Streamline your IT with automation to boost talent retention and productivity

In the new technology landscape, digital transformation is the name of the game. By leveraging automation, technicians can achieve more with less and avoid being left behind. The problem with legacy IT service desks is they often utilise manual operations and reactive processes, resulting in detrimental trade-offs in productivity, cost, and end-user satisfaction.  

Despite many Aussie businesses knowing their ticketing and service management practices were outdated prior to the pandemic, they prioritised other activities. Fast forward, and teams are still operating with avoidable bottlenecks and letting things like human error and limited visibility interfere with effective communication, collaboration, and—ultimately—IT. 

COVID-19 was a major wake-up call for business leaders, who are now seeing the value of intervention and innovation, with a hybrid workforce and IT supporting hybrid systems. 

How can business leaders effectively streamline IT?

As employee expectations and needs evolve—especially due to their geographic diversity and reliance on digital resources—IT should be looking towards automation. With IT service management (ITSM) platforms, firms can automate a number of key service management practices and improve response and resolution times to enhance user experience. 

Prior to implementing automation, start where you are and review your existing processes to help identify opportunities to maximise your human resources and boost productivity. 

Accelerate your digitisation process

According to a McKinsey study, businesses have accelerated their digitisation process by 3-4 years, and the share of digitally enabled products in their portfolios has been pushed forward by seven years. Accelerated digital transformation and “digital-first” cultures aren’t a fad: McKinsey also says firms will further spend on modernisation for the foreseeable future.

There are many new systems and processes on the horizon. Defining these initiatives demands a reinvention of the way we service our employees and support the business.

Though the pandemic has been an ongoing tragedy, it has also forced organisations to re-evaluate their technology and operations to be better aligned with the changing needs of the business. With so many opportunities to improve service desk offerings, it’s crucial to realise the value these enhancements will bring to your organisation, users, and stakeholders. 

Avoid workflow bottlenecks

It’s still common for firms to perform manual intakes and processing, which means there remains a chance for human error. For example, after a form is filled out—perhaps for a new piece of hardware or onboarding an employee—service providers must review the ticket.

With multiple technicians involved, the absence of defined triage practices or a set workflow can result in bottlenecks, potentially causing a slowed response and delayed fulfilment. 

An ITSM solution can help drive efficiencies for these processes, as it enables teams to create standardised service request intake forms via a service catalogue. With predefined and even required inputs, tech pros know what information to look for and can seamlessly execute on requests. Admins can optimise incident and request handling by automating the assignment of approvals and tasks, which are then recorded in a consistent, secure, and efficient system.

Implementing routing rules and automated workflows can further help ensure the queue of requests remains active and requesters receive regular status updates. 

When adopting a new ITSM platform, avoid lifting your current processes and shifting them to the new tool. Instead, thoughtfully review your existing workflows and objectives to drive improvements in your service management strategy, design, and delivery. 

Kick off your automation journey

First, identify what’s valuable to your firm and who you’re supporting. Uncovering your audience’s behaviour, understanding their perspective, and knowing the broader goals of the business and its culture can help you understand how your service desk can contribute to your desired outputs. Review the processes, classifications, and routing you have in place.

When evaluating areas for improvement or implementing automation, testing and reconfiguration may be required to successfully accommodate these changes.

In tandem, find out if there are key business applications you need to integrate or if other internal departments should be involved. Taking the time to contextualise current operations and the vision of where you want to expand helps IT think and work holistically.

Whether it’s for bolstering productivity or improving end-user satisfaction, automation can transform the “time sinks” of IT service staff into a well-oiled, automated machine. Business leaders must leverage automation to shift from reactive measures to driving a proactive service management approach capable of bringing long-term goals into fruition.

Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek and Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager at SolarWinds. He is a dedicated technologist with over a decade of experience spanning capacity planning, server architecture, and troubleshooting.

Chrystal Taylor, Head Geek at SolarWinds