Automation is no longer the controversial buzzword it used to be. Today, it’s a catalyst for digital transformation and a beneficial solution for maintaining agility during times of change.
For IT teams that are under-resourced and overworked, IT process automation (ITPA) alleviates the burden of manual and repetitive work and creates more time to innovate, enforce security requirements, and respond to business team needs more quickly.
Here we’ll define IT process automation, the proven benefits of ITPA, and the kinds of tools IT teams can leverage to effectively solve common department pain points and empower the business side.
What is IT process automation?
ITPA refers to the use of automation technology — like business process automation software — to streamline high-volume, repetitive tasks and eliminate the manual management of IT operations, such as administration, services, and support.
The goal of IT process automation is to free up resources within the IT team by taking repetitive tasks off their plate. Think: sharing emails to multiple people, following up on status updates, responding to service requests, and sending out security or training reminders. When these repetitive tasks are automated, IT teams can devote more time to the value-adding activities of the business.
How does IT process automation work?
ITPA follows a logical sequence of events: starting trigger, automated tasks or activities, and end result. Workflows are designed so that when a predetermined event occurs, the specified workflow containing specific triggers is alerted, automatically setting into action a sequence of responses.
For example, let’s say a remote employee has decided to leave the company, and their equipment needs to be returned. The trigger could be activated when the employee’s offboarding process begins. IT receives an automated notice of the departure and the employee receives an email with a list of the equipment that needs to be returned, along with the mailing instructions. Once the equipment is returned, IT updates the status, triggering notifications to HR and Finance teams.
6 benefits of IT process automation
While automating manual work is a big perk of ITPA, the real business value of ITPA lies in the additional, more tangible benefits, including:
- Improved accuracy: For teams that deal with highly sensitive information, accuracy is essential. Automation replaces the human element and reduces the opportunities for errors by eliminating unnecessary inputs, like data-entry and updates, ensuring processes are secure and compliant.
- Streamlined communication and collaboration: Communications gaps are eliminated or minimized when emails, feedback requests, and other types of communication are automated. And when communication is automated, teams are better equipped to collaborate — within their own department and cross-functionally.
- Faster response times: Whether it’s a mission-critical system failure or an employee that needs a new computer, response time is everything. By using automation to organize and escalate service requests, teams are able to respond and solve problems faster.
- Better visibility: Never lose track of a ticket or urgent request again. When the progress of tasks is automated, updates don’t rely on manual inputs, managers are always in the know and on top of workflow updates.
- Increased productivity: Employees who aren’t bogged down by repetitive tasks have more time to be strategic, creative, and proactive.
- Process standardization: Consistent process frameworks that can be easily repeated makes it easier to manage and optimize processes as needs change, and enforce security requirements — for IT and beyond.
Low-code automation for ITPA
Low-code business process automation (BPA) software makes it easier for users to build, modify, and standardize their processes, all without any coding experience.
Low-code automation resolves the familiar tension between the business team’s need for agility and the IT team’s need for control. Low-code BPA tools let teams build and automate the processes they need, without compromising security, adding to the IT backlog, and reducing the use of shadow IT.
Plus, low-code software includes three crucial capabilities in a single platform: a database, an intuitive user interface, and a rules engine for easy automation.
|How IT teams leverage and enhance automation|
|62% heavily rely on triggered actions|
|44% use automation for long-running, multi-user processes|
|34% use automation for guided self-service|
|28% use decision assist/AI|
|28% leverage chatbots|
|23% use robotic process automation|
|89% of IT and engineering leaders integrated third-party tools to enhance automations|
10 essential low-code automation features for IT
With the number of automation platforms available, it can be difficult to decide which option is best — but it doesn’t have to be. Below is a breakdown of 10 essential low-code BPA features and benefits IT teams can leverage to help streamline and standardize IT workflows:
Examples of IT processes that can be automated
IT service request management
An urgent request is sent to the IT service desk and needs to be addressed immediately. Because the request is labeled as urgent, it automatically bypasses the backlog and is escalated to the priority log. This priority trigger also automatically alerts the team and is assigned to the department lead for immediate attention. The request is addressed within a reasonable time without causing work delays.
A new remote hire needs equipment issued out as part of their onboarding process. For remote employees, receiving equipment on time is essential.
With automation, the onboarding process is automatically kicked off once the new hire submits their paperwork and the recruiter or hiring manager reviews and approves. The information is organized and logged. Teams are able to connect processes, eliminating manual rework and automatically alerting assigned owners when their input or approval is required.
Because information is automatically pulled and tracked between steps, the IT team has full visibility and receives accurate information, such as start date, personal email, home address, etc., necessary for issuing work equipment.
Why IT needs low-code automation
Handling service requests. Managing hardware. Working with engineers to solve bugs. Monitoring and enforcing compliance and security. These are the many functions of IT teams, and the successful execution of these functions is what keeps companies running smoothly and securely.
ITPA brings clarity to the complexity that is managing multiple workflows across various IT processes and company departments. By leveraging tools like low-code BPA software, teams are able to streamline operations and bridge the gap between the business and IT.