Organizations are struggling with reduced budgets, limited resources and now the “great resignation.” To combat these issues, many companies are looking at how they can improve service delivery, for both customers and employees, to help lessen the impact of these limitations.
It’s no surprise then, that organizations are turning to automation and service delivery tools traditionally used within IT to expand across departments as part of a larger enterprise service management (ESM) strategy. By using IT service management (ITSM) software and integration and automation tools like iPaaS, organizations can reduce toil and better their customer and employee satisfaction.
What’s Toil and Why Does it Matter?
Toil is a word popularized by Google that refers to work that tends to be manual and repetitive but can be automated. And having high levels of toil throughout your organization can lead to problems including burnout, human error and employee discontent.
“People feel so much more empowered and have so much more worth when they are doing things that are intellectually rigorous and challenging versus when they are just repeating the same mechanical actions over and over and over with very little thought,” Mark Hayes, information technology leader at Pima County, said.
“Our ITSM is our entry point to our entire IT organization, and we want our employees to graduate out of this area into other roles within our organization – network technicians, client services, desktop technicians, developers and project managers,” he continued. “If all they’re doing is handling tickets and doing the same mundane, manual tasks over and over that’s not particularly great training. So investing in tools that allow our employees to engage in meaningful work is something that’s important to us as an overall IT organization.”
With TeamDynamix now in place, Pima County is looking to automate and integrate as much of the manual ITSM processes into workflows as they can.
“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.”
Automating the Mundane
Low-code/no-code automation tools like iPaaS are a great way to automate and integrate systems across an organization and reduce toil.
When TeamDynamix first released iPaaS, Western University of Health Sciences was one of the first organizations to purchase and use it.
iPaaS is an integration and automation platform that helps organizations bring together data from disparate systems and drive workflows for both simple and complex processes across multiple systems.
“We definitely jumped at the opportunity to get iPaaS,” David Mitchell, Enterprise Application Administrator, said. One of the key objectives for Mitchell and his team has been finding ways to save technicians time and make them more efficient – iPaaS lends itself nicely to that.
“We are looking at what can save our technicians time, what are we already doing that may be more efficient with iPaaS and what systems do we need to integrate with iPaaS,” he said. WesternU started by automating simple tasks with iPaaS, things like automatic VPN access for approved users, keeping assets up to date and reconciling data between Active Directory and Banner.
“A lot of these tasks aren’t tasks that are necessarily hard for anyone to do manually, it’s more that they are repetitive and time-consuming.” And for Mitchell and WesternU, that’s been one of the biggest draws for iPaaS.
“You know, we don’t have a DeLorean to get time back,” Mitchell said referencing the popular time travel trilogy Back to the Future. “But, we do have iPaaS.”
By automating tasks, especially the repetitive ones, Mitchell said their technicians now have time to focus their attention on bigger issues. “We’ve been working in iPaaS since January and I feel like we’ve already come a long way and are saving time,” he said. “But there’s so much more we can do.”
For Mitchell, the codeless drag and drop functionality of iPaaS has really enabled him and his team to move quickly and creatively when it comes to building new workflows. “I’m not a programmer at all,” Mitchell said. “I don’t know the programming languages, I’m kind of illiterate when it comes to that, but I like to call iPaaS Lego programming because you just snap everything together and it works.”
Supercharging Your ITSM/ESM
Adding integration and automation to your ITSM/ESM practices is a great way to free up resources and boost efficiencies. By investing in smart service management for your organization, you’re investing in service management that supercharges your entire enterprise and allows everyone to interact in real-time.
By combining ITSM/ESM, project portfolio management (PPM) and iPaaS on a single platform you can automate tasks, both simple and complex, as well as connect disparate systems throughout your organization – all through a codeless platform, meaning anyone can use it. You no longer need to be bogged down by repetitive or mundane service requests.
When contemplating the use of automation and integration as part of a broader enterprise service management strategy, it’s important to consider the different ways a tool like iPaaS can be used to extend ESM even further.
At Winston-Salem University, Derrick Hargrove and his team in the Office of Information Technology, are using iPaaS to automate processes throughout the University that directly impact service resolution times whether in IT, the Office of the Registrar, the financial aid office or human resources.
Hargrove said the university started building iPaaS workflows to address various challenges they had with both system access and access to various apps and software provided to students, employees and faculty at the university.
“By creating these workflows within iPaaS we are able to save a significant amount of time,” Hargrove said. “Previously we’ve had situations where system access has held up a ticket so having the automated approval and access granted through iPaaS has helped us avoid those issues. And when you have people who need certain access or software to do their jobs, it’s nice to be able to provide that almost instantaneous resolution. It’s been a big win for us.”
The university has flows in place to grant system access based on different groups within Active Directory. Those same groups are utilized to run flows to grant access to things like Microsoft Teams and Adobe Creative Cloud.
If you want to see how more organizations are supercharging their service management in IT and beyond, read our latest eBook: Automate IT – A Playbook for Supercharged ITSM.