When IT first became a designated department in businesses around the world, the role was mainly to oversee the maintenance of hardware and installation of the few pieces of software that were available. This is far from the current landscape of IT. Presently, IT teams must oversee extremely high-value tasks, such as ensuring continuous up-time of machines and all technology systems and processes. Many of these tasks also require a high level of technical knowledge, such as safeguarding company networks and devices from hacks and malicious attacks.
However, while the level of necessary IT expertise has grown significantly over the past few decades, these teams are still responsible for low-technical-knowledge IT work. For example, one of the major pain points, regarding time-waste, is setting up new PCs. When these PCs arrive, they are not ready for use. IT must first unbox them, then install corporate images and software, and finally, deliver them to employees.
While some of these tasks must be done manually, many do not. The following pinpoints various low-value tasks that IT can now remove from their to-do list with innovative automation technology.
PC ConfigurationAs mentioned above, PC configuration is a low-value task that can take up a significant amount of IT resources. To combat this, Microsoft has developed Windows AutoPilot, which Lenovo is now making available to large business customers. This technology allows businesses' IT departments to register any Lenovo PCs that they are ordering to the Azure Active Directory. This means that when the PC is delivered and turned on, all provisioning and security policies will be uploaded beforehand. Moreover, these uploads extend further to preloaded images, customer-designated applications, and cloud storage capabilities. In short, employees can take their new PC out of its box at their desk and start working on it in a matter of minutes.
Passwords And AccountsEmployees forget passwords and are locked out of their accounts on a regular basis. As security becomes a bigger priority for companies, more complex passwords or more frequent password resets will be required, which will only lead to additional forgotten passwords and account lockouts. This can end up costing an IT department hours every week because unlocking accounts can be an in-depth process, with phone authentications, account resets, confirmations, and documentation. IT departments can now use a self-service portal to automate the workflow of password resets and unlocking accounts, allowing employees to reset and unlock their accounts whenever they need.
To accomplish this, CTOs should re-evaluate their IT service management platform. For the simplest solution, the platform should offer Active Directory through an out-of-the-box integration. The capability to allow password self-resets and account unlocking should be included and easily configurable.
Hardware And Software RequestsHardware and software requests can become extremely disruptive for IT. There is a constant influx of applications for new software. It then becomes IT's a responsibility to push the request through the hierarchy of permissions to make the purchase. IT must also spend time parsing through the existing software subscriptions to ensure that no duplication would create waste in the budget.
Hardware requests, whether for repairs or new parts and devices, can be challenging to keep track of. Paper and email requests can slip through the cracks, repairs can be delayed, and communication updates between IT and employees are likely to be weak, leaving both employees and IT frustrated.
Automating these processes can streamline the entire system. For software requests, it can quickly identify which departments can share software subscriptions, and for hardware requests, it can provide status updates about when the hardware can be expected.
To accomplish this, IT leaders should look at IT service management platforms that include asset management, as well as software and license management. This functionality gives IT a bird's-eye view of employee allocations, IT purchases, licenses, and more. When this function is combined with a quality service desk, IT can quickly move between workforce requests, vendor communication, and a dashboard that provides comprehensive information about current licenses and software that have the potential to be shared instead of being made redundant.
File And Folder MonitoringIT is held responsible for the files and folders on a company's server. Unfortunately, they are far from the only employees who have access to this data. Many of the individuals who have permission for various files do not have training or knowledge about how to appropriately handle them, maintain their data integrity, avoid changes that could interfere with mission-critical systems, or guarantee data security and compliance.
This is why it is essential for IT to oversee both when a change is made and who makes that change to files and folders. If it is done manually, this aspect of IT can be a full-time job. Automation, through a pre-defined set of workflows, can replace this manual task. It can monitor server data, parse through files to ensure data integrity, send alerts when remediation is needed, and create better system availability through archival, compression, and more.
There are a number of pre-packaged workflows that currently allow for this. IT does not have to write a line of code for every task that needs to be added to the workflow. Alternatively, for tasks that are more closely knit to the business and their practices, these pre-packaged workflows can be combined with customised ones or integrated with pre-defined steps, such as logic, control flow, and notifications.
Role ChangesFluctuation is a natural occurrence in any company. Employees are hired, others leave, and some change positions. With any of these changes, IT must make adjustments. New employees must gain access to a new account with a unique set of permissions. Leaving employees must have their account de-provisioned and access restricted. Employees who are changing roles must be granted access to new software and data.
IT can stop doing this low-value task manually. They can set up automated account creation, giving new employees instant access on their first day. They can utilise an asset management system that terminates accounts and system access. Finally, when role changes happen, IT can use an automated system to assign new permissions and harvest and deploy licenses. The key to allowing for this is a robust IT management platform.
Restarting Remote ServicesEveryday system memory must be released, services crash, the email platform and system backups encounter glitches, and application configuration files change frequently. Each of these requires IT to restart services remotely. This can happen several times a day—IT must connect to the server remotely, reset it, and then ensure service availability.
There is an automated option. IT can create a workflow that is either scheduled or triggered. It can monitor everything from operating system services and email to backups and anti-virus software. It can identify and fix issues. It can send alerts to IT if necessary. Finally, it can either be fully automated to restart services or semi-automated to wait for IT confirmation for a restart.
This, as well as role changes, file and folder monitoring, and many other tasks can be accomplished through an IT automation platform. The ideal platforms will be powered by AI, have codeless workflow designers, and offer robust integrations. There are some different platforms available, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. IT leaders should explore the market and make a decision based on their team's priorities.
The IT department has become one of the essential pillars that keeps any business running. For this reason, it is necessary to free up time for IT professionals to handle higher value tasks, allowing innovations and strategic business moves to be fully realised. Automating basic, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks let this happen. For more information, please download our Best Automation Tools For IT Managers eBook or contact us.