IT Automation: The New Frontier of IT Service Delivery

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By: Arpana Devarhubli|

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In today’s era of digital business, every organization should strive to manage growth while decreasing cost. This is no easy task for IT infrastructure and operations (I&O) departments to execute — and IT automation can be even more complex to handle. The constant pressure to achieve all these goals can be challenging, but effective automation offers a solution.

Challenges in IT Service Delivery

I&O leaders are struggling to stay relevant both within the CIO organization and out to lines of business. The two challenges they face are twofold.

1. Management

  • Maintaining and Improving Service Quality: Services are the lifeblood of the business. I&O leaders must strike a delicate balance between service quality and costs.
  • Addressing New Service Demands: I&O departments have to effectively deploy new services that the business requires. At the same time, they must also scale services on demand to meet peak and asymmetric workloads.

2. Budget

  • New Projects Require Funding: I&O leaders need to contain and reduce maintenance and support costs in order to free much-needed capital for new business technology projects.
  • Staffing Costs Escalate: Increases in maintenance and support costs often correlate with upticks in CIO staffing costs.

How Automation Makes New Waves in IT

Until now, IT automation has been reactive: Only certain manual steps or processes were automated to improve the quality of service. For example, system administrators would script certain actions to save time when resolving issues seen day to day. These scripts were limited to individual use — making just one person’s job easier.

While this reactive approach to automation has provided “incremental benefits,” it can’t handle large-scale issues or massively reduce costs, according to Gartner. Most I&O leaders have realized proactive automation is key to overcoming these challenges. The technology helps solve these issues by :

  • Automating repetitive day-to-day actions that get in the way of solving the problems you want to solve or performing more critical activities.
  • Reducing activities so that only genuine tasks requiring action remain.
  • Escalating to human workers only when necessary and providing assistance by collating necessary information about the problem beforehand.
  • Producing the same response or resolution every time, creating consistent outcomes.
  • Reducing error rates by lessening the possibility of human error.
  • Enhancing service quality and accelerating response and resolution times.
  • Reducing strain on resources so they are available for more strategic initiatives.

The benefits are certainly compelling: Automation improves accountability, efficiency and predictability while reducing cost, variability and risk.

IT processes across computing, network and storage layers in both physical and virtual environments can all be automated. By linking disparate systems and software in such a way that they become self-acting or self-regulating, IT automation frees up employee time for more important tasks. As you can see, IT automation is a vital step to achieve your business goals and lower costs. I think it’s the new frontier for IT service delivery.

Do you agree? Let me know on Twitter.

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About The Author

Arpana Devarhubli

Global Offering Manager for Enterprise IT Services, IBM

Arpana Devarhubli has over eighteen years of IT experience in multidisciplinary support and services roles traversing high profile technology companies. She recently ventured into global offering development and management for enterprise IT automation services.