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IT Process Automation: A Primer

Smart Automation

IT organizations today are faced with numerous challenges that spill over from one day to the next. From handling requests and implementing new technologies, they are constantly looking to efficiently eliminate bottlenecks without hampering daily activities. To combat such a situation, organizations have uncompromisingly resorted to one solution – Automation.

Connecting multiple systems and applications, IT process automation (ITPA) helps unify an infrastructure of processes whilst minimizing manual interference. Whether it’s onboarding new employees or monitoring periodic performance, companies create workflows that seamlessly assist them with these functions. But in order to understand the crux of IT process automation, it’s first important to be aware of the forms it takes.


RPA or Robotic Process Automation refers to easing out specific repetitive tasks initially undertaken by humans such as copy-pasting information from one field to another. RPA solutions are commonly pre-built, easily installed, and designed, to run independent of database or application programming interfaces.

Alternatively, Business Process Automation (BPA) can be identified as a subset of IT process automation. Used to automate a plethora of business transactions and activities, each BPA solution is specifically customized to a particular enterprise. These solutions are further connected to an API and can be integrated into data systems that occasionally include an RPA software.

Challenges with IT Process Automation

When organizations undertake an enhanced form of process building, they often run into unforeseen challenges. While this may be the unfortunate byproduct of innovation, finding a workable solution is an absolute necessity. Some of the main challenges that arise as a result may be elaborated as follows:

1) Difficulty To Scale:

To be successful, business must scale. However, functioning in a volatile marketplace has its perils:

  • Employees resisting adoption
  • Limitations of tools
  • Lack of strategic direction from management
  • Unexpected complexities of processes

While many of these issues are mostly resolved in the research phase, business demands require them to be consistently combed for problems. Regular oversight from management is essential to keep these processes in place and avoid unnecessary interruptions.

2) Errors In Implementation:

Initiating any process is always tough. Ensuring maximum efficiency requires companies to primarily break the problem down into manageable steps. Usually carried out during the research phase, businesses must make sure that processes are incredibly detailed. This exercise further allows IT teams to scope out the nature of the problem, without being overwhelmed by its complexity.

3) Implementing Everything At Once:

To attain optimal effectiveness, tasks must be automated one at a time. For example, in the case of accounts payable, organizations must begin with automating statements before moving to debt collection. This allows IT teams to make steady progress, offer better training, and employ a higher rate of success.

4) Identifying The Right Business Process To Automate:

Creating opportunities for automation makes it easier for companies to send emails, do data entry, and even schedule meetings. However, managers continue to tussle with already-existing manual processes. As a consequence, businesses face hindrances with productivity making it difficult to allocate resources where they need them most.

5) No Goal Management:

Once goals are defined at the commencement of a project, they are often neglected through the passage of time. Running systems need periodic checks to ensure that workflows aren’t affected in the process of achieving goals. This, however, defeats the purpose as it un-automates the process, forcing employees to manually step in to complete functions. Confronting this problem requires organizations to continually monitor and manage systems, as and when needed.

Where Do Organizations Use ITPA

In the present scenario, enterprises use ITPA to elevate organizational efficiency by leveraging appropriate digital technologies. This enables them to carry out business operations such as invoicing, sales orders, accounts reconciliation, system queries, and payroll, with minimal human intervention.

Organizations that are fundamentally service-based benefit immensely from IT process automation. IT teams begin with identifying potential errors that are prone to leave gaps within the system. This comes as a breath of fresh air while companies constantly face problems like information loss, missed deadlines, and paperwork left on site.

IT Process automation also plays a vital role in helping software play its part. For example, a simple entry from an engineer into the system can automatically alert suppliers about hardware requirements such as sensors or specific types of cables. Such a process greatly reduces the need for purchase orders as it is fully automated and generated by the system. Additionally, these improvements can assist in industries like loan processing and approvals, customer service, and approval management.

How To Implement ITPA

When organizations undertake an enhanced form of process building, they often run into unforeseen challenges. While this may be the unfortunate byproduct of innovation, finding a workable solution is an absolute necessity. Some of the main challenges that arise as a result may be elaborated as follows:

1) List the processes to be automated

To begin process automation, IT set ups must first define the right metrics and KPIs. This allows them to identify those tasks and operations that will benefit the most from ITPA.

2) Determine the requirements for each process

For each process, businesses must know the appropriate tools required for automation. This includes hardware, software, data, and permissions. Subsequently, organizations must also take into consideration its users, and their interactions with it. This may necessitate input from multiple employees and also, the manner in which they submit such data.

3) Choose the right tools

To complete a process successfully, IT organizations must focus their efforts towards securing four main aspects:

  • Ease of use
  • Flexibilkity
  • Compatibility
  • Cost

These steps ensure that employees are adequately trained, ready to adapt to business changes, are engaging with existing software and hardware, and complying within overall budgets.

4) Set it up

Setting the process up varies depending on the chosen hardware and software. In a situation where multiple tools are in use, it is important that organizations ensure compatibility with one another.

5) Test the automation

Prior to using the automation in a live environment, companies must test out all data inputs and outputs. This step enables companies to ensure the process is working as expected, therefore avoiding unnecessary disruptions to the business.

6) Implement it

Training employees on how to use ITPA is an imperative for guaranteed success. Providing timely support when needed helps alleviate bumps on the road, enhancing overall business productivity.

7) Monitor and Optimize

While carrying out the steps outlined above, organizations must understand that modifications are an integral part of the automation process. Regular feedback from employees helps discover unforeseen gaps in the system that ultimately ensure adherence to objectives.

Intelligently automating IT processes have been a stepping stone for continued business innovation. Helping organizations advance their operations by actively generating reports, process automation enables them to make model decisions while conducting activities across multiple environments.

Todd Kirkland
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