Our next stop on the journey to a fully automated service desk is understanding why automation, versus outdated manual processes, is key to gaining control of your service desk workflows and woes.

The bottom line about the service desk is that it makes life better and more satisfying for everyone—service desk agents and users. And automation is essential to ensure you’re capable of satisfying everyone.

Automation is essential and here's why:

Automation eliminates redundant activities. For example, an email with multiple recipients can be unclear about who is meant to do what. Using workflow engines to control that information flow makes assigning tasks automatic.

You enjoy more repeatable and consistent decision-making. High analyst turnover is a reality. So why make new agents reinvent the wheel? Let automation and workflow handle common issues so agents can focus on answering more pressing employee questions.

Unnecessary downtime is eliminated. For example, automation can reduce downtime in change and release processes. Changes can be routed through advisory boards to enable early identification of conflicts—avoiding interruptions and raising customer satisfaction.

Automation reduces time spent on routine tasks. Want to diminish service desk agents’ job satisfaction? Give them the same job to do over and over again. Agents like being heroes, solving interesting problems. They’re not automatons. So, put anything repetitive in an automated workflow.

First Steps and Milestones: Mapping the Route

See where you are. Know where you’re going. There’s no point automating an inefficient process. So look hard at what’s burying your service desk. Is it incident volume? Time to resolution? Find out. Then set clear goals based on causes—not their effects.

Pencil, paper, and whiteboard. Before jumping into technology, meet with the constituents to note the details of specific problems. Then manually whiteboard the broader information flow and figure out what the actual processes involved are. Pick one or two high impact processes to automate first.

Design process workflow. Now we can design a process workflow—letting the tools take over in guiding the activities we’ve defined manually.

Determine required integrations. This is key. For example, remediation may be needed for Flash users who need a patch to get up to the latest version. With the right integrations in place, that can happen from within the service desk with no extra steps.

Execute the process automation. Set up your process workflow in your workflow engine and then publish the automated workflow to the service desk.

Measure! Once automation is a go, you need to measure the outcome on an ongoing basis. You’ll see how close you are to your goals, and be able to refine and improve over time. First workflow working well? Repeat for the other high-impact processes on your hit list.

Arriving at the Benefits

So, you’ve given it your all. What’s service automation giving in return? We know it’s going to increase your efficiency by reducing downtime and eliminating redundant activities. But there’s more:

Maintenance costs fall. Automating event tracking opens a window into equipment availability. You’ll know when machines need maintenance or replacement and can act proactively—extending equipment life and preventing customer frustration.

You gain end-to-end visibility. Complete visibility into service-level performance is invaluable when addressing budget needs to senior management. And you’ll have all the data you need to provide a clear picture of your benefits to the company.

Improved service quality. Employee satisfaction is the core reason for every IT department’s existence. That’s why keeping users happy and productive is what service automation is all about, and why it’s essential to helping your group in its role as a strategic asset.

Travel Even Further!

And for an even more in-depth roadmap of where automation can take you, check out our white paper: Roadmap to Service Desk Automation.

Check out our other posts in this series:

Service Desk Automation Pt. 1 of 4: What It Can Do For You