IT service desk technicians should not be spinning their wheels on mundane, repetitive tasks that can be easily automated – they should be doing things that move the needle strategically.
For instance, if someone enters a ticket for a name change, or to onboard a new employee, it is no longer okay to simply have a ticket that dead ends to a queue for action. Instead, we are now seeing full-blown automation that will do things like:
- Automatically create new users in the Active Directory.
- Update group and user permissions.
- Manage basic name changes or company moves.
- Provision software.
- Update user settings and permissions.
As we look forward, enterprise integration and workflow automation are going to fundamentally change how organizations think about IT Service Management.
Currently, most service organizations are spinning their wheels when dealing with procedural and repetitive ITSM tasks.
With an integration and automation layer, tasks such as user management, onboarding/offboarding, name updates and so on can be executed directly from the service desk platform. Without integration and automation capabilities, service desk technicians are doing this work manually or are relying on a patchwork of scripts and APIs.
Read More: Companies say they need automation, easy-to-manage ITSM.
What we see now is that IT Service Management software needs to have an inherent integration and workflow automation layer. To do this, many are using a tool called iPaaS (Integration Platform as a Service) to work directly with their ITSM Software. This is a cloud-based platform used to connect a variety of different systems, technologies and applications – whether they are on-premises or in the cloud – and avoid the use of middleware and specialized hardware. Using iPaaS, people can build automated workflows that do several tasks, simple or complex, including the syncing of data, onboarding/offboarding or resetting passwords.
BYU-Idaho started exploring TeamDynamix iPaaS when they realized they wanted to automate various processes on their campus, specifically onboarding new employees and sending out financial aid notifications. Using iPaaS with TeamDynamix ITSM, the team at BYU-Idaho created flows to take an employee through the entire onboarding process.
This is incredibly beneficial and saves the university a lot of time since they regularly hire student employees. These students need a lot of access to different tools and programs and giving access/taking it away is now a seamless, quick task.
“We’re doing a lot (with iPaaS) in HR with onboarding flows, and there are a lot of other groups around campus that want to use the onboarding flows to onboard an employee from the beginning, all the way to getting their equipment sent out and getting them into Active Directory,” Nepal Plummer, Director of Product and Service Management, said. “And we haven’t even opened up the floodgates yet.”
As for tracking student financial aid awards, the university used to have to send the award letters through Outlook with no way of tracking them. Now with iPaaS, there are individual tickets for each award letter so that counselors can see the information they need for each individual student.
They also created a flow that allows the IT team to recall and restore deleted data in tickets. Kevin Cook, Application System Engineer, explains the significance of this workflow, saying “We had 2500 tickets that didn’t have a value because that choice was accidentally deleted. So, we were able to use iPaaS to go out and grab a report with those tickets and update them to put that value back on the tickets.”
At Pima County, one of the goals of bringing on TeamDynamix for ITSM and iPaaS (integration platform as a service) is to reduce toil.
“People feel so much more empowered and have so much more worth when they are doing things that are intellectually rigorous and challenging versus when they are just repeating the same mechanical actions over and over and over with very little thought,” Mark Hayes, information technology leader at Pima County, said.
“Our ITSM is our entry point to our entire IT organization, and we want our employees to graduate out of this area into other roles within our organization – network technicians, client services, desktop technicians, developers and project managers,” he continued. “If all they’re doing is handling tickets and doing the same mundane, manual tasks over and over that’s not particularly great training. So investing in tools that allow our employees to engage in meaningful work is something that’s important to us as an overall IT organization.”
With TeamDynamix now in place, Pima County is looking to automate and integrate as much of the manual ITSM processes into workflows as they can.
“The drudgery of working through mundane, repetitive tasks doesn’t exist just in IT,” Hayes said. “I think the more we can reduce toil within the departments that we support, the more people are going to buy in and understand the value of what we’re trying to achieve. There’s nothing like success to breed more success, and once other departments see the benefits they’re going to want these tools too.”