If you are an IT professional, you probably don’t need convincing of the benefits of automation. In fact, you probably have several tools in your environment that are delivering automation of one form or another right now. For many organizations, enterprise software tools for things such as configuration management, service desk management or IT monitoring have been installed to help automate tasks and proceses.
However, you have probably also seen the limits of process automation when one tool ends and another begins. Many IT processes span disciplines such as Development, Security, Service Desk, Infrastructure and Operations. However, the gaps that occur between these disciplines often cause processes to come to a screeching halt. Perhaps manual approval is needed? Maybe a configuration variable is necessary to proceed? Sometimes the disciplines simply can’t agree on how to automate the gap. These process chasms must be filled with manual procedures, custom programming or scripting – all of which create delays, make tracking difficult and often result in errors.
Service process orchestration is about connecting the tools and processes that enable organizations to complete processes automatically and consistently, all while creating a compliance audit trail. By automating these process gaps, organizations can improve their costs and the agility to focus more of their time and effort on digital transformation rather than on manual, repetitive tasks.
Making It Real: Service Process Orchestration Use Cases
To illustrate how service process orchestration can improve the speed and agility of your infrastructure, let’s focus on four real use cases that can drive quick results:
- Service request fulfillment – automating the fulfillment of common user requests of IT. Examples include automating the password reset process, automating employee onboarding or granting access to IT applications or services.According to a study by MetricNet in 20141, each call to the service desk costs organizations about $22. If that call has to go to Level 2 support to get resolved, it triples to $66 and if it needs on-site support, it triples again to about $198. Thus, automating fulfillment of service desk requests can have immediate and tangible cost saving benefits. It also can help improve user satisfaction because they can request and receive the service they need much faster through automation.
- Closed-loop change and configuration management – ensuring that the change process is enforced before configuration tools make changes to infrastructure. Following the change process in an automated way can enable compliance but without the associated friction. As an example, for preselected change types, initiating a change in the server automation tool (such as BladeLogic Server Automation) would trigger the creation of a change request in the service desk (i.e. Remedy ITSM). Once the change is approved, the server automation tool can execute and verify the change and then the change record can be updated in the service desk. The effect is that change records are created and updated automatically, generating the documentation that enables better troubleshooting (shorter MTTR), a more resilient infrastructure and less cost than doing it manually.
- Event triage and remediation – automating the response, diagnosis & fixing of technical events from monitoring tooling. Many organizations have seen quick and tangible results simply due to managing the gigantic volume of events in multiple environments. Events are generated for meeting server or network thresholds that may or may not indicate a concern. And, often the action to remediate a particular event is well known and repeated manually.
In event triage and remediation, events can be enriched with additional information to make troubleshooting easier for humans. This can be information such as the details about the last change that was recorded for a server. Alternatively, if the event has a known remediation task, it can often be automated and quickly remediated, such as applying an operating system patch, flushing the memory cache or adding a virtual disk volume – tasks that a service desk admin might otherwise do manually several times a day.
- eBonding (ticket synchronization) – synchronizing incidents, changes and requests across multiple service desk systems. These multiple service desks systems could be due to acquisitions, supply chain partners or decentralized organizational structures. Often large organizations are dealing with multiple service desks such as manufacturer/supplier relationships or outsourcers managing multiple customer environments, creating the need to synchronize tickets in order to keep communications flowing.
Matching up service desk incidents, changes and requests across service desk systems from multiple vendors helps keep the different organizations working together rather than duplicating work. It helps resolve problems faster, and at lower cost, to keep the business moving forward.
The four use cases discussed here are commonly encountered problems that can be quickly and easily solved, delivering fast payback and strong ROI. BMC Atrium Orchestrator is helping organizations to automate the gaps by connecting tools and processes to help save time and labor costs while improving compliance. To learn more about how BMC Atrium Orchestrator can help you automate the gaps and solve other user cases with it’s flexibility and fast library of connectors and workflows, visit our product page at http://www.bmc.com/it-solutions/atrium-orchestrator.html
1 Metronet Desktop Support Benchmarks Study, 2014, https://www.slideshare.net/MetricNet/benchmark-2014-global-results-for-desktop-support-v2-1 ↩
These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.