As IT environments grow increasingly complex—and budgets and staff resources shrink—IT teams everywhere are looking for ways to fill the gaps. And they’re turning to IT process automation software. In fact, per Fortra’s recent IT automation survey, 72 percent of users say they’re looking to expand automation within the next year.
Curious how your IT department can utilize a process automation solution? We’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about optimizing your IT processes and maximizing your efficiency in your department.
What is IT Process Automation?
IT process automation (ITPA) is the use of software tools to automate various IT processes and functions. From user provisioning to software updates, ITPA helps IT departments through a mix of technologies that streamline your most repetitive tasks. Utilizing ITPA improves overall IT efficiency so you can optimize your resources and boost productivity.
IT process automation works by integrating systems, applications, departments, and people to reduce bottlenecks and errors, drive innovation, and help IT departments work more efficiently across their entire organization.
What Are the Different Types of IT Process Automation Software?
As mentioned earlier, ITPA involves multiple automation tools to cover every piece of an IT workflow. Fortra’s IT automation survey found that 86 percent of respondents were using up to seven different automation tools in their tech stacks. And while that can feel like a surefire way to experience IT bloat, this holistic approach—also known as hyperautomation—helps users ensure every process can be automated in the best possible way. Plus, there are vendors that offer automation solutions that include multiple approaches to automation to maximize the value of their tools. Here are the most critical types of IT process automation tools to employ:
Robotic Process Automation (RPA)
RPA uses software robots to automate front-end tasks that are repetitive and rule-based to take them off the plates of your human workforce. RPA helps boost productivity by taking away mundane tasks so your team can focus on more strategic projects.
Business Process Automation (BPA)
BPA harnesses the power of RPA to take automation beyond individual tasks to automate entire workflows. BPA encompasses processes that go beyond the IT side of business, enabling organizations to centralize entire workflows for critical functions of your business.
Workload Automation (WLA)
WLA automates the back-end processes that keep your business running. This type of tool brings IT teams centralized orchestration of scripts, batch processes, cross-platform workflows, and more.
Intelligent Process Automation (IPA)
IPA combines RPA with tools like machine learning, artificial intelligence, and optical character recognition to allow processes where more critical thinking is needed to learn and become smarter over time.
Digital Process Automation (DPA)
DPA is great for optimizing existing digital processes that still require some form of human intervention to ultimately create the most efficient processes. DPA helps improve client-focused interactions to provide a better user experience.
10 Examples of IT Process Automation
When organizations implement an automation initiative, they often overlook the IT department. But IT process automation is a valuable tool that not only benefits the IT team, but your entire organization. ITPA can automate processes that improve incident resolution rates, automatically keep software up to date, simplify the user provisioning process, and much more. Here are 10 examples of what an IT process automation solution can do:
Centralize IT Tech Stacks
IT process automation brings disparate systems, applications, and legacy data together with on-premises and cloud-based systems. Bring your IT and business solutions together to better manage and orchestrate your environment. By centralizing your tech stack, systems can communicate better between each other and give you more value out of your existing applications. Learn More >
Keep Software Up to Date
Use ITPA to keep your software systems up to date across the enterprise. Bots can automatically monitor for available software updates and install them on user machines and designated servers. Plus, automating patch management greatly enhances security by ensuring the latest and safest versions are installed as soon as possible.
Improve Incident Resolution Rates
Free your help desk from repetitive daily issues that take up their to-do lists like password reset requests. ITPA can create and close tickets, resolve issues automatically, and even remediate system or virtual machine outages. Learn More >
Faster Troubleshooting of Systems
Stay on top of event log monitoring to automate problem resolution to stop issues before they become bigger problems. ITPA not only monitors for issues, but can take multi-step corrective actions to decrease downtime and keep your systems up and running. Learn More >
Simplify the User Provisioning Process
Onboarding and offboarding processes span multiple departments, especially IT. Speed up the process by automating user provisioning tasks like user management, change requests, migrations, and removals to ensure users can access every system that they need to do their daily work without interruption. Learn More >
Get Key Info to Continuously Optimize IT Processes
ITPA not only helps you streamline your IT processes, but also helps you continuously optimize them. With automated report generation, capture insights into how your processes are running without having to compile the data yourself, so you can spend your time analyzing and improving processes. Learn More >
Improve Database Processing
Keep databases up to date with the most current information with automated data scraping and extraction. ITPA can even automate Oracle SQL code to move database objects from DEV servers to PROD servers and eliminate night duty database tasks. Learn More >
Creating backups of critical systems, data, and applications is key to maintaining an IT environment that keeps your business running. ITPA automates this process to ensure if disaster strikes, there’s always a backup without a human needing to remember to create one. Learn More >
Enhanced Source Code Management
Leverage ITPA to centralize and secure your source code for every job type. Using a workload automation solution within the ITPA framework can help consolidate your job sources, streamline your approach, optimize maintenance costs and minimize risks. Learn More >
Apply a Set of Security Standards to Workflows
ITPA helps IT departments enable a set of security standards to all workflows to ensure compliance and reduce risks. From servers, to folders, to individual jobs, you can ensure the same set of protocols for each to keep your workflows secure. Learn More >
Top 4 Benefits of IT Process Automation
Nowadays, every department in an organization could use a helping hand. But there’s nowhere that’s truer than in the IT department. Here’s how IT process automation can benefit your hardworking IT team—and your business overall:
Eliminate Manual Errors and Mundane Operational Tasks
Develop consistent, reusable, and long-lasting automation that reduces human errors and handles the mundane tasks that pile up but require little skill that are bogging your team down.
Increase Productivity and Improve Efficiency
A digital workforce works 24/7—and doesn’t need vacations. Supplementing your human IT team with ITPA bots can take the repetitive tasks off their to-do lists so they can keep the focus on strategic initiatives.
Integrate Applications for Better Quality Data
By automating the flow of data between your applications and systems, ensure everyone in your organization has the most current data at their fingertips. And eliminates the need to enter the same information in more than one location.
IT process automation frees up resources to spend their time on more value-adding tasks, and helps bridge coverage gaps in your team without adding labor costs.
How to Get Started with IT Process Automation at Your Organization
There are a number of steps to take as you start your automation journey to ensure success. Here are a few tips to think about as you get started with IT process automation:
Establishing an Implementation Roadmap
Creating your automation roadmap can help you avoid common mistakes and problems on your journey. With a helpful framework, you can stay focused on the right objectives to ensure a successful and sustainable IT process automation implementation.
Integrating Automation with Existing IT Infrastructure
Before you choose a tool, it’s of the highest importance to make sure it can communicate with your existing systems and applications. If not, you’re just adding more tools in a silo that will contribute to IT bloat, leaving you with more problems than when you started.
Ensuring Security and Compliance in Automation Workflows
Cybersecurity should be at the top of every IT team’s mind. An IT process automation solution shouldn’t leave you vulnerable. Ensure whichever tool you choose has enterprise-wide security features and can help you stay in compliance.
Consider and Understand Your ITPA ROI
IT process automation solutions should deliver a quantifiable ROI when implemented. Use an ROI calculator to help determine if the savings will outweigh the costs of ITPA tools. And get an estimate of how long it could take to achieve a positive ROI.
Make the Business Case for IT Process Automation Software
With any new technology, you can’t get started without getting buy in from key stakeholders, especially in the c-suite. Armed with your roadmap and ROI calculations, it should be easy to deal with pushbacks that might cause delays in your implementation.
IT Process Automation Software Features You Need
When evaluating IT process automation software, there are certain features to look for that are the most valuable when streamlining your IT tasks and workflows. Look for a solution with the following:
Low and No-Code Capabilities
Get more flexibility from a tool that offers both low and no-code capabilities. These tools can adapt quickly to changes in your IT environment or business processes and features like drag-and-drop task building and step recorders get your automation up and running quickly. Plus, they lower the knowledge gap so users of all kinds can automate—including citizen developers.
An IT process automation tool should provide a single pane of glass to centralize and orchestrate workflows and jobs across platforms, applications, and other IT systems. This allows you to get a dynamic view of your entire IT environment for full control—and faster troubleshooting—of every job running throughout.
API Integration Kit
As mentioned previously, an IT process automation tool is only as good as its ability to play well with your existing systems and applications. Look for a solution that can easily connect to applications via APIs and with features that can help mask the complexities of working with APIs.
An even simpler way to automate the tasks in your most critical systems is through native actions. A great ITPA tool should have pre-built capabilities to interface with common applications like Microsoft, AWS, VMWare, databases, FTP and more.
Machine Learning and AI
Enhance process automation with machine learning and AI capabilities to bring intelligence to tasks where more critical thinking is needed. IT process automation benefits from a tool—like intelligent document processing—that handles both structured and unstructured data with ease.
Ready to Give Your IT Team a Boost?
Take your IT tasks to the next level with a digital workforce from Fortra’s automation solutions. Fortra provides tools with the features and capabilities necessary to start an IT process automation implementation—and see success. Chat with an automation expert to discuss your IT department’s unique needs and challenges. Let us show you how Fortra’s ITPA solutions can boost your productivity, optimize resources, and maximize efficiency.