Organizations lean on IT as the foundational force for helping the business succeed, even more so when stakes are high, and the future is unpredictable. Considering the countless tasks and processes carried out in IT, automation is no longer a nice to have. It’s a requirement for starting, and maintaining, a system of consistency that supports the business through instability and uncertainty.
Leaders don’t easily let go of hesitations about getting started with automation, despite its ability to drive business outcomes. For example, some believe the manner of their configurations and processes is too unique and complex to be automated, and some have yet to realize the direct business impact of automation. However, even processes that operate at the highest level of intricacy can be translated into automation.
Automation implementation should only begin after careful consideration. What’s keeping the business from thriving? What tasks need automation most? What does the organization want to achieve with automation? Without doing enough homework, organizations are too likely to fail on their automation goals. The need for a structured, thoughtful approach to automation couldn’t be clearer.
Here at Resolve, we’ve combed through insights from successful automation journeys, and we’re using deep expertise to help IT teams get started with automation, keep the ball rolling, and earn exponential business gains.
The Idea Behind Good-to-great IT Transformation
The year was 2011 when Jim Collins was asked to serve as the Class of 1951 Chair for the Study of Leadership at the United States Military Academy. Beginning in 2012, the best-selling author of “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t” would visit West Point seven times over the next two years to deliver seminars on discernible characteristics of great military leaders.
Collins “got schooled,” Inc.com Editor at Large Bo Burlingham wrote in his headline, describing how Collins learned all-new leadership aspects from the West Point cadets – the people he’d expected to teach. During his time in the chair, as he puts it, Collins gained new perspectives on failure as a learning experience, growth versus success, serving others despite competition, and living a purposeful life.
These lessons focus on personal success, but Collins’s expertise pertains to organizational leadership – from where “Good to Great” stems. The 2001 book also introduced the “The Flywheel” – the ever-famous concept that good-to-great transformations never happens in one fell swoop.
“Big things happen by pushing on a giant, heavy flywheel,” Collins said. “You start pushing in an intelligent and consistent direction, and after a lot of work you can get one giant, slow, creaky turn. But you don’t stop.”
Eventually, relentless momentum enables you to reach millions of flywheel turns. The tiny things done very well compound over time, according to Collins.
“We see tremendous consistency in any truly great enterprise,” he said. “The signature of mediocrity is not an unwillingness to change, but the true signature of mediocrity is chronic inconsistency.”
If the state of business going into 2024 has proven anything, it’s that inconsistency, among many other flaws, set businesses up for failure in today’s era of economic uncertainty and fast-paced innovation. By creating a process and gaining momentum — like turning a ginormous flywheel that weighs a ton — organizations can adopt a perpetual cycle to grow success across all departments, including IT.
Putting the Resolve Automation into Action
Built from a collection of insights gathered over years of automation implementation, The Resolve Automation Flywheel is used to break down the steps of intelligent IT Process Automation success – the goal that comes after plenty of momentum and consistency.
The best way to ensure continued return on investment (ROI) is by thinking of success through a framework to get started and pick up speed along the way. Just like an actual flywheel, the automation process becomes a continuous, rhythm-based cycle.
As organizations adopt the flywheel, they should do so with the goal of passing through each step with a focus on jumpstarting the motion, and then improving and iterating along the way. Sure, an organization might want to provide the best-ever employee onboarding experience, but they’ll need to automate each of the multiple activities or sub-processes along the way, with the ultimate goal of producing bigger business outcomes.
4 Steps of Resolve’s Intelligent IT Process Automation Success Flywheel
1. Identify automation potential
What should we automate? Most enterprises start their automation journeys here. It’s not a question of finding opportunities to improve efficiency and tasks to automate strategically, but it’s more about what makes the most sense for the business. Tasks most suitable for automation will most powerfully alleviate key pain points that IT teams face today or advance business goals for the organization as a whole.
We at Resolve have defined best practices for determining ideal starting points. For example, organizations have a wealth of data at their disposal that tells a story, including ticket data. The most high-value tickets, if they can be automated, are top candidates for automation.
Additionally, a healthy pipeline of automation use cases comes from going back to the design board and asking the right questions to assess business priorities and objectives.
2. Design and map the process for automation
Often the most overlooked step of the journey, designing and mapping out the process for automation is one of the most important. Designing automations takes into consideration the IT process as a whole. It defines the stakeholders involved, maps the handoffs and approval process (if needed), and most importantly maps the process out.
At Resolve we cannot emphasize enough the importance of designing automations, which starts with multiple stakeholders meeting to map the current state of the process. This step reveals inefficiencies, highlights pain points, and defines challenges in the process itself – illustrating a service blueprint for organizations to use to optimize the process and establish a “future state.”
3. Implement automations
The path to implement automations can be filled with mistakes and wasted time. With the right tools and processes in place, implementation can very quickly spiral out of control and become an IT horror story.
Resolve does more than provide a robust, enterprise-ready platform that’s purpose-built to handle IT complexity – we bring in expertise to help teams get started on their very first automation. We supply a time-tested plan that focuses on building a workflow (mapped out in the previous step) with Resolve Actions, an IT process automation (ITPA) platform.
4. Measure and report ROI
How will your organization measure success? Leadership speaks the language of success, so the business value of automation must translate accordingly. Measuring automation value allows organizations to gain better insights from data and processes, and from there, make decisions to approve and fund automation initiatives based on a more comprehensive business case.
A holistic approach to identify and prioritize automation opportunities helps automation efforts align with business goals and objectives.
Measuring automation value is an integral part of the automation flywheel as first and foremost, business leaders will want to know its return on investment (ROI), the expected return on the implementation of automation relative to its initial cost. With a few basic inputs from the pre-automation days, Resolve Actions can report on additional business metrics like cost and time savings from each automation run, and provide a picture of continuous ROI over time.
Resource allocation becomes more effective with a strategy-based view, allowing businesses to focus on high-impact automation that delivers significant value and satisfactory ROI, and drives efficiency and cost savings.
From the very first flywheel push, an automation journey should be considered a strategy for organizations to take a structured, purposeful approach to increase business outcomes. The strategic path ensures alignment between automation efforts and the company mission and vision, promoting long-term success and growth.
Reach out to Resolve to begin your “good to great” automation journey, and enable your business to thrive.