As businesses look to gain efficiencies, automation is gaining ground as a differentiator. For example, Robotic Process Automation helps organizations accelerate their digital transformations. The main value driver of automation is allowing top talent to do more ‘high value’ work. In the managed services space, that means delivering a higher level of service to our clients.
Organizations outsource technology management for any number of reasons. One theme we hear is that an organizations current team or provider couldn’t deliver value beyond break/fix. “We’ve kind of outgrown what we have” is common theme and we often hear ‘they couldn’t serve our changing needs’ or ‘they weren’t partnering with us on growth.’ So how does automation affect our ability to deliver greater value and to partner with our clients on growth? It all comes back our people.
"Intelligent automation will alter the provision of managed workplace services over the next few years, increasing service quality at a lower price."
Wait, I thought automation replaced the people?
We’ve got a smart, dedicated team. They pride themselves on their technical acumen and on providing superior levels of service to our clients. They can’t do as much of that if they’re up to their elbows in Entra ID (formerly known as Active Directory), setting up a new user, or deleting temp files off a drive to clear up space. Nonetheless, these are frequent tasks that need to be completed.
So what can be done?
You’ve created run books on how to complete certain tasks and identified all the steps we need to take to ensure the task gets completed correctly. Now, execute! If a task is described by a run book or a checklist, it is usually a good candidate for automation. If you’ve gone through the effort of writing the checklist, you’re most of the way to the requirements needed to allow the robot to do that task. Once you identify what level of access is needed to perform the task, and have a test plan in place, the automation can proceed quickly.
Testing is critical.
One of the big benefits of automation is consistent delivery. When automating a task/activity, its important to perform a series of tests to run through to ensure the script does what it is supposed do every time it is run. Logging a robot’s outputs and updating ServiceNow system with each activity the script performs is another critical step. This ensures good visibility into what occurred during the process. If a change or update occurs in the script, you can run it through tests and make sure it still performs as expected.
In the end, people are humans and humans have errors. People often miss a step on the checklist or get distracted when things get busy. Automation allows for predictable, repeatable and consistent delivery.
"Price is what you pay. Value is what you get."
— Warren Buffet
For our team, automation allows better engagement with our clients, and provides our team the opportunity to do more interesting and varied work. This enables the team to partner with client teams to provide a level of service beyond the ‘keep the lights on’ IT. For example, we’ve helped clients run proof of concepts for new systems, map out their journey to the cloud, and safeguard the security their systems against a growing threat landscape. The team can do those things because we’re working to let the ‘robots’ do some of the basics.
With an automation mindset, you can start to transform how your organization works. Teams start look at their workload and ask why they’re performing certain tasks, and if those might be better work for the robot. If you’re interested learning more about how our team leverages automation or want to discuss where automation can add value to your business, contact us.
by Corey Dean