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7 key steps for getting your ITSM automation right

As with many things in the ITSM world – or enterprise service management world – it’s worthwhile looking to the successes and mistakes of other organizations when either starting something new or changing the status quo. With this in mind, here are seven key steps in getting your ITSM automation right (and you can add having the required strategy and governance elements in place too):

  1. Understand the difference between “automation” and “orchestration.” A simple way to think of the difference is that automation is setting up a single task to run on its own. Whereas orchestration is the automated execution of many automated tasks – think digital process or workflow.

  2. Look at the return on investment (ROI) – don’t automate “just because you can.” Instead, automate tasks to reap a known set of benefits. Or, more specifically, automate when the benefits of automation outweigh the costs. This might relate to speed, operational costs, error reduction, freeing up valuable people to do other work, or something else.

  3. Understand what can be automated (or orchestrated). The simple answer is that any task that’s highly repetitive and has predictable variability can be automated. If it can be defined, mapped, and the outcomes are predictable, then it can be automated or orchestrated.

  4. Seek to orchestrate when possible. Some tasks, such as a password reset, are usually fairly self-contained. But if you automate tasks without in turn orchestrating the process in which that task executes, it’s just a local optimization. Experienced ITSM practitioners understand the pitfalls resulting from local optimization – and the same applies to automation.

  5. Ensure that a capability is ready for automation (before automating it). The red flags to look out for when deciding this include when tasks or processes are poorly defined or not comprehensive. Or when the defined processes don’t consistently deliver expected outcomes. Or when processes lack transparency or require manual intervention.

  6. Ensure that appropriate automation tools and capabilities are available. Trying to use the wrong technology, or trying to use technology that’s not fit for use for automation and orchestration, is a recipe for both frustration and failure.

  7. Obtain and grow the right skill sets. Successful automation is critically dependent on having the right people with the right skills – design skills, logical thinking and reasoning, organizational knowledge, and more. Please don’t try to automate without the right people.

Hopefully, the above will be helpful in your IT department and wider organization adding much-needed automation to its operations. If you would like to find out more about the opportunities of automation (and orchestration), then please contact us at NOW!

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