate, communicate and support each other. When processes cross organizational domains, establishment of the process owners is necessary. The process owners are responsible for the complete lifecycle of the process. A process owner is crucial to ensure that the integration points in the process remain consistent and are executed.
Many times, domain experts have knowledge of their pieces in the process and fail to understand the overall goal of the process. The process owner brings management focus and helps in providing all process participants greater visibility and responsibility in successful automation.
Skills of Employees
The skills required in development, implementation and administration of the IT automation process tools are essential in an IT operations team. The growth in a number of organizations where automation has become primary initiative, there is an emergence of the role of automation manager. The skills of automation manager include:
- Operational expertise
- Infrastructural expertise
- Business expertise
- Hands-on experience
Effective understanding of how to design, develop, test, deploy and administer a workflow should be provided. The ability to develop and design scripts for data collection and integration is necessary. The improvement in workflow includes improvement in:
- Determining What to Automate
- Change Management
Standardization of IT process automation refers to standardizing both IT infrastructure and the approach to automation. Standardized IT infrastructure enables the implementation of automation without the high complexity and costs. IT organizations must drive their efficiency by using standardized components, reusable and repeatable processes. Organizations that lack standard configurations incur greater costs and less agile processes than organizations with standard configurations. It is crucial to manage and standardize that how the process automation workflow is maintained and tracked.
Management of Objectives and Expectations
There are multiple reasons for automation each of these reasons influences the operation processes. Establishment of objectives with specific trackable metrics is the key to successful automation. The main reason for automation project failure is the complexity of the process due to which constant addition, change and removal of steps and change in process objectives can be seen. Successful process automation requires focussing on specific objectives like:
- Determining reasonable expectation for workload and cost reductions.
- Maintaining the scope of initial process definitions.
- Automating tasks that have common approaches or repetitive human intervention.
- Integrating and managing the implementation of cross-domain application processes.
Many times, organizations underestimate the cost required to achieve the automation process goals. Consideration of all the aspects of the IT operations management processes is essential. Costs extend beyond just the purchase of the automation tool. The cost of managing the tool is almost three to four times the cost of the tool Initially, automation processes are costly as it takes a good amount of cost and effort for the implementation of the automation process. However, in the long run, automation processes prove to cost-efficient and accurate helping the organizations in achieving their business objectives.
Automation in IT has become the need of the hour. The infrastructure and operation leaders need to deliver IT services more proactively on time and under budget. IT process automation is on the verge of becoming a central strategic pillar in the process development infrastructure.