Many areas of your ITSM environment are ripe for automation, and like any part of your service management operation, taking a maturity path approach assists you on that journey. Each journey needs a road map, but where you start is equally important.

So where do you start? 

Einstein is widely attributed with saying that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Possibly channeling Einstein, analysts recommend IT organizations focus on moving redundant and repetitive tasks into automation processes. But before you start, understand that automated processes are only as effective as the planning that goes into their development.

Before automating processes, re-evaluate them

Too often ITSM teams consider the elements in closest proximity to their own environment but don’t incorporate considerations that affect the business at large. Automation requires user-centric planning.

To map out the current workflow and ensure its optimized and makes sense for the users it touches, you must keep engaging with business users directly or through business productivity teams. Only then should you review which optimized processes to automate.

Initial maturity steps 

Start by reviewing any routine, low-complexity, resource-intensive tasks, e.g., password resets. Employing automation to reduce call volumes will deliver immediate value to the operation and the business user experience.

Any repetitive request is an opportunity for automation

Enabling business users to access self service and reset passwords automatically reduces direct contact with your team, offers an enhanced experience, and saves administrative costs.

Business users that get locked out of systems are unproductive. Automating other components of your self-service function will help you manage a larger volume of requests more efficiently, plus you’ll decrease the time it takes a business user to receive the new services needed to be productive.

Consider a software request for example. Let’s say a business user wants Adobe Acrobat® and initiates a request in self service. Once the request is submitted, it triggers the start of a workflow. The software request requires approval from the requester’s manager. An approval-request email is sent automatically. No one needs to remember who these requests are routed to— the workflow goes from step to step without any intervention needed. The process is handled, recorded, and captured or escalated according to service levels automatically.

And let’s not forget the business user who requested the service. Nothing’s more frustrating than having to request information updates constantly. Ensure that status-update communications to users are part of the automated process.

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