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April 26, 2022

17 minutes read

Take Your IT Group to the Next Level by Automating the Mundane

By

Andrew Graf

Key Takeaways

  • Gaining buy-in from employees for iPaaS may take time, but eventually, they will come around.
  • Implementing iPaaS is a step-by-step process.
  • Point-to-point integrations are time-consuming and may cause issues.
  • You don’t need to be an expert to use TeamDynamix iPaaS.
  • iPaaS customers use the platform in a variety of ways.
  • A great lack of IT maturity and automation exists across organizations and it is hindering digital transformation.

Service management is all about asking ourselves the question, “what can we do to make the user experience better?” Simplifying and speeding up processes, specifically within the realm of IT, is a great place to start improving the user experience. This is where iPaaS comes in. With integrations and automation in place, repetitive tasks that IT employees are typically required to do manually can be done automatically.

Andrew Graf, Chief Product Officer at TeamDynamix, recently spoke with Ken Libutti, Chief Information Officer at Palm Beach State College, about how iPaaS helps his organization automate the mundane and gives valuable time back to their IT team.

Gaining Buy-In From Employees for iPaaS May Take Time, But Eventually, They Will Come Around

Ken Libutti, Chief Information Officer at Palm Beach State, knew that upgrading their service management processes could do wonders for the college. He says that once he saw specifically what iPaaS could do, he realized their support system going forward was not going to have to be focused on IT and could be spread across the organization.

Although this sounds like something their IT team would love, Ken knew that they’d be hesitant to adopt a new platform and just see it as “something else we have to deal with and maintain.” However, they gave it a try, and Libutti jokingly said “now if I tried to take it out of their hands I think I would have a mutiny.”

Implementing iPaaS is a Step-by-Step Process

Palm Beach State put a big focus on making sure their implementation of iPaaS went smoothly. Libutti made a point to take the new processes and make them mature within the IT group first, although they did anticipate eventually bringing other departments on board with iPaaS as well.

A few people were dedicated to understanding what it would look like to bring another department onto the system, like being familiar with what background tasks would need to be done and how they would turn the support back over to the business unit after everything has been configured. So after the initial step of getting the IT team comfortable with the software, they slowly introduced it to other parts of the business.

Graf points out the importance of making sure your iPaaS platform gives users across all departments and divisions the ability to write integrations and automations safely.

He elaborates on this, saying that by “safety” he means “putting up guardrails” so as to not run the risk of a department overriding data in your ERP system if it’s not something they should be able to do.

It’s important that they have permission to automate certain tasks without making significant changes they shouldn’t be able to make given their position. Giving each department certain kinds of permission within iPaaS is a necessary step in the implementation process.

Point-to-point integrations are Time-Consuming and May Cause Issues

Once using iPaaS, Palm Beach State wanted to take full advantage of all that it could do. Libutti explains, “We didn’t want to build a bunch of point-to-point integrations, rather we wanted to leverage iPaaS to manage all integrations to one data warehouse.”

With the number of systems they have talking to each other, point-to-point integrations become an “administrative nightmare,” Libutti says.

Graf adds to this point, saying he has heard an analyst call point-to-point integration “evil” because of its slow, inflexible and inconsistent nature.

You Don’t Need to Be an Expert to Use TeamDynamix iPaaS

With TeamDynamix iPaaS specifically, users of the platform don’t need to be experts on coding or scripting in order to build and maintain integrations. Allowing non-IT employees to do this leads to a tremendous amount of time saved on the IT side of things, which provides organizations with an increase in efficiency as well as an increase in employee satisfaction. Often, professionals in the world of IT aren’t passionate about IT because of these mundane tasks. iPaaS allows them to automate these tasks and gives them back the time to focus on what they really enjoy doing and want to spend their time on.

Organizations often have a handful of IT employees who are proficient in things like writing Python script or Javascript, they know APIs, understand the databases, etc. However, these people are usually so buried in work that it will take them quite a while to implement a great idea that only they have the skills to implement. iPaaS gives these skilled employees the time and ability to use their valuable knowledge that many others do not have.

iPaaS Customers Use the Platform in a Variety of Ways

Let’s look at some of the ways Palm Beach State has used IT service management to manage all the applications in its portfolio, use data integrations and automate important and repetitive processes to free up its IT resources:

  • With remote work becoming more popular since the pandemic, Palm Beach State has used service management as a tool to improve accountability. The platform shows what work is getting done at home and managers are then able to prove or disprove that it is getting done as efficiently as it would typically be getting done in the office.
  • Creating Microsoft Teams sites and channels is a common activity, whether someone requires one for their own department or a specific project. IT wanted to maintain the control of these teams and channels but didn’t necessarily want to do it on their own, so they created a process that involves two tickets. With the first ticket someone will put in a request for a Teams site and it will go through an approval process. Once that request is approved another ticket is generated that asks the user simple questions about what the site is for, what they want it to be named, and who is involved. Based on the responses, iPaaS uses that information to generate the Teams site and channel and assign users to it. This is a completely automated process that used to take a week when done by admins and now it takes a day.
  • Based on what work is being requested in a ticket, iPaaS properly routes it to the correct individuals. The process they have in place involves specific business units being ‘tier 1 support’ and the IT team being tier 2. After a ticket is submitted it goes to tier 1 and they do their part in providing support for issues that pertain to their area of business, which allows that team to take ownership of their own services. After the tier 1 support is complete and those teams do as much as they can, if there is still work to be done the ticket gets automatically routed to tier 2 (IT).
  • The college places a focus on what they call a “Zero Day Start.” This means that on an employee’s first day of work their accounts are already created, their phone is in place, their computer is set up, they have access to the systems they need, etc. Automation is used for a lot of this.
  • When planning events, iPaaS assigns tickets to various areas from the same, single platform. This way the user (in this case the event planner) only has to look in one place to see the status of tickets they submitted to security, facilities, maintenance, IT, etc. It used to take five different pieces of paper to schedule an event within their organization- one for each area that is involved in the planning- that would outline what needs to be done. Now it is all in one place, not only making it more convenient, but also more organized which ensures that everything gets done.
  • Currently Palm Beach State is working on using iPaaS to integrate the ticketing platform with an outside system that their security services team uses. Once the integration is complete a number of new capabilities will exist- the security system will be able to alert the college of things they need to deal with, if the college finds something they need the system to do they can easily assign tasks to them, if a ticket is created in TeamDynamix the other system will automatically be notified and do some of the remediation that was asked for.

A Lack of IT Maturity and Automation Exists Across Organizations and it is Hindering Digital Transformation

The velocity at which change is required in the current environment can’t be kept up with when organizations are waiting for an IT group that already has a huge backlog. This backlog is obvious when we see the following statistics:

  • More than half (52%) of organizations handle repetitive ITSM tasks like user management, provisioning and name updates, manually.
  • Another 38% have implemented automation, but only through a patchwork of scripts and APIs.
  • Just 10% of organizations say they’re able to leverage an integration and workflow platform to handle these tasks automatically.
  • 44% heavy reliance on IT to administer the system.
  • Only 8% rated themselves as fully optimized.
  • Over half talked about their ITSM solution being insufficient.
  • 41% said their automation capabilities were not sufficient.

However, some organizations do want to make a change, as we see in the 2022 state of ITSM and ESM market study:

  • 51% say improving workflows and data integration was critical to digital transformation and it was their top priority.
  • 38% saw the need to modernize their service management platform.
Andrew Graf

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