Choosing a solution for IT Process Automation

How are choices made?

How do you make a decision or select the best option from a set of options that, at least at first glance, look equally good?

Some say that choice is often so automatic or subliminal that decisions are made before your conscious brain has had a chance to get involved.

Others would claim that they actively evaluate all options with elaborate decision criteria, weighing the importance of various elements of the result, seeking review and approval from respected peers, and much more. Sometimes, that level of analysis is essential - a decision like moving to another country would be life-changing, so it deserves serious consideration. But sometimes, this approach costs more and slows down innovation.

Over-thinking Requirements

In the B2B world, most software vendors, like Osirium, will recognise the over-engineered "Request for Information (RFI)" or "Request for Proposal (RFP)". They're often massive documents detailing functional requirements, operational requirements, security controls, and much more. They're usually the result of weeks or months of research from people across the organisation considering a purchase.

Unfortunately, these important summaries of requirements get way too complicated for their original purpose. It's not uncommon to see long lists of features trying to capture every possible future scenario that "may happen one day" or "just to be safe". Or requirements included because some respected industry analyst firm has decided that a product in a particular area needs some future-looking tech. Even if it's not something required to get the job done (dare I mention how many products have shoe-horned AI and ML into their product descriptions?)

Square Pegs and Round Holes

Another bad habit in decision-making can be over-dependence on what you already have rather than what you need. The old adage "when you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail" is very true, even in the modern age. In many ways, it's an understandable approach: you've already spent money on some technology, taken time to learn it, and paid expensive consultants to set it up. After all that effort, you'd want to ensure it gets used as much as possible to see a return on the investment.

In reality, it can lead to unexpected costs and missed opportunities.

Picking the Right Option

At Osirium, we've seen this with the challenges of automating IT operations and processes. In a recent independent study, we found many companies are using their Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools for IT processes. RPA tools are good at what they're designed for: replacing repetitive human processes. That's great when the goal is how fast can you process invoices or perform credit checks, but not so good for the ad hoc but repetitive tasks conducted in IT. Building a highly repeatable RPA process takes complex ML/AI technology to handle slight variances in paper forms, or differently formatted data feeds, and it's worth spending the time because the savings versus human intervention are significant.

However, for IT tasks such as resetting a password or creating user accounts, the priority should be securing the link to the systems being updated, ensuring processes are being followed, maintaining audit trails, and including request/approval options for the most critical changes. That's why RPA is not the best tool for automating IT processes.

Osirium summed up the options for IT Automation in its recent Buyers Guide for IT Automation (get your free copy here) which lays out the different needs for IT process automation and how to prioritise requirements to find the best option.

Osirium IT Automation Buyers Guide

It is becoming clear that the modern and future-looking business will need multiple forms of automation to cover a wide variety of scenarios. I expect we'll see RPA, IT Process Automation, desktop automation and more technologies being used within a single organisation and actively co-operating in complementary ways. An approach Gartner labels "hyperautomation".

I'm not saying you shouldn't consider all the options or have a list of required capabilities, but keep perspective on what can deliver value in the short term and has the flexibility to grow as needed.

Of course, you could always revert to the old school coin-toss, but that's not the best approach unless you are a risk-taker!

Please get in touch if you'd like to find out more or even try Osirium Automation for free.

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