The influence of IT on the company
The efficiency of IT deeply impacts overall company performance. Unfortunately, administrative tasks are especially prone to require a great deal of time and energy from expensive, qualified employees – from not only IT but also other departments. The result: the company’s capacity to innovate and develop suffers because IT employees in particular have the best technical overview and are predestined to drive digitalization projects.
The company is likewise hampered when, for example, a newly hired salesperson can’t work because they lacks IT-access, or important tasks take much too long to complete because certain software is unavailable.
The business impact becomes even more extreme once employees start to build up their own shadow-IT and begin, for example, to exchange data with a client via a private dropbox, because the company’s IT is too slow. A data protection nightmare! The answer to many such challenges is the automation of IT processes.
Realizable solution approaches are available in the following areas:
- 1. Automation of user administration
Enables up to 90% of user administration to be directly transferred to the HR teams. Not only does this reduce downtime when new team members are unable to do their work, it also increases the productivity of the HR department. Process quality and reliability are increased simultaneously.
Practical Example: in a medium-sized company the creation of new users is automated. The personnel department gains access to an online form to record data, e.g. name and supervisor. The supervisor then assigns permissions to various project folders. In only two hours a new employee can already start working on their tasks.
- 2. Automation of the permissions management
All access to company resources is controlled by authorizations. When permissions management is automated, authorizations can be ordered and administered via a self-service portal. This reduces the time required for employees to access the resources they need and avoids unnecessary time spent waiting. The company can now react to New challenges and role changes more dynamically.
Practical example: A company has to document when and which employee accesses data and to make certain that these permissions are revoked when the employee changes departments. Through rights management automation, users can request permissions from a card index by themselves – authorization is performed by the data controller. When changing departments the division manager examines permissions. All regulatory options are now fully documented and trackable.
- 3. Automation of the Software distribution
Nowadays the installation of operating systems and other software takes place manually and on demand. However, this can be automated as well, so that employees can quickly return to work in cases of technical issues or when changing devices. This facilitates the renting of expensive licenses for one-time usage instead of wasting capital on their purchase. This results in considerable savings. Rent instead of buy!
Practical Example: The licensing of MS Project and Visio, a short-term requirement for many employees, was reorganized to a rental model combined with software distribution. The users were able to request software in the shop and have it on-hand within one hour. In case of disuse within 30 days, the software will be returned automatically. As a result, 75% of licensing costs and the payment of the software distribution and the implementation were saved in the first year.
- 4. Control automation
In this area the focus is on availability, security and transparency. Important systems, e.g. merchandise management and production control, are automatically monitored, and any problems which arise are addressed appropriately. For this purpose the implementation of a continuous surveillance and process control in the company is necessary.
Practical Example: A pharmaceutical manufacturer integrates production monitoring of production and computers on-site on a central platform. Every department receives their own dashboard showing important data specific to their system e.g. current performance, waiting lines, temperature. As a result, higher operational safety and transparency were achieved and the amount of maintenance required was reduced.
Four tips on how IT automation can be implemented to immediately add value
Tip one: Address simple processes first
It is best to start with processes where the fastest measurable effects can be generated. Examples are resetting passwords and setting up user profiles.
Tip two: Step by step implementation
Many companies immediately start to plan the IT-automation of entire process chains. They do not consider that the more complex systems and structures there are, the longer it takes. Success is reached very late. Clearly structured process by process solutions are easier and more reliable.
Tip three: Determine standards at the outset
Without process standards, there’s no automation: integrated automation without the intervention of IT employees is only possible when fixed decision-making parameters can lead to specified solutions and when processes always run the same way.
Tip four: Involve employees in project planning
If all IT employees are involved in the digitalization process and targets are collectively discussed, possible issues and concerns can be resolved immediately. Some employees might see their jobs endangered by automation. By including them in project planning they’ll learn from experience that the automation of grunt work relieves pressure on IT departments, giving them more time for projects and tasks that increase service quality and overall value of IT.
IT bears great responsibility and influences company success through innovative and competitive solutions. Facing the big challenges given by digitalization, it’s even more important that companies optimize and automate their IT-systems ideally with as little effort as possible. The resulting added value comes from high agility and the fulfillment of customer requirements without or with minimal interruptions. In this way, IT automation can help implement business opportunities safely and quickly.
The challenges are to quickly generate added value (quick wins), to work out processes and to maintain speed until all objectives are accomplished. This is where an experienced consultant can make the difference between success and failure.