Across industries, the pace of automation is increasing. Companies have gained familiarity with technologies like optical character recognition (OCR) and robotics process automation (RPA) and are seeking to extend gains. When RPA is coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) and business process management, automation becomes smart: able to make decisions and take specific actions based on predetermined conditions. A future of hyper-automation is not too far off. In this model, companies automate everything they possibly can and use RPA, AI, and machine learning (ML) to orchestrate increasingly complex processes. Already, supply chain processes show the power of automation, as they are able to adapt to hour-by-hour challenges such as changes in material availability, consumer demand volatility, and logistics.
Business and IT leaders like automation because it has the potential to astronomically increase enterprise productivity and provides incredible return on investment. While human beings tap out due to overwork, machines run 24/7 hours a day, never get tired, and behave consistently. In addition, automation can help companies control spending in an uncertain economic environment, where raw material and labor costs are increasing. In a recent survey, executives self-rated as 5.04 on a score from one to 10 when asked how close they were to transforming into an “ideal organization transformed by intelligent automation,” indicating that they are making slow but steady progress towards achieving their goal.
This blog is for teams seeking to automate business and IT processes. It recommends using a CMDB to auto-discover and manage all automation assets, to improve their performance and reliability.
However, automation is also increasing management complexity. Companies are deploying automation tools and platforms, no-code or low-code applications, chatbots, and more to streamline business and IT processes and create digital workflows. All of these assets must be identified, monitored, and managed to ensure that they’re up-to-date, secure, highly available, and performing as expected. As a result, many companies are deploying next-generation configuration management databases (CMDBs), which use automated processes of their own. Modern CMDBs leverage both automated agentless and agent-based discovery and application dependency mapping to identify all automation assets and track changes and configurations over time and identify the applications and services supported by devices. By so doing, IT teams help ensure that automation assets are well-maintained to achieve desired business goals.
More than two-thirds (69%) of enterprises are planning to implement intelligent automation to improve productivity, but only 11% have finalized their strategy.
Gain These Benefits of Automation
Automation delivers incredible business and IT benefits including:
- Enabling teams to do their best work: Automation frees humans from the drudgery of mind-numbing routine work, so that they can focus on higher-level priorities like innovating and serving customers. In addition, with more time available, employees can train on new skills such as developing no-code or low-code applications used for automation.
- Reducing operational costs: Automation enables companies to mindfully manage labor costs, such as focusing hiring on skilled costs and decreasing overtime pay. In addition, end-to-end automation decreases business process costs. Organizations adopting intelligent automation expect to reduce costs by 31% over a three-year timeframe.
- Improving process accuracy: Teams can create set-and-forget automation processes that run routinely and consistently, reducing human error. Many automated processes also synthesize vast amounts of data, where it wouldn’t be possible for an employee to drive swiftly to insight.
- Enhance the customer experience: Many companies have deployed tools such as interactive voice response (IVR) and chatbots that automate the collection of information and route customers to the right expert for support, improving their service experience.
- Strengthening compliance: RPA bots perform processes consistently, time after time. They also self-report actions into a log, enabling companies to audit and report on processes. This makes complying with internal business standards, customer requirements, and industry regulations significantly easier.
- Scaling with growth: While human labor is costly and time-consuming to scale, businesses can extend automation to handle more growth. They can automate more processes across business functions. Teams can also create end-to-end processes that integrate with suppliers, partners, and customers and accelerate responses to changing market and business dynamics.
How to Realize More Potential from Automation
- Develop a compelling vision: Enterprise teams need to develop a holistic vision about what automation means for their company and where they can reap the most benefits. This process typically involves convening leaders from different business units to discuss the worst pain points with processes and quantify the financial impact of automating processes. This information can be leveraged to develop a business case and gain approval, investment, a team, and other resources.
- Create a flexible strategy: More than 23% of leaders aren’t certain if they have an automation strategy, so that’s a good place to start. In addition, 25% say their strategy isn’t measured.
Developing a strategy that identifies the gap between the current and desired future state, discusses new capabilities that will be created, identifies metrics, creates benchmark data, and provides a trustworthy roadmap is key to getting large-scale automation projects off the ground and securing and maintaining C-suite support.
- Experiment with tools: Software companies offer a plethora of automation platforms and tools. For example, Microsoft Power Automate enables users to build automated processes using low-code, drag-and-drop tools. As a result, it’s easy for business users to gain experience with tools and create processes that free up time and simplify work. These tools can also be used for a pilot project, to create rapid business value and create momentum for further changes.
- Train talent on automation skills: Almost no (just 2%) of companies say their team has the right skills to push automation further and faster, indicating a need for cross- and upskilling. Top skills companies are looking for are computer programming and scripting, automation testing, team collaboration, source-code management, AI and ML, and more.
- Consider creating an automation center of excellence (COE): By establishing a COE, you can create the talent, tools, and best practices that all of your business functions can leverage. And with dedicated support, it’s likely that you’ll be able to increase the pace of automation deployments and ensure their success.
How a Technology Leader Is Leveraging CMDB Automation
Dell EMC is a leading technology products and services company. Dell EMC uses Device42, a next-generation CMDB to streamline upfront processes with client modernization engagements. Device42 automates the discovery of all IT hardware, software and virtualized assets and maps dependencies to create a holistic picture of all infrastructure and the relationships between hardware, networks, business applications, and databases.
Device42’s automation capabilities enable Dell EMC analytics to spend more time planning cloud migrations. The Dell EMC team can quickly determine which applications can be rehosted in the cloud, which ones need to be reengineered to provide desired capabilities, and which ones need to retired.
“With the data and diagrams provided by Device42, we can go to a client more quickly and create different use cases,” says Paul DiNicola, senior consultant. “In addition, we can answer questions and get to a deeper level of understanding that we might not have been able to get to before.”
Make the Most of Automation with Automated Discovery and Dependency Mapping
Device42 provides companies with the tool they need to automate critical IT processes – and manage vital automation resources. With on-demand auto-discovery and dependency mapping, companies can easily identify, manage, upgrade, and extend automation capabilities. For example, being able to map dependencies reveals IT and business processes that would be good candidates for automation. In addition, IT and DevOps teams can use Device42 to automate common workflows, such as identifying key assets with certain attributes, detecting anomalies such as excessive power use or high temperatures, and linking data to service requests.
Make automation work harder and scale results faster with Device42.
Written by – Rick Johnston