IT Automation: 8 Use Cases To Increase IT Department's Productivity
Bots & People
8 min read
Many, especially people from IT, think that this department’s processes cannot be automated. They usually believe that IT automation is too complex.
However, that’s not true, at least not entirely. Some are difficult to automate, but plenty can benefit from proper IT automation. What’s more, with the help of structured workflows, you can also ensure an easy shift toward IT process automation (ITPA).
More importantly, IT needs automation. It’s one of the few sectors that constantly:
Performs routine checks
This makes IT a prime candidate for automation.
Many CIOs and other technology execs and leaders are already set on automating and transforming IT processes.
As Gartner’s latest research suggests, 30% of IT operations will be refocused by 2024 through improvements in the digital workplace, largely led by automatic remediation capabilities and analytics.
It’s entirely possible to change the IT department through ITPA, especially in areas like:
Research from McKinsey suggests that 90% of IT teams focus their attention on low-value-adding tasks that are typically prime candidates for automation. In essence, an IT task that can be automated has specific characteristics that make it suitable for ITPA. These characteristics include:
Less need for human intervention
Frequent mistakes or need for revisions
Easy restructuring into fewer precise tasks
Higher quantities of transactions
Explicit manual costs
Naturally, a task doesn’t have to have all of these characteristics to be a good candidate for automation. To make things easier, we wanted to show you a few excellent use cases of IT automation, so you’ll know precisely where automation is the easiest to conduct and where it offers the most benefits.
1. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Download and Upload
Oftentimes IT departments spend a lot of time manually dealing with FTP, constantly uploading and downloading various files through this protocol.
And, of course, this repetitive manual labor takes time — time that can otherwise be used somewhere more important.
However, when you automate this entire process, the whole thing becomes devoid of the need for human intervention. With the help of RPA, you can automate the process both internally and for clients if you want to.
What’s more, automating FTP download and upload only requires manual work the first time, and then IT automation does the task on its own. You only need to provide configuration settings for the first session, and then these settings will become the guidelines for all other sessions.
By adequately setting all of this up, the tool you’re using will continue uploading and downloading files in the right locations and at the proper time.
The best part is that various IT automation tools can be used for this simple yet time-consuming process. Once set up correctly, they can:
Improve the system’s capacity
2. Password Reset
People not in IT would be surprised to learn that as much as 30% of IT tickets are simple requests for a password reset. Even though these are incredibly simple to complete, their sheer volume leads them to cost as much as $300,000 annually at large organizations.
This high volume is not only costly, but it also harms IT employee productivity as IT staff members have to dedicate time to handle all of these simple requests.
The good news is that password reset requests don’t have to be problematic. The whole reset process can be automated with proper end-to-end IT automation, leading it to demand no human intervention.
So, how can this work?
It’s pretty simple, actually. A process can be set up where a relatively simple AI-powered chatbot handles the whole thing:
Autonomously gathers required user information from a file
Checks the username in the designated directory
Resets the password
And that’s it. IT staff have nothing to do here, so they can focus their time elsewhere, where it matters.
What’s more, the ticket volume gets reduced significantly, and the whole reset experience the users get becomes much better. People hate waiting on customer support to handle a ticket, so an AI chatbot that does it almost instantly is always a good alternative.
3. Service Requests
As every member of the IT department will tell you, service requests are incredibly prevalent in their line of work. As the Global CIO Point of View report released by ServiceNow in 2019 says, almost 70% of the IT department’s budget goes to processing various service requests.
One of the main reasons for that is that these service requests include a wide range of things:
Fixing damaged hardware
Debugging internal software tools
Getting a new laptop
Even though these requests have to be done by a person, that doesn’t mean that processing the claims has to be manually completed as well.
Proper workflows can be set up with the help of IT automation solutions to deal with each new request and ensure that IT team members don’t get swamped with too many requests, especially undocumented ones.
What’s more, with proper IT automation, the system can:
Process a request
Assign it to a specific IT employee
Handle the request once the IT member completes the task
The last part is essential because it doesn’t have to require paperwork, so the IT employee doesn't have to waste time handling proper forms, and different departments don’t have to spend time exchanging them.
With the help of IT automation, the IT department can benefit greatly. Here are just some of the advantages:
Improved productivity and performance
Reduced error rates
Fewer monthly incidents
Faster incident resolution time
4. User Management
Whenever a new employee is onboarded, an IT employee has to create a new user account, which entails granting proper access and permission to specific systems, files, and more.
On top of that, the IT staff member has to add and update details in databases like Oracle and Microsoft.
Naturally, all of this is very time-consuming and cumbersome for the IT department, even with lower data volumes.
Thankfully, this is where IT automation can come in handy. A properly set up IT automation bot can start handling a big part of this:
Acquire account automation requests
Create usernames and passwords
Send email notifications to employees (countless other notifications IT staff have to send can also be easily automated with the help of RPA)
This IT automation results in staff members spending less time on these tasks. What’s more, they won’t have to feel like their skills aren’t properly utilized, as user management tasks are elementary and repetitive. It’s much better for a bot to complete them.
With these RPA bots, the IT department will also experience fewer mistakes, as bots don’t make them if they are appropriately set up.
It’s worth mentioning that just as IT automation tools and bots can handle the technical side of the onboarding process, they can equally handle offboarding processes, including deleting users, revoking access, and more.
5. Service Desk
Service desk employees typically have numerous repetitive tasks that require a lot of time to complete. This includes end-user support, email routing, security operations, and more.
Plus, it’s not just that they have to complete the tasks themselves, but they also have to fill in and file the proper documentation when classifying and assigning tickets.
When these tickets reach numbers higher than usual, the employees start getting less responsive, and the tickets take too long to complete.
Intelligent IT automation can completely transform this somewhat dated model of operations:
With the help of machine learning, the IT department can offer self-service for various types of tickets, which will always lead to faster resolutions.
AI can collect user information and create a database that will enable it to better assign and resolve tickets.
As expected, this will lead to higher user satisfaction as there will be no more delays on both self-service requests and tickets that require manual work. Employees will no longer be bogged down with too much work, so they’ll be able to focus on more complicated work. This can result in up to a 50% increase in the department's overall productivity.
On top of that, costs will get more optimized. According to Deloitte, intelligent IT Automation is proven to cut costs by somewhere from 25% to 40%.
6. Asset Management
Whenever employees are onboarded or offboarded, asset management is a vital part of the process. In other words, the IT department has to assign or return various pieces of hardware and software.
This might seem like a simple thing, but with mid-sized and larger companies, it’s a continuous process that involves completing various forms and tracking papers.
With IT automation, the whole thing can become much easier as a lot of the paperwork involved will be automated. What’s more, keeping track of assets becomes largely automated as well.
Here’s how it can work:
In onboarding, a new user can go to IT for their equipment, fill in a digital form where all the details will be recorded, and that’s it. The IT department will confirm the order, and the new user will leave with all the hardware they need.
In offboarding, the IT department gets an automated notification that gives them all the details on the assets that need to be returned so they can easily handle the rest.
As you can see, the IT workers will only have to do the actual manual labor without wasting time on various paperwork and ensuring that all the equipment is accounted for.
The IT automation tools are the ones that list all the assets, monitor their current location continuously, and give automated updates to the IT employees when necessary.
We all know that compliance is not a thing you can easily dismiss. It’s not a joke, and every organization needs to ensure it’s fully compliant with regulatory and safety standards, but also complete proper audits when necessary, all to ensure everyone in the company is following protocols.
This wouldn’t be a problem if it weren’t for the different costs that arise from staying compliant:
A 2020 Coalfire report states that as much as 40% of the entire IT security budget goes to compliance obligations.
The same report shows that more than half (58%) of companies see compliance as a hindrance to joining new markets.
It’s clear that compliance is a burden, but it’s also clear that it has to be followed to the letter. That’s why the leading solution is to entirely alter your compliance strategy in a way that will reduce costs yet keep the organization fully compliant.
The primary way to do that is through innovation, or in other words, through IT process automation.
Various IT automation methods can be employed to automate emails and reminders compliance teams have to send to employees when completing audits and sending reports. Filing away documents from audits can also be fully automated.
Various other compliance tasks can be automated as well. You can start managing tasks and documents in a single place to save time and automate several manual and repetitive processes.
Through various innovative IT automation methods, your organization can save 40-50% on compliance-related costs, as the previously mentioned Coalfire report has shown.
8. Storage Capacity Optimization
Maintaining optimal storage capacity is essential in every company, even more so in an IT organization. IT teams need to continuously monitor disk space to achieve this. For optimal storage space, they must perform clean-ups and other time-consuming and repetitive tasks. This is without counting that all of these tasks become harder over time as more log and temporary files are added to the company’s servers and hard drives.
Thankfully, various IT automation tools can be used to perform routine storage optimization processes. You can employ specific triggers so these tools will clean certain files and reduce the amount of storage used by files the company no longer needs. The tool can start running once disk space reaches a certain capacity level, which is incredibly simple to set. Using specific predetermined commands, it will archive or delete files you’ve flagged as unnecessary.
What’s more, this will allow IT teams to concentrate on other, more critical tasks, and it will enable them to proactively solve any possible issues arising from unoptimized storage space.
IT Automation Use Cases Bottom Line
The IT department works on various tasks and processes, many of which can be automated entirely, or at least to an extent. We’ve listed some of the best use cases that clearly show how beneficial automation can be for the IT sector, its team members, and the company as a whole.
Organizations today need to look into leveraging IT automation and AI technologies to improve the IT department’s performance, as that will lead to significant improvements for the company. You can not only cut costs, improve productivity, and increase employee satisfaction but also better position your business to outperform its competitors.
The Automation Mag Subscribe to get fresh news, hot rumors and deep insights into the world of automation.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
"We got exactly what we wanted. It was strongly practice-oriented and that is exactly what I appreciate so much about Bots & People. For me, that's what sets it apart from other providers."
Project Manager Process Automation in Finance | Internal Control System | FRAPORT AG
Automation Pioneer Program: jointly organized by T-Systems International, RWTH Business School and Bots & People. The aim was to train technology consultants and sales staff in the field of process automation in order to build up in-house expertise.
We particularly liked the comprehensive content coverage of the topics and technologies relevant to us as well as the inspiring lecturers in the virtual classroom as well as in the video. Our colleagues were provided with a holistic view of the topic of hyperautomation, giving them the opportunity to discuss their challenges together with the experts and work out possible solutions.