What is IT automation?
IT automation is the process that sets rules for IT tasks so that they can be completed, automatically or upon trigger, by a machine.
Automation leaves humans to work in areas of IT where their efforts are better spent, like strategizing or developing (and not on rote tasks like password resets). In practice, IT automation replaces manual tasks with automatic ones in important areas like:
- Data centers
- Cloud deployments
- Service desk
When it comes to automating IT tasks, there is a broad scope to consider. Automation could be as minimal as automating individual one-off tasks or as intensive as automatic full deployments. IT automation and orchestration are related but different:
- IT automation implies making a routine task automatically repeatable.
- Orchestration is the process of doing this across an entire process or practice so that operations, as a whole, are performed better and more securely.
Some benefits of IT automation
Automations help businesses save time on repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Let’s take a look at this benefit — and others — in more detail.
1. Save time
Automating business processes saves time. It streamlines repetitive tasks, performing work in a fraction of the time it’d take a person to do. In fact, business leaders believe automated processes could save roughly 360 hours every year. Not only can it streamline repetitive tasks, but it also reduces the risk of human error.
2. Improve resource management
A manual process requires more resources. But with automations in place, your processes are shorter. You don’t need all the bells and whistles — like time, money, and materials — to get things done. Research shows that 59% of businesses saw their costs reduced by more than 10% when they automated repetitive tasks.
3. Make your processes more efficient
Imagine you’re the head of sales. Your job involves reviewing incoming leads and allocating them to different sales reps. On average, this takes a couple of hours every day.
Is this the best use of time for the head of sales? In short, no. But the good news is, this process could be much more efficient with automation.
In addition to the value it offers today, this type of automation will undoubtedly impact how the broader workforce operates tomorrow.
Here are just some of the long-term effects it’s likely to have:
1. Employees will become increasingly self-reliant.
With employees able to use the applications they need, get their questions or requests addressed quickly with the help of a bot, and check the status of their tickets on their own, they’ll rely less and less on IT.
This should come as welcome news for IT, as it means that the function can focus more of its time on business-critical, strategic tasks.
2. Employees will have higher expectations for their employer.
Your new hires will soon expect that they get access to their apps right from the get-go; your employees will expect that they can get their day-to-day questions and concerns addressed without human involvement; and your employees will expect that their tickets get resolved quickly.
In other words, IT automation plays an essential role in meeting your employees’ needs and wants.
3. Customer experiences will improve.
With engineers working faster and smarter in resolving any issues, customers are set to receive improved product experiences consistently.
Why is IT automation a growing trend?
The speed at which organizations now work, and the concurrent rise of the DevOps way of working, also fuel the need for automation. DevOps requires paying down technical debt, such as time-sucking manual patches, so people can focus on more important problems.
IT leaders need talent working on strategic priorities today, not drudge work that can be automated. Also, IT people whose companies keep them on drudge work are more likely to leave – for a more innovative environment where they can grow their careers. Automation, in this regard, can help with retention.