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Automation in IT

The idea of automated everything gave rise to the industrial revolution and, evolving along with the world, has reached the current stage of the post-industrial society with even more processes and services to be automated.

How can you automate your business processes in a modern company? What tools should you choose and what kind of automation would match your needs?

You process automation strategy should be tailored to your company whether you choose an end-to-end Business Process Automation or limit it to automatic registration of sold items.

Since we are an IT company, our passion is IT automation and its evolution. But, first, what is IT Automation?

IT Process Automation

IT process automation (ITPA), or runbook automation (RBA), is the ability to orchestrate and integrate tools, people and processes through workflow.

Runbook Automation is a category of products that provide the connective tissue between lower-level management applications for networks, systems, applications, etc., and higher-level tools such as a service desk.

ITPA solutions are designed to automate IT processes so that they could improve operational efficiency, mitigate operational risk, reduce costs, offset the negative effects of complexity and improve standards enforcement. They are supposed to coordinate the work, sequence the timing of subordinate workflow, and deliver multiple tasks and services across IT groups and models.

What is an IT Process?

An IT process is a set of tasks (not one action) that an IT manager or operations staff member takes to deal with a certain situation or in response to operational requirements. The idea of an IT process specifically excludes business processes and focuses only on the IT-related spheres, such as preparation and execution of backup procedures, change management including audit capabilities, or establishing new user resources.

What IT Processes Can We Automate?

It is often said that the IT department is usually the least automated division in a company and IT processes cannot be automated due to their complexity and ad-hoc nature. It is more or less a myth that can be overcome by spending a bit more efforts and better understanding of what can be automated and in what way. Some of the areas where automation can add more values include:

  • Change management;
  • Configuration management;
  • Provisioning;
  • Routine maintenance;
  • Identity & access management;
  • Backup and restoration
  • Disaster recovery
  • Data movement

Most of these tasks are repetitive and consume many hours from IT teams. In fact, some of these tasks are relatively easy to automate. Nevertheless, we should be aware that in complex IT environments — particularly when systems are virtualized or cloud-based — implementing IT process automation can be challenging.

Robotic Process Automation

But let’s assume that you are an ordinary office worker and do not care about clouds and configurations on your computer. All you care about is routine work of data entry or batching you on which you spend a couple of hours a day. Every day of your working life!

For end-users, Process Automation comes in another — Robotic — flavor. But do not imagine a metal humanoid figure occupying your desk, In fact, it is another side of IT Process Automation — a software product that interfaces and interacts with applications on behalf of humans. RPA could be programmed to handle repetitive routine tasks without the need for human input.

The difference between RPA and ITPA lies in how each is used as well as in their complexity. Robotic Process Automation is used more at an end-user level to assist office workers who are not necessarily well-versed in programming and other complex IT tasks. ITPA, on the other hand, is leveraged primarily for more complex workflows, such as automating incident management to handle incoming alerts, analyze, verify and prioritize them, notify the appropriate parties and when the desired action is taken, complete the workflow and close the ticket. This is a much more complicated process and is usually overseen by experienced IT professionals

Overall, it can be said that RPA is automation for the end-users while ITPA is more behind-the-scenes process.

Benefits of Process Automation

  • reduced human errors,
  • faster response to mission-critical system problems
  • more efficient allocation of resources. However, achieving these benefits isn’t always trivial.

Which solution is right for you?

There’s no simple answer. To find the right approach, it would be necessary to conduct a thorough needs analysis to determine what features would be required. Still, there are a vast range of options and tools — from simple scripts to complex AI and ML solutions.

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Sciforce

Ukraine-based IT company specialized in development of software solutions based on science-driven information technologies #AI #ML #IoT #NLP #Healthcare #DevOps