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Process Automation in Six Easy Steps

05/15/2013 by: The SunView Team

ITIL, Process Automation

When it is time to drive efficiency in the IT Organization, it is time to build automations into your daily activities. Every process has automation opportunities. It is up to the team to determine where these efficiencies can be found. One way to determine the low hanging fruit is to look at your ticket logs.

Your reports will show you common issues and this may be the place to start. When you see the developing use patterns, you can start to dig into the processes associated with the most common tickets. Even adding an automated email response can drive efficiencies; let alone adding a process automation that allows the end user to drive the issue to completion. This is a great use of the Service Catalog, allowing the end user to request a service and fulfill independent of a Service Desk Analyst.

If you are interested in trying automations for yourself, take a test drive of the ChangeGear Service Desk environment.

Closely aligned with ITIL implementation best practices, Terry Walby's article, Six Steps for Improving Automation ROI, helps lay out a path for the long journey to automation nirvana.

1. Evaluation of Requirements and Potential Benefits€¦ it is also important to evaluate processes that consume a great deal of time, even if they are more complex, multi-step activities€¦ The most effective approach is to evaluate, as far as possible, the time taken by manual activities and the frequency with which those activities are undertaken.

2. Process Integration€¦ to get the best from an automation, it's important to understand where it fits in the larger business process. What are the triggers on which it might execute? What needs to happen before and after the automation? What input variables will need to be automated for a successful outcome?

3. Contextual CustomizationsBy building contextual considerations into automation, the automation can assess cues like how critical an app is or the time of day, as well as more involved factors like other programs are running and their potential impact on system performance. Based on these various contextual cues, the automation can execute a different set of actions that match the scenario.

4. Testing and ReleaseOnce automation has been closely defined and integrated into existing processes, organizations must test its performance in various circumstances, evaluate the resulting outputs and confirm its success.

5. Benefits RealizationOnce automation has been implemented, organizations should evaluate real-world performance and validate the delivery of previously-defined efficiencies.

6. Continuous Improvement€¦ it's also important to take a continual service improvement view. The most successful organizations will regularly revisit and revise existing automations and continually look at the boundaries of an automated process, seeking extensions that would derive additional benefits.

These 6 steps will help to drive improved efficiencies within the IT Organization and beyond, allowing your enterprise to achieve the highest possible ROI from automation of your processes. Once you determine the initial processes that can benefit the most from automations, test the changes and then implement, then review and improve the process automations; you will be well on your way to becoming an IT Champion.

Flickr Image by mckaysavage

| IT Service Management / Process Automation