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Using task automation to optimize IT efficiency

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IT departments are experiencing a 20% increase year-over-year in demands on IT, according to ServiceNow.

Task automation is the ultimate yet humble solution for taking control of your ever-increasing workload and optimizing IT efficiency.

Stakeholders and end users alike expect IT departments to do everything well. From fixing problems and keeping endpoints safe, to developing new software solutions. By optimizing IT efficiency, you ensure IT capacity is equipped to meet this demand. What that means in business terms is determining where to invest to amass the most rewarding time and cost-savings. A good starting point is your IT helpdesk.

Welcome to the wonderful world of task automation

You might already have a robust workflow automation system for service desk tickets. Tickets will be flowing seamlessly to first-line IT support from within a centralized ticketing system. Great! That’s already helping to cut down your time to respond. But why haven’t you noticed your time to remediation getting any shorter?

Imagine that first line IT support has received a request from a remote worker to fix their VPN. In a non-automated world, the engineer calls the end user to walk them through some troubleshooting steps. They might even request control of their device to remotely fix the issue. After that, if the fix doesn’t work, the ticket is escalated to a Level 2 engineer. Consequently, the end user is unable to do their job and labor costs have just increased.

Multiply this scenario by hundreds or thousands of end users. It’s no wonder helpdesk staff can’t resolve tickets fast enough. Organizations are exceeding budgets and the end user experience is being compromised.

The ideal scenario is having well-equipped, first-line support staff that can remediate problems without the need for escalation.

With task automation, the engineer retrieves data about the end user’s device within the incident form before resolving the issue in the same form. This means your time to remediation is down and your end user satisfaction scores are up. That, in a nutshell, is the power of task automation.

Task automation benefits are multi-layered.

We’ll be focusing on the top-level benefits, but keep in mind that as task automation capabilities advance, the benefits will keep accruing.

End user satisfaction

In the top layer sits the all-important end user. The digital world has pervaded both our personal and professional worlds and blurred our expectations of what technology should do for us and how. So, who is to blame?  The helpdesk staff.

Then, when the fix takes too long, the IT department gets a reputation for being too slow. With task automation, you drastically cut down the number of escalations and increase the number of first-time remediations. That equates to higher user satisfaction and easily met KPIs.

Cost savings

The next layer consists of the cost savings accrued from increased IT productivity. If you can have more Level 1 staff resolving issues themselves – and quickly – then the time savings naturally result in saved labor costs. Your Level 1 support staff are working optimally to give your Level 2 and 3 staff the time to work on innovative projects to increase business value.

Preventative Remediation

Is there a better way to reduce your workload than pre-empting issues before they erupt? If you’ve had to fix the issue once, there’s a high chance you’re going to have to fix it again in future. Within a single, controlled process you can replicate the fix and push it out to all devices that require remediation. Automation also enables self-service remediation that end users can apply at a time and place that suits them. Suddenly you’ve shifted from a reactive strategy to proactive response.

Task automation can have a transformational effect on your IT team’s ability to meet demand. The question shouldn’t be about what to automate but about when is the earliest you can start embracing it for business success.

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