Today’s IT teams can’t do it all. Once only in charge of that “fancy tech stuff”, practitioners today find themselves strapped as it’s all fancy tech stuff now – and business outcomes are intrinsically related to digital outcomes.
Simply put, if you’re up on your digital processes, the business moves ahead. If you’re behind, so is business. And when the average cost of IT downtime is $5,600 per minute, that resource loss is unsustainable. How to do more with less? The answer is IT operations automation.
What Is IT Operations Automation?
IT Operations automation is finding ways to maximize efficiency in your day-to-day ops by removing clunky manual processes. It covers application testing, event monitoring, file management, database processing, and even security monitoring. Anything that reduces the need for humans to perform perfunctory IT tasks – and increases the reliance on technology to force multiply IT operations – falls under this umbrella.
The Struggle of IT Teams Today
Today’s IT teams are striving to keep the ship afloat while dealing with a sea of everyday problems. IT operations automation is a direct response to those challenges. They include:
- Budget Constraints: Today’s IT teams are throwing everything they have at the problem – and it’s still not enough. In 2023, 42% of executives reported that budget constraints were their roadblock to innovation. To some extent, the industry must have gotten the message; Gartner predicts worldwide IT spending will rise by 8% in 2024. However, with digital enterprises experiencing exponential IT growth, it remains to be seen if the boost will be enough.
- Resource Shortages: We are still on the quest to close the perennial cybersecurity workforce skills gap. One industry survey revealed that 74% stated their inability to manage their cybersecurity posture was being negatively affected by a lack of security resources. This, in turn, impacts business. Automating IT operations can replace the need to onboard, train, and insure people who simply aren’t available to hire, or bridge the gap between services your team needs and skills they currently don’t possess.
- Hyper Complex Environments: Hybrid work, cloud-based workloads, containerization, lengthy supply chains, and lingering on-premises environments all present a layer of complexity not present in the networks of even ten years ago. These new challenges require new solutions.
While these problems always existed, recent digital booms, technologies, and changes have made them impossible to cope with using traditional methods alone. Simply put, if you’re not digitizing, you’re falling behind.
How Your Team Can Benefit From IT Operations Automation
The top advantages of automated operations, particularly in IT, include:
- Lower operational costs: No more paying for redundant and unnecessary work. These tasks are still getting done, but with fewer hours spent per project, those resources can be allocated somewhere else. For example, automation software can dynamically provision/deprovision virtual machines, saving admins time. Nightly batch or balancing processes can also be automated, so companies don’t need to hire someone to monitor and manage overnight or on-call workers to do the job.
- Increased productivity: Spend less time on repetitive, tedious work and more time on strategic tasks. By automating IT tasks like password resets, applying patches, provisioning users, or generating reports–teams can feel a little less stretched and a little more productive.
- Improved reliability: Automating your IT workload means automating batch transfers, simultaneous workloads, and save and recovery systems. Continuous monitoring lets you spot performance trends before they become a problem. If you are taking the time to deploy and utilize these IT processes, automation helps you do so with peace of mind by helping them run predictably and dependably.
- Visibility: As digital ecosystems expand, especially across cloud architecture, it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain full visibility over your environment. Manually scouring logs of siloed solutions for information isn’t practical, much less possible. By bringing your automated workflows and processes together into a centralized platform, you can see everything running in your environment – what’s currently running or completed, relationships, and historical views.
- Efficiency: When your qualified experts are spending less time innovating and strengthening the business and more time on manual tasks like scripting, batch processing, or file transfers, the organization has an efficiency problem. Automated IT processes means a digital coworker takes these tasks, works 24/7 with no need for holiday or vacation time and is faster, more cost-effective, more accurate, and ultimately, more efficient.
Diving Deeper Into IT Operations Automation: 10 Use Cases
If you think of all the most tedious tasks you or your team do every day, there’s a good chance that any one of them can be automated. Or all of them. Here are ten examples for automating IT.
GUI Automation | Marketing company Vestcom used GUI automation to save their team up to 200 hours per week in manual customer print jobs. Using drag and drop development, they were able to mimic user actions, like mouse and keyboard input, to automate processes involving clicks, field inputs, image recognition, and scrolling. They ultimately created automation routines for over 300 custom processes, tailored to each of their customers’ accounts.
ETL & Database Processes | SharkNinja leveraged a centralized task scheduler to run jobs for the majority of its applications. Instead of moving files manually and kicking off constant refreshes, their team now relies on file watchers and job triggers to automatically transfer files according to custom rules and create real-time reports.
Batch Processing | Chicago trading firm Matlock Capitol needed to scale IT operations without increasing overhead. They used a batch automation solution to take control of production scheduling across the enterprise from a single point, allowing them to monitor the performance of many independent jobs across multiple operating systems in multiple locations – all from a simple, singular console.
Data & Nightly Backups | Celina Insurance Group used robotic process automation (RPA) to streamline nightly balancing operations, including file transfer, automated backup, and auditing thousands of daily changes. This removed the need to cross-train a second shift system administrator, a role that required a lot of training and experienced high turnover. Using RPA, they were able to have a bot remote into the system’s hardware management console server and initiate commands, essentially automating the entire month-end processing procedure.
Report Distribution | Reporting and analytics firm Tymetrix was failing to meet customer demands for real-time data. Leveraging an automated job scheduler, they were able to transfer workloads across Windows Task Scheduler, Orsyp and SQL command script into a singular, automated solution and convert 400 jobs in the process. Because of its SQL back-end, they could query the entire job scheduler database when automating tasks, giving them the ability to create accurate, real-time legal billing and matter management reports for their customers – without having to manage a host of disparate systems.
Onboarding and Offboarding | Avoid the burnout by automating the tedium that is onboarding. RPA can automate user provisioning for tools like Microsoft Exchange and Active Directory, saving your team hours in paperwork and never requiring them to code. When a new employee is added to your roster, RPA can help you remove or add access to applications, audit permissions, and edit distribution lists. It also handles change requests like contact information changes, password resets, information updates, and payroll changes.
Event Log Monitoring | Cement transport company St. Mary’s CBM needed to keep track of 400 ready-mix concrete trucks at a time, and real-time network communication between its vehicles and fleet management software was key. They went from having no way of knowing when a network failure had happened (unless you count an angry phone call) to getting automatically notified when an error had occurred thanks to an automated Event Log trigger and pre-programmed “send email” command from their automation solution.
File Movement | Marketing company Maritz used a workload automation tool to automate batch scripts and transfers. They were even able to leverage PowerShell capabilities to further automate jobs within the tool, and an automated job template “[shaved] off hours and possibly days of work”. To gain internal support, they demonstrated how a 45 second file transfer in the old way took no more than a second with new workload automation software.
Service Management | The nation’s largest credit union organization found it difficult to keep up with a host of payment processing services, several 24/7 contact centers, member websites, and more than 16 million inquiries per year. Using RPA, they were able to create a laundry list of hands-off tasks, saving the company 400 hours per month and tens of thousands of dollars in custom scripting. This business process automation platform allowed users to create custom sequences by dragging and dropping pre-programmed actions like “Open Webpage”, “FTP Logon”, and “Send Keystroke” into a visual task-building window.
Help Desk Management | Helpdesk management especially benefits from the force-multiplying power of automation. Using an automated process automation solution, teams can generate, receive, and process tickets automatically and convert additional manual tasks like resetting user passwords, remediating systems and virtual machine outages, and generating new users in Active Directory as they get onboarded.
Nearly every aspect of business is affected in some way by IT operations. Freeing up space and time there typically unblocks a lot of other processes downstream, resulting in a “rising tide lifts all ships” phenomenon that rewards the company in time, simplicity, and more scalable success.
Modernizing Your IT Operations with 5 Automation Trends
Today’s technology trends are the headwinds that rule the seas we’ll all be sailing on in the near future. It’s important to know which way the tide is turning.
Hyperautomation | “If it can be automated, it should be automated” is the mantra of hyperautomation. It differs from automation alone in that it seeks to automate every process, across any niche. For example, it means not only investing in RPA, but in workload orchestration, secure file transfer, artificial intelligence, and more.
Service Orchestration and Automation Platforms (SOAPs) | SOAPS are workload orchestration technologies that operate across platforms, applications, environments, and infrastructures. These are made to handle the demands of big data, the cloud, and hybrid environments across all types of architectures.
AIOps | Coined by Gartner, Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) is the umbrella term for artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data analytics, and other AI tools that serve the purpose of streamlining IT operations processes.
NoOps | No Operations, or NoOps, is the essentially “net zero” IT operations management. It is the concept that IT ops automation could become so ubiquitous that there is no longer the need for a dedicated team in-house.
Citizen Developers or Business-Driven IT | “Citizen Developers” are making a name for themselves as untrained digital vigilantes, or non-technical employees motivated to automate the repetitive aspects of work. These scrappy warriors utilize low-to-no-code automation tools like RPA specifically to redefine their workplace, its flows, and their roles.
How to Use Fortra’s Automation Suite to Automate and Orchestrate Your IT Operations
Fortra’s automation suite provides a range of technologies designed to transform the way your IT Ops gets things done, and future-proof your operational processes so that they can scale as effectively as you can.
- JAMS | JAMS is a leading workload automation and job scheduling solution. It provides centralized, single-pane-of-glass management and visibility across multiple environments (services, applications, platforms). With the ability to force-multiply finite resources by managing, monitoring, running, and orchestrating everything in your IT Ops domain, it ensures smooth automation without disrupting existing operations. With JAMS, get the flexibility needed to adapt to changing business environments, safeguarding longevity and adaptability of your IT operations.
- Automate | Automate stands out for its scalable, user-friendly RPA for IT and business users that features low-code development. It seamlessly integrates with other applications via UI, API, or native actions and can be leveraged as a handy DIY job builder for rule-based, repetitive tasks. What’s more, your jobs can be easily orchestrated in JAMS to maintain IT visibility and control.
- Automate Intelligent Capture | This intelligent document processing software makes sense of all data types, making document data usable across the organization. Automate Intelligent Capture simplifies document processing with intelligent extraction and classification, using AI, ML, and Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to get the job done. Even better, there is no template building required, it’s easy to maintain, and due to its AI-powered capabilities, it only gets smarter over time.
- Automation Connector Hub | Check out the Automation Connector Hub and discover Fortra’s free, pre-built connectors designed to integrate with your existing Fortra software and further streamline your IT operations.
If this information is helpful to you read our blog for more interesting and useful content, tips, and guidelines on similar topics. Contact the team of COMPUTER 2000 Bulgaria now if you have a specific question. Our specialists will be assisting you with your query.
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