Did you know the average IT worker spends up to 10 hours a week – that’s one whole financial quarter per year – on completing manual tasks that should be automated? These are tasks like onboarding and offboarding users, name changes, department changes, password resets, etc.
In fact, a recent market study from InformationWeek revealed that 58% of organizations say their IT team dedicates more than five hours per week (six-and-a-half work weeks annually) fulfilling repetitive requests from the business. Alarmingly, 90% of respondents say that manual and repetitive IT tasks contribute to low morale and attrition in their organizations.
This is a trend that hasn’t gone unnoticed, and it’s one of the reasons Pima County brought in TeamDynamix for IT Service Management (ITSM) and iPaaS.
“TeamDynamix is a place where we are really trying to kickstart and accelerate the ideology that automation with the right tools can bring value not just to IT, but to other departments within our organization,” Mark Hayes, information technology leader, said. “We’re starting in IT so that they can see the possibilities as we move forward with our digital transformation and expand outside of IT.”
Pima County made the switch to TeamDynamix for IT Service Management (ITSM) after using a different system for the last 10 years. Traditionally, the county has taken in tickets through email, phone and a service catalog with base-level triage, but with TeamDynamix in place, they will be able to leverage self-service and automation to better serve its citizens and reduce the drain on employees and resources.
“Prior to TeamDynamix, we didn’t have the ability to automate things and build workflows to do things that eliminate toil and redundancy for our employees,” Hayes said.
And with many organizations struggling to maintain or hire new talent, especially in IT, this was critical for the county, “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,” Haye 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.”
Supercharging ITSM with Enterprise Integration and Automation (iPaaS)
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.
Low-code/no-code automation tools like iPaaS are a great way to automate and integrate systems across an organization and reduce the toil, allowing your organization to be more competitive and nimbler with less friction and a better end-user experience.
iPaaS centralizes all integrations into one hub with a library of connectors to common systems such as Workday, Oracle, your IT service management (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 automation and workflows using a visual flow builder that can be triggered from a field change, form fill or any number of actions.
“That’s something the organization is really just starting to comprehend as a vision that we want to get to overall,” Hayes said referring to automation. “My goal and hope is to make sure people understand the possibilities of workflow beyond just getting approvals routed because that’s all we really do today.”
At NaphCare, an Alabama-based company providing healthcare services and software to correctional facilities, they are also supercharging their ITSM with iPaaS.
“With iPaaS, we’re looking at automating tasks to take some of the things we do manually out of the hands of IT staff, so they can be more efficient,” Barry Bowden, IT service desk manager, said.
For instance, setting up and provisioning IT accounts for NaphCare employees is currently a multi-step process. NaphCare uses a software program called Adaxes to automate the provisioning of accounts within Active Directory, but IT staff still have to coordinate with both HR staff and the managers of various departments to confirm what IT privileges employees should have—such as whether they should get a free or paid Zoom account. Bowden’s staff includes one full-time employee whose sole responsibility is to perform this work.
With TeamDynamix, NaphCare has created automated workflows for contacting HR and department heads to collect the necessary information. Using iPaaS, Bowden plans to connect TeamDynamix with Adaxes and build a customized workflow to create new user accounts from this information.
Automating this process will enable it to be completed in under five minutes, he says, with very little human intervention needed—freeing up the IT employee responsible for this task to do more strategic work, “That employee can be reallocated to other areas to work on more complex projects,” Bowden said.
There are also plans to automate software provisioning for programs like Microsoft Office.
“It will take me a week, right now, to go in and install Microsoft Office on all the accounts that request it. With automation in place, I won’t need to touch those requests unless there’s a problem. People will be able to go to our portal, put in the request and automatically get the software,” Bowden said. “That’s a full week of time I can get back to work on other things. That will be a huge benefit for us.”
"Investing in tools that allow our employees to engage in meaningful work is something that’s important to us as an overall IT organization.”
A Need for Data Governance and Automation Organization
And while automation is key to overcoming the challenges of reducing scut work and improving the morale of the IT teams working to address integration and project backlogs while still delivering on service requests – it needs to be done right.
The market study found that when it comes to automation within organizations:
- 53% of IT teams manage 100 or more applications across their organizations.
- 30% of IT teams task 50 or more system admins to support all of these applications.
- 78% of system admins are building integrations across their application portfolios.
- 69% of system admins are building workflow and automation on top of this application infrastructure.
- 60% of teams spend 10 or more hours per week (a whole financial quarter of people-hours) working on internally developed scripts to manage IT systems and processes.
So, while all of this automation is great, when it’s done ad hoc by IT teams building their own scripts or home-grown solutions using a variety of APIs, it can cause more issues.
In fact, according to the study, more than four in 10 respondents to the survey said they spend at least five hours a week developing home-grown scripts for automation between and within applications and writing scripts for workflow and automation. That means that IT workers are spending more than six weeks a year tending to the care and feeding of internally built automations.
This works well in limited situations, but at scale, the DIY mentality quickly creates its own IT administrative headaches within organizations.
The study also found that:
- 70% of respondents believe that their scripts and APIs are not well documented and lack controls.
- 47% of respondents say their scripts and APIs don’t adhere to security standards and an additional 19% report they don’t know whether they do.
- 28% of organizations have more than a six-month backlog on automation work requests.
- 25% of organizations have more than a 6-month backlog to fulfill integration work requests.
As the survey shows, system integrations are being built over and over again by all of these different system administrators, often with little governance over the process and no documentation. And a lack of governance means that IT administrators are not ensuring that APIs, integrations and automated workflows across applications are securely built. Nor is the process orchestrated to limit the amount of redundant effort put into these tasks by various IT admins, who might be working in different groups and not closely collaborating.
This creates a chaotic environment as systems come and go, and various pieces of infrastructure need to be rebuilt or pointed at different applications that might have their bespoke automation built on top of them. This is cumbersome to navigate and introduces big downtime and security risks if change management is not handled properly.
It also often depends on knowledgeable superstar employees with institutional knowledge to keep the whole house of cards upright. When those people leave the organization, many times the automations they built fail.
The best way to create standardization around your integrations and automations is to centralize them around a single enterprise integration and automation tool – iPaaS.
Curious about how other companies are using automation and integration to supercharge their service delivery and relieve the pressure on their IT help desks? Check out our latest eBook: Automate IT – A Playbook for Supercharged ITSM and read stories from businesses and organizations across industries.