Modernizing ITSM through Automation: A Three Step Plan (Part 3)

Modernizing your ITSM through automation

We have reach the final post in this series about IT Service Management (ITSM) automation. In the first post, we identified the need to re-evaluate processes. In the second, we discussed initial steps that you could take to achieve quick wins. Onto the third step.

Advanced Maturity Steps for Enterprise Value

As you and your team master the basics of automation within your own environment, you can now start to search for further opportunities to improve and extend automation. Those of you at the more advanced stages of your ITSM journey may now have your own immediate environment operating effectively and are working beyond the service desk across the IT organization or even across the enterprise. For those ready to participate in more advanced steps, you can accelerate productivity by harnessing process automation across ITSM operations and wider enterprise systems.

Asset Visibility

Taking the example described in Step 2 of the Adobe Acrobat request from an end user via self service. Connected to request management is the management of assets used to fulfill requests. The discovery, import, reconciliation, and synchronization of your asset data from asset management databases into your ITSM environment will benefit from an automation layer. Your ITSM Configuration Management Database (CMDB) is dependent on the accuracy of the shared data imported from other systems. Integration and automation of the workflows that bring that data in will offer a more efficient and accurate picture of your assets and services. Once that data is available, it enables visibility over the assets that make up your business services, such as license usage or the cost of licenses, for a faster response to requests, incidents, changes, or other processes that affect business productivity.

Request Fulfilment

At this stage of maturity, you could consider adding additional steps to automate beyond request workflow routing, approvals, and communication stages, through to the fulfilment stages. You can instigating closed-loop automation across IT service management through client or unified endpoint management systems capable of deploying software; creating a zero-touch fulfilment system for certain requests gives time back to your team as well as providing your end users with a modernized ITSM app store style experience.

Event Management

Imagine the creation of an efficient self-healing environment whereby you can automatically turn data into actions that positively impact your operations. By using event management—the  capturing of alerts from any source like IT monitoring tools integrated with service management systems—you  can now handle the detection, routing, recording, escalation, communication and potentially apply fixes to issues within your IT environment. Use automatic self-healing loops before the business is even aware. By doing this, you minimize the reactive fire-fighting position that your team finds themselves in when business users report issues.

Automate Lines of Business

Once you have reviewed carefully your internal IT processes, consider looking beyond traditional processes. Why not deliver a similar benefit for other service management teams such as human resources? For example, automating the HR on-boarding process ensures that when a new employee reports for duty, he or she won’t be kept waiting for their equipment, email box setup or other tasks that would hinder productivity and impinge motivation. For HR, it avoids time wasted following up on requests and emails. You and the ITSM team provide business value across other departments that enables them to be more effective.

Automating processes within IT service management enables you to attain a higher level of consistency, execution and improved end-user experiences. The review you conduct prior to automation ensures that, in the future, your processes meet the needs of your users, are easy to maintain, and are scalable. Then, as you start your journey taking a phased approach, you ensure your IT administrators and service management teams retain control over IT maintenance and operational process flows while working more smoothly. Teams begin to benefit from faster resolution and lower problem frequency while bottlenecks, duplication of work, poor links, and interaction experiences between departments become a thing of the past. By freeing up time, you can support new business initiatives and still offer the experiences your end users demand.

In these three blogs, I’ve provided just a few practical examples, based on what our own customers are doing today and the benefits they receive; but there are many others, for example Princeton Healthcare automates routing for auditing purposes:

“Using Service Desk,” said Ed Henry, director of technology at Princeton HealthCare Systems, “we created routing rules which allow us to show auditors line by line why a security or change request was necessary, who approved it, and the exact date and time it happened. Before, when we were doing audits manually, it wasn’t uncommon to have a number of findings against us, but now we pass audits with flying colors.”

And at SQL, they are gaining new information about spending

“Previously, if an employee wanted a new laptop, or even a desk fan, there used to be a lengthy paper trail that was internally mailed or scanned and emailed to managers for approval. Now, we have a fully automated workflow in place, with pre-approvals for selected individuals, saving time and offering us new insight into spending,” said Debi Brockett, Head of Service – IT Operations, Scottish Qualifications Authority.

You can read more about these two customers and others on our website.

But I’m sure you have many more examples in your own environments that you can think of. If there are specific processes that you’d like help automating, why not get in touch or leave a comment.