As the need for integration and automation grows, IT leaders are looking for new ways to combat integration backlogs and security and governance concerns – all while reducing the drain placed on IT resources to handle the influx of requests for these projects.
A recent market study from InformationWeek found that the most common complaints from internal customers about IT departments were the length of backlogs (41 percent) and security and governance concerns (37 percent).
According to the study, enterprise needs are not being met, with the survey showing the departments most likely to experience the worst backlogs include operations and facilities, sales and marketing, HR, and even the IT team itself.
In many organizations, when there’s a large backlog of integration or automation requests, this can lead to other departments going around IT and trying to build out their own integrations or automations – something often referred to as rogue or shadow IT. Often, this is something that central IT doesn’t necessarily know or have control over as a result.
In an effort to prevent this from happening in the first place, and to cut down on the backlogs in existence now, many IT leaders are looking for automation and integration tools like iPaaS to help them do the following:
- Be more competitive.
- Be nimbler.
- Reduce friction across the enterprise.
- Improve the end-user experience.
iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) is paving the way for more efficient and better-governed enterprise integration and automation.
With iPaaS, all integrations are centralized into one hub with a library of connectors to common systems such as Workday, Oracle, your ITSM platform, Salesforce, the Active Directory, Azure and hundreds more, as well as any APIs.
With all systems connected and data points now secured in one spot, end-users can leverage the platform to move data, transform data and build out automations and workflows using a visual flow builder that can be triggered from a field change, a form fill or any number of actions.
For example, it’s possible to build out a flow to update the Active Directory when a request is made to add a user to a group. This may come in as a ticket and the IT team can easily click on ‘approve’ and the system will automatically trigger this workflow versus having to manually do this. The same can be done for tickets that come in for things like password resets, software provisioning, name changes – and even the onboarding and offboarding of employees.
Because iPaaS is codeless, it drastically cuts down on the amount of time needed to create integrations between systems and automations. In turn, this can reduce or eliminate those backlogs bogging down IT departments.
4 Enterprise Integration and Automation Platform Benefits to Consider
When trying to find the right iPaaS tool for your organization, it’s important to consider a number of different features and functionalities.
In addition to a codeless platform, you want to make sure your iPaaS tool is connector agnostic – meaning it can integrate with all of the different software and apps needed, including any IT Service Management (ITSM), Enterprise Service Management (ESM) or Project Portfolio Management (PPM) platforms currently in use by your organization.
You also want to make sure it offers the following:
- Easy to Use – Given the wide range of employee skill levels, business groups and applications in play, ease of use is one of the most important considerations when picking the right integration product for your organization. The true power of automation is unlocked when employees in a variety of business functions — who don’t possess deep integration skills but are very knowledgeable of their business areas — discover new uses for automation because the iPaaS tool is simple to deploy and use both within IT and in other departments.
- Rapid Speed of Deployment – In an increasingly fast-paced and competitive business environment, speed of deployment can often decide the difference between success and failure for any venture. The smartest organizations empower their employees with products that help them rapidly create new ways to reach their customers and instantly capture value. It’s important to have an iPaaS tool that can be deployed quickly by new teams within your organization, as well as first-time users who are starting to use automation in their business lines. This can help spread the use of integration and automation across your organization which, in turn, can greatly impact your ROI.
- Flexibility – Modern organizations can be complex, spanning a range of departments, employee profiles, applications and systems, geographical locations and market segments. To address the needs of such organizations, an iPaaS vendor needs to have flexibility built into its product, enabling users to manage this complexity from a single place. Moreover, as the business needs continue to evolve, it’s important to have an integration product that makes it easy to edit, add and remove workflow steps, or modify connectors quickly.
- Low Total Cost of Ownership – It is important to pick an iPaaS vendor whose pricing philosophy aligns with the value they deliver for your current and future business needs. Specifically, you should pick a vendor whose pricing is simple, transparent, and does not result in any surprises when you try to connect new systems and applications to your workflows, as your business needs evolve.
The Benefits of Using iPaaS for Integration and Automation
Gainesville Regional Utilities has used TeamDynamix’s integration and automation capabilities to solve a key IT support challenge that affected thousands of retirees.
The software that handles payroll for GRU employees is Workday, which is supported by Gainesville’s IT department along with the other applications used by the city. Retired GRU employees receive their pensions through Workday as well.
However, prior to TeamDynamix, if retirees weren’t getting their pension checks or had trouble with their Workday account, they couldn’t submit a service request using GRU’s online service portal. Because retirees are no longer city employees, they don’t have an Active Directory account, and they need an Active Directory account to submit tickets to IT support staff online.
GRU Business Systems Analyst Tristina Grywalski worked with the TeamDynamix implementation and process consulting teams to develop a simple solution to this problem using the platform’s flexible configuration options.
As a result of their efforts, GRU retirees no longer have to call IT support staff during normal business hours, wasting valuable time for retirees and support staff alike. Instead, they can use the online service portal just like current employees with an Active Directory account can, resulting in faster and better service.
In just the first two months of this capability alone, more than 150 retired GRU employees from all across the country had submitted service requests online. “The service team is very grateful for this solution,” Grywalski said, noting that it has allowed them to be more efficient in resolving people’s problems.
At Pima County, there are plans to use automation (with iPaaS) both in IT and outside of IT to gain better efficiencies and reduce toil for employees.
Mark Hayes, information technology leader at Pima County, said “[Automation] is something the organization is really just starting to comprehend as a vision that we want to get to overall. My goal and hope is to make sure people understand the possibilities of workflow beyond just getting approvals routed because that’s all that we really do today.”
The county has started by automating user group management and the onboarding/offboarding of employees – a task that involves several departments.
“As a government organization we get audited by the state every year and they want to know what these stale accounts are doing sitting here,” Hayes said. “Offboarding is currently a very manual process – having to review the list from HR of people who are no longer employed with us and manually revoking their privileges from all the different systems and software and disabling their accounts. There’s absolutely no reason for that to not be automated.”
And all of the automation is going to save time and resources across the entire organization.
“The drudgery of working through mundane, repetitive tasks doesn’t exist just in IT,” Hayes said. “I think the more we can reduce toil within the departments that we support, the more people are going to buy in and understand the value of what we’re trying to achieve. There’s nothing like success to breed more success, and once other departments see the benefits they’re going to want these tools too.”
Are you interested in learning more about how to find the right iPaaS tool for your business? Check out our iPaaS buyer’s guide.