Is your business looking to streamline its IT services, support, and administration with automated workflows? Process automation reduces errors, improves data integrity, and maximizes efficiency. Organizations that automate complex, high-volume processes have more resources for innovation. Optimizing an IT department with automation begins with understanding the purpose and methods of IT Process Automation (ITPA).
Below, we define ITPA and explore real-world use cases. We also discuss the benefits and limitations of automation. Finally, we share how Bubble can help you take actionable steps to automate IT processes. Bubble's no-code builder allows you to create a custom solution or web app for teams of any size.
IT Process Automation Defined
IT Process Automation utilizes customized workflows to automate high-volume, repetitive software and IT tasks. In a recent study, McKinsey & Company found IT departments spend up to 90% of their time on manual tasks. Organizations that automate some of these time-consuming processes improve productivity.
Types of Process Automation
Compare ITPA to other categories of process automation:
- Business Process Automation (BPA): BPA includes complex processes at the organizational level.
- Robotic Process Automation (RPA): RPA uses software to perform repetitive tasks, often hardware. API or database connection is less common.
- Digital Process Automation (DPA): DPA includes software solutions that streamline complex processes. DPA optimizes workflows involving many departments, tools, and techniques.
- IT Process Automation (ITPA): involves software processes around information technology. Where DPA and BPA involve enterprise-wide processes, ITPA is specific to one department.
ITPA Use Cases and Examples
Some real-world examples of process automation include:
- Compliance: Improve the accuracy and efficiency of compliance testing. With Bubble, easily create compliance reporting forms that are automatically sent after a triggering event.
- Bug Reporting and Testing: Empower teams to focus on finding solutions. ITPA eliminates inconsistencies and bug reporting improving communication with engineers.
- Network Automation: Automate system upgrades, patches, and configuration changes. Automated processes are an effective preventative measure against common network performance issues.
- Service Requests and Ticketing: Track, assign, and organize service requests and tickets. Improve communication and support by eliminating missed touch points and lost tasks.
- Messaging and Notifications: Communication is a common pain point for IT departments. Automated messages and notifications prove the accuracy and efficiency of communications. For example, Bubble integrates with email management systems, allowing you to automatically send a message to the support team every time a support ticket is created.
- Server Automation: Server maintenance processes are rife with opportunities for automation. Restarts shutdowns, disc space cleanup, backups, restores, provisioning, and de-provisioning are among them.
- Asset Tracking and Management: Equipment oversight reduces losses and improves return rates. Use our tools to manage assets from onboarding through offboarding and everything in between.
Benefits and Limitations of Automation
IT Process Automation reduces communication errors and improves transparency. Tracking and automated reports keep everyone on the same page. ITPA workflows reduce human and technical errors, which saves time on unnecessary corrections. Increase compliance, reduce errors, and improve communication. Bubble’s no-code editor makes building custom solutions simple.
While the benefits to a company’s bottom line can be many, there are some limitations to consider before implementing an ITPA solution. It’s important to recognize that ITPA solutions need maintenance for continued performance and healthy ITPA processes include regular audits and updates.
Additionally, automated solutions lack human intuition. Effective workflows drop ambiguity and break tasks into defined actionable steps, so any process that relies on human interpretation is not a candidate for automation.
8 Steps to Execute ITPA
There are eight steps to implementing ITPA within your organization. Below, we explore these steps broken into three stages: planning, implementation, and monitoring.
Stage I: Planning
Step 1: identify opportunities for automation. A process is easy to automate if it fits the following five criteria:
- High-volume: Organizations gain the most significant boost in efficiency by automating high-volume processes.
- Error-prone: Processes prone to technical and human error.
- The process is a series of subtasks, broken into actions and reactions.
- The process does not require manual intervention.
- The process exists in a fairly stable environment. Exceptions, technical errors, and unexpected conditions break down automated processes.
Step 2: identify pain points.
- Exceptions: Automation works in absolutes. Nuance is challenging to manage in an environment that requires strict definitions.
- Manual Requirements: Manual intervention is an inevitable need, but it doesn’t have to be 90% of one’s time. Automate subtasks of manual processes for maximum efficiency.
Step 3: define scope and priorities.
Identify the primary goals of your ITPA initiative and the relevant performance indicators. Do you need to increase the number of completed service requests per month? Are you looking to lower the amount of asset loss per year?
Stage II: Implementation
Step 4: build your ITPA Tool Kit.
With a clear vision of your needs, you may consider building your own custom tool to meet your needs. With no-code tools like Bubble, you can create custom IT process automation apps without coding. Multiple departments can participate in development, and you can customize roles and permissions for your users & collaborators.
Here are some basic features that every ITPA tool should include:
- Logical connectors: Breakdown processes into subtasks and create workflows that match the branches.
- Process life cycle management: Bubble’s privacy rules allow you to create users with various permissions. Internal app collaborators on your team can add workflows, make changes, and stop processes.
- Process updates: Check statuses, workflow paths, and bottlenecks in one place. Bubble pushes data in real time, so you always know what's happening.
- Reporting: Collect data on automation and performance.
- Pre-built pages and components: Turn frequent subtasks into reusable templates.
- Drag and drop workflow builder: An intuitive workflow builder is the hallmark of an effective ITPA tool. Build out fully customized workflows with Bubble’s easy-to-use interface.
- Integrations: XML, email, Command Line Interface, and web services are typical integrations. Bubble offers an extensive plugin marketplace and custom solutions.
- Trigger types: Scheduled, manual, and event based triggers can be automated with backend workflows
Step 5: Deconstruct tasks. Break down each process into steps, defined by logical statements. Remember that these workflows are a series of actions and reactions. To translate human workflows, you can frame steps as logic statements.
Step 6: Build workflows. Organize defined activities into purpose-built processes. Creating an automated workflow from a human workflow is a challenge. Identify tasks performed the same way every time, with no exceptions. Manual tasks with highly regimented components are candidates for partial automation.
Stage III: Maintenance
Step 7: Don't forget to monitor. Collect and analyze data relevant to key performance indicators. Generate automated reports to make analyzing performance simple. There are limitless possibilities to display automation data. Organize reporting into easy-to-digest visual representations that relate to each goal.
Step 8: Audit. Examine automated processes for opportunities for refinement and productivity bottlenecks. Processes evolve and laws change, so plan on performing regular audits and updates.
Put the Power of Automation to Work
With a clear roadmap to ITPA implementation, it's time to put the power of automation to work for you. An effective IT process automation strategy requires clear objectives and actionable steps:
- Define your organization's automation needs and set measurable goals.
- Create a diverse variety of workflows and activities.
- Install changes and track results.
- Empower your IT team to spend less time on repetitive task work.
- Get back to high-impact projects and development.
IT process automation improves the performance of IT teams. Simple automation and user-friendly custom applications can have a significant impact on the capacity of your IT talent, and be part of an effective ITPA strategy for your organization.
Bubble is a leader in the no-code movement. Bubble offers a powerful point-and-click web editor and cloud hosting platform that allows users to build fully customizable web applications and workflows, ranging from simple prototypes to complex marketplaces, SaaS products, and more.
Millions of users are building and launching businesses on Bubble — many have gone on to participate in top accelerator programs, such as Y Combinator, and even raised $365M in venture funding. Bubble is more than just a product. We are a strong community of builders and entrepreneurs who are united by the belief that everyone should be able to create technology.