September 25, 2014 • Resolve Staffer

Ready to kick off an automation project? IT Process Automation projects can bring many benefits to organizations and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Choosing the proper solution and putting the right strategy in place while planning an automation project are key. Before you begin working on your next automation project, take these three points into consideration.

1. Don’t pick a solution because it helps you automate a small set of your incidents. Think more broadly about the problems that you are trying to address. After years of working with many enterprise and service provider customers, we continue to find that most are just automating about 10-15% of their problems. It’s not their fault. Almost all the automation tools on the market only play to fully automating a problem from end-to-end and this turns out to be difficult, if not impossible to automate a complex problem from end to end. Think about a complex service that you are offering in your environment and think about all the steps AND decisions that your experienced Level 2 and Level 3 agents need to make. There can be hundreds (if not thousands) of permutations based on information that is gathered, tests that are run, etc. that can alter the diagnostic and resolution path that needs to be taken. Focus on solutions that can support not only your end-to-end automation needs but that can also help you with the resolving incidents that cannot be fully automated – using process guidance, decision trees, and partial automations. This will allow you to think more broadly about the real problems you are facing in your environment.

2. Don’t be short-sighted. Think about the longer term items, such as maintenance and support. For many, the thought of automation brings immediate returns – reducing workload, reducing incidents, improving time to resolution. The benefits from the analysis that you perform will quickly outweigh immediate costs, however, you should also take in to consideration long term costs of maintaining the automation and content to make sure that it remains refined and updated. Look for solutions that will minimize this long term cost as well as minimize the effort required to update scripts. The solution should be easy to maintain and should be easy enough for an Level 1 or Level 2 agent to update without having to include a specialized automation engineer or development team. Consider tools that provide the best and quickest return on investment, but also minimize your overall total cost of ownership over time.

3. Don’t choose something that is proprietary. Think more “openly”. Ok, So you’ve been told this at least a dozen times. One wise customer once told me “you don’t know what you don’t know.” The customer believed that we had the best solution for them today, but the reason that they decided to work with us was because we offered them an open platform and the ability to handle scenarios and integrations with systems that they could not anticipate at the start of the project. Once a solution is put in to production and the project is kick-started, there are always “aha” moments whereby you will think of different use cases that need to or can be supported. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you need to make sure that the software solution allows you to grow, to customize easily and to support new integrations.

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