The Value of Process Automation in IT Service Management



According to a survey of global CIOs IDC published in Information Week, the primary focus for companies’ innovation plans is making business processes more efficient. Their top concern is that they won’t be able to innovate fast enough to meet business goals.

Process automation offers the most cost-effective way to make business and IT processes more efficient, reduce costs, ensure compliance and provide both speed and consistency in how organizations conduct and adapt business activities. Expanding process automation and using automation to connect business and IT are both major parts of ITIL best practices. But adoption of process automation typically lags well behind what is possible. Obstacles include lack of clear ownership for process automation initiatives, especially when the processes cross organizational boundaries; concern that automation will create frustrations by imposing inflexibility; experience with process-automation methods that are hard to adapt; lack of clear and complete metrics for deeply assessing how well process automation is working and where it can be improved.

In spite of the need for better automation that can be easily adapted, most IT service management (ITSM) solutions offer limited process automation capabilities – and what’s available for managing processes in these products is not designed to support the flexibility, visibility and extensibility that’s a critical need. This gap exists because ITSM products have traditionally been built to focus on databases and data management, not on process modeling and process orchestration.

Because of this key absence in capabilities, some IT organizations have “rolled their own” ITSM solutions, using platforms like Lotus Notes to take advantage of complex workflow features and easier report editing. But this approach carries high costs for licenses and development, no built-in ITSM-specific functionality or ITIL processes, and challenging upgrades. Rather than adding value by adapting a packaged ITSM product to meet needs, the IT staff spends time duplicating the work that ITSM products experts have built into their products.

To fully realize the advantages of process automation and IT service management best practices (as well as faster time to value), look for a new class of ITSM solutions that have a full-featured process management platform built in. The availability of graphical process modeling and reporting built into process management platforms means that IT organizations can expedite process automation, improve visibility, and adapt rapidly to address changing demands.  This ability to focus on process and adaptability without sacrificing data management also simplifies the extension of process automation to diverse business activities, not only improving IT service but also strengthening the interconnections with the business.

To see a process-based ITSM solution, click to watch the demo of Serena Service Manager in Action.

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