IT Service Management and automation are gaining traction in a variety of enterprises, and for good reason. ITSM automation can lead to increased efficiency and simpler, clearer processes. It can also reduce costs, save time, and relieve teams of repetitive tasks.
If you are completely new to ITSM automation, it can seem a bit confusing. You may be thinking, “My service desk is modern with my human agents, I don’t need automation!”
Simply put: with nearly countless benefits, ITSM automation can take your service desk from good to exceptional. But what qualifies as ITSM automation and why get on board when there are other initiatives waiting to be implemented in your IT team?
What is ITSM Automation?
Although ITSM is often used as a catch-all term for the way you manage information systems, ITSM automation refers specifically to programs and digital methods of use and delivery of ITSM and ITIL processes and best practices. These processes can include creating and tracking tickets, providing self-service answers to simple requests, and works to support enterprise-wide digital transformation.
ITSM automation is achieved with an ITSM software which specifically uses structures and stored knowledge, as well as AI technologies like chatbots or virtual agents. Using automated workflows, a knowledge database, and ITSM tools to provide the infrastructure, ITSM automation works to boost efficiencies across multiple teams and departments, reduces the number of calls and redundant tasks to the service desk, and spans beyond IT. In fact, automated ITSM with a self-service portal can increase productivity enterprise-wide by as much as 30%.
ITSM Automation Initiatives and Use Cases
For teams trying to get back on track in a post-COVID landscape, whether still operating with a remote team, a blended workforce, or an on-site staff, ITSM automation can ease the transition.
ITSM automation initiatives do not have to be complicated, costly, or confusing. It can be used in nearly any department for anything from creating tickets to housing self-help articles for HR, finance, and other teams.
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Top 10 Benefits of ITSM Automation Capabilities
Adopting ITSM automation does not mean the end of people-facing, human interaction. These top 10 benefits of ITSM automation will help you embrace the change and will guide you in your decision on whether automation is right for your IT team. (Spoiler alert: It is!)
Benefit #1 Improved Ticketing and Workflow
When tickets are routed to the service desk, it is important that they go to the right person the first time. Additionally, service desk agents can benefit from automated workflows to ensure that once a ticket comes in, it is handled properly each time. This will not only reduce the amount of time it takes to resolve each ticket from start to finish but will also ensure better overall efficiency.
Benefit #2 More Efficient Change and Incident Management Processes
ITIL provides insight into best practices for change, incident, and problem management. But where does an ITSM automation tool come into play with these processes?
If an individual or group is responsible for both incident and problem management, they’re likely to be too bogged down in the firefighting of incident handling to spend the necessary level of time on the analysis and investigation that effective problem management requires. However, utilizing ITSM software can support incident management and provide necessary insights and tools to create smooth changes and effectively resolve problems and incidents, as well as implement solutions.
Benefit #3 Improved Experience
Customers of the service desk, or employees, are similar to external customers: they expect a positive, personal experience whenever possible. Chatbots and conversational AI with Natural Language Processing (NLP) can help bridge the gap between lengthy knowledge management articles, self-service, and a positive, personal experience. Rather than digging through an outdated wiki in a self-help portal on the ITSM platform, users can converse with a chatbot to find answers, as well as provide insight for the service desk before they begin working on the ticket.
Benefit #4 Greater Efficiency in the Service Desk
An ITSM platform with automation can take an efficient service desk to the next level by amplifying that efficiency. With the help of an automated IT self-service portal (combined with the help of a chatbot), the service desk can maximize their productivity by eliminating time-consuming conversations trying to diagnose and understand problems.
Benefit #5 Repetitive Task Elimination
An ITSM automation tool enhances the ability to eliminate lower level tasks and implement a shift-left strategy. This strategy moves level-1 tickets to self-help and eliminates some lower level requests altogether through the use of automation. This shortens the amount of time spent on repetitive tasks and enables employees working the service desk to focus on higher level issues and more demanding requests.
Benefit #6 Robust Analytics and Reporting
Proper analytics and reporting can help the service desk identify areas needing improvement both inside and outside of their own workflows. Service analytics and reporting through ITSM automation should go beyond flat service desk reports by capturing historical data, storing that data long-term, and using pre-built reporting capabilities to visualize trends so you can be more actionable and efficient within your organization’s service delivery strategy.
Benefit #7 Flexibility in User Experiences
Automation does not have to be one-size-fits-all. Both staff working in the service desk and the employees submitting tickets are afforded greater flexibility with the use of ITSM automation. As different users may have greatly differing needs, an effective ITSM portal with automation capabilities should allow for flexibility in user experience.
Benefit #8 Simpler Escalation of Major Incidents
Similar to the way ITSM automation routes tickets to the appropriate party for resolution, it can also flag major incidents. This is especially helpful in organizations who do not have round-the-clock support teams. For example, there are periods in the evening and on the weekends where traditionally no one is actively monitoring system issues or tickets. In this case, if systems go down or there is some type of outage, it is of paramount importance to have an automated system that escalates major issues and incidents to the right people -- especially when resolution cannot wait for normal business hours because of a major service interruption. This can ultimately result in cost savings as outages do not need to impact the bottom line.
Benefit #9 Availability of Customer Feedback
The ability to collect anonymous user feedback, whether from those submitting tickets or those completing them, can help leaders bridge the gap between what can and should be done. This is useful across the entire enterprise and gives insight into necessary improvements that leaders may not have otherwise noticed or considered.
Benefit #10 Easily Measure Productivity and Simplify Project Management
Especially in a remote or blended workforce, measuring productivity can be difficult. The ability to easily measure productivity can provide leadership with important information to keep projects on track. With ITSM automation, metrics including ticket handling time, call handling time, and project timelines can simplify project management. The ability to quickly and easily manage projects in one place can create an easier experience for all.
Combination is Key
When used altogether with chatbot technology, a knowledge management database, and asset management, ITSM automation can result in a major cost reduction to your IT service desk budget. With fewer repetitive tasks, better execution of self-serve capabilities, and simpler administration, an ITSM solution can provide relief to an overworked service desk and can help your team stay on track.
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