CIOs are constantly under pressure to meet management goals for faster and more accurate delivery of services. No one wants to be left behind, and IT automation promises to be the hope for improved efficiencies and the reduction of costs.
Why not just automate everything to cover all bases? If a task occurs infrequently during the year, the investment for acquiring and managing that task wouldn’t be worth it. First on the list of priorities should be areas that can significantly reduce manual labor, improve quality, fill in the deficiencies, and simplify complex procedures.
It can be overwhelming for an IT automation team to decide where to start. The road to automation will be long and winding but the basic players – people, processes, and machines – should be given priority.
IT automation frees people from repetitious manual work and minimizes the chance of human error. This doesn’t mean, however, that human intervention will be completely eliminated in an automated environment. People still prevail over machines and in this sense, people are a priority in any IT automation initiative.
Clear and open communication among all human stakeholders right from the start of the automation process is paramount. The various teams must work hand-in-hand during the planning, transition, and implementation stages. It is worth noting that each stakeholder will have different goals in mind. For example, stockholders may want a healthier bottom line, the production team an increase in output, the quality control team zero deficiencies, and the IT department a sustainable system. By communicating and collaborating, stakeholders can put together a cohesive process that includes the perspectives of all parties involved.
Prioritizing processes for IT automation is not an easy task. The general business goal of automation focuses on efficiency and reliability without negatively impacting quality and safety. The specifics boil down to the reduction of labor-intensive, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks such as configurations and patching. It may also include frequently occurring problems such as network slowdown and poor CPU utilization.
The processes that need to be given priority will depend on the type, size, and goals of the business. In any case, the resulting automated design should be modular and scalable to allow for easy expansion or downgrading. The chosen processes for automation should also help in increasing output, capacity, and accuracy, and shorten the time needed to complete tasks.
Human beings are better at non-mechanical tasks, but machines can more accurately perform volumes of iterative and boring mechanical steps over and over again where humans would be prone to make mistakes. For example, people sitting for hours in front of multiple computer terminals staring at thousands of statistics watching for any abnormality can get physically and mentally exhausted, which can affect the quality of their work.
Machines form part of the overall IT infrastructure. Developing standard interfaces among machines within the infrastructure can create an ideal framework that is flexible and collaborative so that different groups are interconnected, share information, and work in harmony for success.
An IT automation project can be daunting, especially when faced with a cluttered framework, legacy systems, heterogeneous teams, and different processes. With adequate planning, prioritization, integration, and standardization, automation should be headed for smooth implementation. To learn more about how we can help with your IT automation, contact us at Copper State Communications today.