Despite the growing need and popularity, intelligent IT automation is still viewed by many as something that’s incredibly complicated, requiring massive resources and a significant investment of time and money. But while automation can certainly be leveraged to handle complex processes and workflows, it doesn’t have to be that way to start. To the contrary, the simplest solution is to start small, tackling “low hanging fruit” to achieve quick and measurable ROI.
Let’s explore 10 basic IT tasks that can easily be automated to free up resources and drive greater efficiency.
According to Gartner, between 20% to 50% of all help desk calls are for password resets. Furthermore, Forrester Research estimates that the average cost for a single password reset is around $70. Automating this one basic task can reduce the burden on your support staff and save your organization some serious cash. In fact, the entire process can be executed without the need for any human intervention, boosting productivity by reducing down time for the end-user.
Manual employee onboarding can be incredibly time-consuming, placing a significant strain on IT, HR and other departments. This is especially the case for organizations with a high volume of new hires. Furthermore, according to SHRM, the average cost per hire comes out to just over $4,000. Even if your organization is spending a portion of this amount, automating this process will generate immediate returns. It will also get new employees up and running faster, which will contribute to higher productivity.
The daily workload of a VM administrator is littered with manual tasks and inefficient processes. However, in the event of a disaster, getting a virtualized infrastructure up and running offsite as quickly as possible can be critical to an organization’s continuing operations. Automating routine VM tasks, and turning some of them into self-service functions with an intelligent chatbot interface, can reduce the burden of IT staff, freeing them up to focus on other, more strategic projects.
Infrastructure complexity can lead to alert storms, which can overwhelm IT staff and negatively impact MTTR metrics. Manual alert response - especially for common, routine incidents - is an inefficient use of highly paid personnel. It’s also extremely prone to error, needlessly time-consuming, and unsustainable over the long term as demand for resources increases. Automating this process can dramatically reduce L1 labor requirements while ensuring best practices are applied to every incident.
One of the most frequent causes of unscheduled downtime for applications is critical disk space shortfalls. Something as simple as fast-growing log files that consume disk space, can cause a server to crash, which can lead to downtime and hours of lost work. Expensive outages can significantly impair enterprise operations. With automation, however, mitigating low disk space incidents is easily achieved.
How many times a day does an IT agent have to restart a service remotely due to frequent changes to application configuration files, service crashes, or the need to release system memory? When this happens, the agent must remotely connect to a server, restart it, check on service availability, and perhaps take other measures – a process that rarely goes quickly. With automation, a workflow can be set up that is either scheduled or triggered via alert. This can ultimately reduce risk and application downtime by up to 90%.
Manually preparing and executing SQL statements can result in bottlenecks for simple, but time-consuming data retrievals. Intelligent IT automation can streamline SQL queries, so they’re executed much faster. Furthermore, automation can also facilitate a self-service mode that enables end-users to conduct their own SQL queries without ever touching your databases. The automated workflow can be either scheduled or run on-demand, per user request, without the need to involve a DBA or anyone from IT.
File monitoring and ensuring data integrity are among the most critical tasks undertaken by System Administrators. Virtually every SysAdmin has had numerous issues with users deleting or changing files then claiming they never touched them. To avoid this, and save your IT team a tremendous amount of time and aggravation, a predefined set of workflows can be set up that automate daily routine tasks on your mission-critical files and folders.
Operating systems, applications, and devices generate a steady stream of log data containing numerical, textual, and other information. This can be invaluable for detecting and resolving issues before they lead to performance problems (or worse); however, it’s unrealistic to manually sift through all this data. IT automation can perform this function much more accurately and far faster than a human ever could. It can also launch workflows to remediate the issues it uncovers, preventing potential outages that might otherwise have gone undetected.
There is a distinct and highly frustrating lack of customization with most patch management tools, which creates a huge pain point for IT teams that need to conform with their unique enterprise SOPs. Automation can augment the pre- and post-patch management process to customize the workflow. It can also be seamlessly integrated with other platforms and tools to create a finely tuned patch management process that works exactly the way you need it to.
Intelligent IT automation doesn’t have to involve a massive system overhaul, nor does it require a huge investment of time, money and other resources. By starting small and automating one or more of the ten manual processes listed above, you can dramatically transform your IT operations to become more efficient and free up your talented employees to focus their skills on more meaningful work.
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