Windward Insights

IT Process Automation: An Answer to the Talent Crunch?

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Written by Ceara Hickerson

COVID-19 caused major upheaval in more ways than just global health. It exacerbated an already existing tech talent skills gap. Prior to the pandemic, over half of the CEOs were nervous about the skills gap, and by 2019, 70 percent expressed concerns. The labor shortage has tech and enterprise leaders mobilizing different tactics to fill the skills gap. While some may turn to the global freelance market or upskilling current employees, there are those who present artificial intelligence (AI) for IT process automation (ITPA) as a viable, cost-saving answer to the talent crunch.

IT Process Automation Streamlines Functions

AI for IT Operations (AIOps) represents a symbiosis between man and machine.  Much of the conversation revolving around AI often spirals into a fear of the rise of something akin to “I, Robot.”  

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This isn’t helpful when we are talking about threats on a massive scale and trillions of data points beyond the human capacity to manage. AI is about helping people find essential roles alongside the automated tools used by many modern IT teams.

While AI can pull, push, lift, and calculate, it takes people to invent, contextualize, and make decisions based on ethics and morals. Research has shown that businesses have the greatest success when employees and technologies cohesively operate. Another point to remember is that AI will never replace humans, and it is not an excuse to avoid upskilling ourselves. Indeed, with AI humans will only create better technologies and processes. 

Related Reading: How AIOps Benefits the Entire Organization – Not Just IT

IT Process Automation Tools Scale Operations Efficiently

ITPA tools can handle a wide range of IT operations automatically and accelerate IT processes with fewer errors. Here are some of the use cases for IT process automation tools:

  • Managing service requests automatically
  • Automating routine IT tasks
  • Automating asset management
  • Automating IT-related onboarding and offboarding tasks
  • Managing IT security and compliance
  • Digitizing process and supporting digital transformation

Feel free to read our IT process automation use case to learn more about designing an AIOps approach and discover more applications.

Six IT Process Automation Benefits

1) Cost savings

Besides the cost of wages and labor (estimated at $2 trillion in the United States annually), there’s the cost of lost profit. On average, enterprises lose 20 to 30 percent of revenue due to inefficient processes.

ITPA minimizes the amount of labor and time it takes to complete manual tasks in an enterprise. Reports show that automation technology saves departments between 10 to 50 percent on costs associated with manual tasks.

2) Increased productivity

An IT team that is focused on menial tasks or trying to keep up with every, single anomaly in the network is going to get burned out and lose momentum. Automating processes has a two-fold productivity benefit:

  1. It speeds up the amount of time it takes to resolve multiple issues simultaneously
  2. It frees up the IT team to focus on higher-level business initiatives that are geared towards producing revenue.

3) Reduced errors

To err is unfortunately human and it happens in the IT department, too. Things get past people or fall to the wayside for a myriad of reasons. Reducing the chances of errors occurring with automation improves processes, interactions, and redundancies in operations.

4) Faster response to system problems

Since IT process automation utilizes data analysis and ML to “learn” about the IT environment, it can make data-driven decisions that do not require human intervention. Automating systems is like engaging a checks-and-balance system to mitigate errors before they escalate. This, in turn, enables IT, teams, to be more proactive and resolution-oriented.

5) Improved, simplified user experience

People like simplicity, convenience, and fast access to service. This is what most customers are looking for when comparing different providers. Automating IT processes ensures faster, more accurate, better quality services for clients as well as employees.

Instead of shuffling through a paper trail, teams can retrieve information instantaneously and assist customers. Happy customers mean meeting the bar of a promised standard of operational excellence. This builds trust, loyalty, and ultimately ROI.

6) Compliance benefits

As we become more technologically engaged, new rules and regulations continue to emerge to address these advancements. That being said, automation is traceable and under control. In this way, it helps enterprises to do the following:

  • Meet security measures
  • Protect confidential or sensitive information
  • Provide retention methods for personal data

Leveling up IT digital transformation initiatives

Once again, it can’t be stressed enough that AI is not meant to eliminate human IT engineers, but to work as an extension of them. It helps them to level up IT initiatives and their own skill sets.

AI-powered tools promise to free up IT pros to focus on other parts of their job that are higher-level or more business-oriented. Equipped with automation platforms, teams can take a deeper dive on creating more robust and elaborate digital transformation initiatives.

As mentioned, it eases the sheer volume of alerts that IT teams have to deal with on a daily basis. One way to optimize processes is to aggregate data collection in a centralized platform.

In this case study, a government agency was able to establish a single platform for managing IT configurations, assets and business processes on the classified network with ServiceNow. The implementation allowed for IT process automation, saving time and effort across departments. The operation as a whole saw dramatic improvements to efficiency and visibility.

There is no doubt that AIOps is important to the future of the IT industry. However, it is less about filling skills gaps and more about enabling IT teams to provide real-time solutions. Humans will always be vital to the IT management process because they bring moral consideration, judgment, critical thinking, and experience to an IT automation process.

While statistics and anecdotal evidence continue to emerge about the talent crunch in the IT workforce, there is general optimism that the situation will correct itself. 

ITPA will be part of this shift as well as improving education programs, upskilling, and retaining existing workers. If you’d like to learn more about how Windward has helped organizations navigate this transition successfully, we’d love to hear from you.