Just as no automaker would run without robotic systems on its factory floor, or no drug company would fill bottles by hand, automation will be increasingly common in core IT operations to enable the business to compete effectively. Many IT functions, from resetting passwords to resource provisioning, involve repeatable steps that can be codified into standard operating procedures and then automated.
Businesses are automating as many processes as possible to cut costs, improve productivity and provide better customer experiences – and IT operations should not be the exception to this emerging rule. An efficient and agile IT foundation is essential for digital business, which requires fast and easy scaling of new products and services, driven by next-generation technologies.
Further, internal business users and external customers interact directly with IT more often as technology becomes central to delivering products and services, whether a quarterly business report built with analytics or a self-service portal for a health plan member.
The only way for IT to keep up with these demands is to move beyond manual processes and rely on automation. A wide range of automation tools are now available:
- Robotic process automation (RPA). Software bots, literally lines of code, can connect disparate systems, data and sub-processes, eliminating manual hand-offs and workarounds. With RPA, systems, processes, applications and departments can become more tightly synchronized. In our recent study, over 70% of respondents said they planned to apply RPA to IT.
- Enterprise application automation (EAA).These more sophisticated automation solutions address application integration, business-to-business transactions, business activity monitoring and business process management. Such automation also applies to Agile practices, DevOps, coding and testing. One example could be applying end-to-end DevOps tools for continuous delivery and integration.
- Intelligent process analytics. Automation tools in this category incorporate algorithms to learn from and make predictions based on the data they collect and consume. Using predictive analytics, these systems augment human decision making and analyze data about IT processes to identify areas of improvement.
- Cognitive automation. Conversational interfaces like chatbots, augmented with artificial intelligence and machine learning, can help companies scale operations, increase the speed of innovation and automate decision making. Chatbots can be deployed to handle lower-level service requests, questions and complaints on a 24×7 basis. If a situation requires escalation, the chatbot can feed customer data, both about the current request and previous interactions, to human agents in real time.
IT organizations can then apply these automation tools to a range of core operations to achieve higher levels of service and efficiency. Read the full blog post to learn more about the IT operations suitable for automation.