IT automation is taking the business world by storm. Virtually every industry can benefit from automation —if you have an IT department, you can automate your IT processes. An enterprise workload automation solution poses endless benefits to organizations, from increased efficiency and resource savings to the lack of manual intervention, and so much more. However, there are times when organizations tumble into an automation pitfall. To avoid these trip-ups, Gartner has researched and identified 5 of the most common IT Automation pitfalls and how I&O leaders can avoid them and drive their organizations in the right direction.
5 Common IT Issues
- Shortage of IT Automation People and Skills
- Lack of Documentation for Existing Processes
- Cultural Resistance
- Lack of Standards and Process Expertise
- Loss of Focus and Traction
Solutions for Common Problems in IT
With these major automation pitfalls in mind, it can be stressful preparing for an automation solution. No department leader wants to be the one with the new solution that didn’t work out; proper planning and time dedication prior to implementation is crucial in ensuring that your organization doesn’t get caught up on one of these snares.
First and foremost, I&O leaders need to ask themselves "are we ready for this change?" If the answer isn’t an immediate yes—preparation is in order. IT teams need to be as strong as possible, in terms of skills, knowledge, cooperation, and dedication. With so many applications and technologies being released, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified, trained IT staff. Organizations need to allot the appropriate amount of time to finding experienced team members, who have expertise in automation, not just the knowledge of it. That way, they can accelerate the automation initiative when they start, and even train your existing staff. Your IT staff must consist of positive minded people who hold the needs of the organization highest in priority.
The first step of preparation is education. No automation solution will be successful unless each department understands why they are initiating this change. Department leaders can explain the benefits of automation to staff, perform demos of the new technology, and alleviate concerns about changes in routine and workplace culture.
A key stage in implementing any new software or solution is goal setting. Set goals, and regularly monitor and maintain them. Gartner research states that the main reasons why organizations choose to automate processes are efficiency, cost reduction, risk mitigation, and predictability. These goals (along with others that are subject to every different organization) must be defined and understood prior to implementation, and later measured to ensure that success is being met throughout the processes. Document goal development throughout the process so that team members do not lose touch with the progress.
In addition to documenting goal development, documentation is also critical prior to bringing the solution into the organization. It is key that IT staff understand processes before they automate them, and that every process is transcribed and recorded —whether it be a major operation or a menial day-to-day task. Automation will only be successful if the processes being automated are well defined, comprehended, and maintained.
The key to a successful implementation of an automation solution is understanding. IT needs to understand why the department is turning to automation, individual members need to understand the processes they are choosing to automate, and goals need to be understood by the entire organization.
Implementing any new solution into any organization can be time consuming, complex, and confusing—automation is no different. Nonetheless, by concentrating on the increased efficiency, reduced costs, and mitigated risk that automation will deliver, ensuring the organization understands the motives behind automating, and focusing on avoiding the 5 major pitfalls, automation initiatives can be successfully implemented within the organization.
SThree, a global leader in the recruitment industry, understands just how important preparation and understanding is. When first implementing an automation solution, they initially had trouble deciding what to automate and when. They weren’t sure where to place their focus, and they were not properly prepared. Once they decided to make understanding a priority, they saw success. SThree now states that automation has essentially become their right-hand-man, and that whenever they want to run a process through their operations team, their first thought is to automate it. Read the case study here: