Worldwide, managed service providers (MSPs) face a common challenge of finding ways to maximize output and organize workflow in order to reduce costs and increase profitability. A successful IT system requires the usage of right tools and surprisingly, the IT processes are still one of the least automated business segments today. For managed services providers, all the right tools revolve around automated software as the concept of managed services itself revolves around eliminating the challenges of traditional methods and the functions of a break-fix model.
By automating IT process and tasks, managed service providers can overcome the challenges of system organization, cost reduction and time management. Here’s how:
What is IT process automation?
IT process automation is the process of automating IT-related tasks in order to address an operational requirement or business situation. The purpose of process automation is to streamline workflow, reduce labor-intensive manual tasks, accelerate processes and eliminate costly delays.
Service automation is an ideal solution for managed service providers facing the challenge of managing processes remotely across via various channels across multiple sites. MSPs are required to find ways to identify, analyze and resolve a number of incidents quickly as they arise as timely a manner as possible in order to meet service levels and profitability.
The key functions of managed service automation
The automation of managed services features some key functions. The major ingredients for the success of MSPs include:
Remote monitoring and Management –RMM enables the tracking of important IT functions like diagnostic alerts and performance reviews in order to ensure they are aware of the issues with the IT infrastructure they are monitoring. This reduces the future occurrences and the number of on-site visits required.
Professional Service automation – Alongside remote monitoring and management to boost the managed service offering, professional service automation is something to be considered. PSA is used to automate administrative tasks, monitor billing and customer account management so that the managed service provider can focus on the service offering.
Integration of RMM and PSS–It becomes quite important to check how well remote monitoring and management and professional service automation perform alongside simultaneously. Sure, they operate well separately but, when you integrate them, they complement each other. The workflow of PSS can be leveraged with the visibility of RMM in order to get a true end-to-end managed service solution. Also, this creates more efficiency for your services.
Benefits of automation
The main advantages of managed service automation include:
- Increased productivity
- Improved quality
- Faster service with fewer people
- Improved consistency and robustness of processes and product.
- Increased output consistency
- Scalable service foundation
- Reduced human labor costs and thus, expenses
How does automation reduce managed services costs?
With process automation, the managed service providers can continue to improve their service offerings and impress their customers with attention in-detail. Automating managed services can help them streamline service delivery, stay lean, reduce costs and grow profits in multiple ways:
Save operations time – Managed services automation allows the MSPs to maximize their productivity. Automating the labour-intensive processes reduces the waste of time as well as resources and helps the MSPs in a better allocation of resources.
Optimize resources – The remote nature of incident management demands inherently. Thus, the development and implementation of a process workflow that optimizes all available resources becomes a challenge. IT process automation (ITPA) allows the MSPs to centrally manage, automate and support a large number of data centers from a common network operation center.
Reduce risk of error – ITPA leverages bi-directional communication process to remotely control the execution or advancement of any step within a particular IT process like re-starting a server.
Improve system recovery time–After solving an IT critical issue, sooner you get the critical systems running, the better. Implementing managed service automation procedures improves this recovery time. And, less downtime implies improved service levels for the operator and lower risk of loss of subscriber.
Managed Service Automation- a future outlook
The managed services are accelerating demands for automation. Running processes across diverse infrastructures requires multiple resources and in virtual as well as cloud environment, resource allocation is the key for execution of workloads.
In the coming time, bringing the services into the automation portfolio will automatically evolve as a great way to allocate resources to workload processing when and where required and, to return those resources for use elsewhere following the completion of the workload. In the near future, it can be anticipated that:
Self-service automation will serve the entire organization – The service processes are interlinked and they rely on IT technologies. The self-service concept implies that the end user of a service process can choose from a service catalog within an automation framework and then initiate the process themselves without involving manual efforts from IT operations.
A common automation framework will emerge as a complete automation solution –Service automation is made up of multiple automation solutions that their trace their roots back decades. The idea of managed service automation is to bring all the foundation pillars of automation into a centralized and unified automation solution accounting for all these in addition to a number of contemporary technologies like running IT processes, infrastructure monitoring etc. This concept of a single automation engine will soon arrive to full maturation.
Reduce the cost of IT operations with Automation – The number of complex technologies comprising managed services is increasing, but the cost and manual manpower need to remain the same. IT automation will serve as the catalyst driving efficiency and reducing the cost of operations with the automation of time consuming and resource-intensive processes and also through the reduction of errors that arise from manual intervention.
Managed service automation will automate big data and data integration – Service providers are increasingly relying on data in order to make critical decisions for planning their customer acquisition and retention framework. As the data volume increases, so does the amount of disparate data sources feeding business intelligence solutions. Over the come time, service automation will become a foundation automating the integration and movement of data between these contrasting sources in order to improve the quality of data and reporting
Strategically implementing automation in managed services can deliver significant business value by exponentially improving the quality of service and time to market, increasing the response rate to changing business requirements and reducing security and compliance risks radically.