In this digital age where everything is always “connected and operational,” We expect things to happen in a snap. Whether your customers are internal (employees, stakeholders, etc.) or external, they make themselves heard quickly if they don’t get what they expected on time from the IT department. However, many may not understand the IT complexity that underlies the critical services. For IT teams, this complexity is a daily routine – day-to-day management and maintenance of IT operations. Besides, many IT teams spend most of their time on tedious administrative tasks and validations and running back and forth between the enterprise and a third party, rather than working on new initiatives.
There are various structured tasks such as IT data migration, virtual machine setup, and maintenance, service requests, change requests, ticketing systems, etc., that are bogging the IT teams down. So many hours are spent on performing these routine activities which normally don’t require technical expertise. So what could be the best solution to handle such mundane tasks? Automate them all.
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) can replace manual tasks with processes carried out by software, strengthen agility, and enhance IT teams' productivity. It saves considerable time and reduces errors due to manual execution. With this tool, an enterprise can become more productive and responsive. RPA will improve employees’ efficiency by assisting them in their work.
This article defines RPA, its benefits for the IT teams, IT processes that can be automated, and the key reasons why IT leaders, managers, and teams must embrace it to automate the handling of alerts and incidents, increase the uptime of infrastructure, and reduce operating costs.
What is RPA?
Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the use of software to handle repetitive, low- value-added tasks that previously required human intervention.
RPA, sometimes called simply a “bot," is independent (not included in the company’s IT infrastructure) and can be set up quickly without modifying existing infrastructure and systems. This tool imitates the work of a human and connects to various software/applications/databases to perform various tasks: from calculations to entering data through processing requests.
‘ Eliminating low value-added tasks, saving time, enhancing efficiency, reducing errors and much more, RPA is a real asset for IT Teams.’
Benefits of RPA
RPA offers several significant benefits for the IT teams:
- By implementing RPA into their daily operations IT teams save costs as they are able to do more with the same resources and with the same timeframe.
- IT teams can easily involve junior team members to create and deploy RPA bots and lighten the workload of experienced developers for more complicated and strategic tasks.
- RPA-based solutions are easier to maintain than heavyweight traditional automation, however the impact is similar, or sometimes even bigger with RPA.
- Despite the simplicity of implementation, RPA is a stable and reliable tool, so IT teams may not worry about information leakage as the data accesses are well-controlled.
Besides, RPA technology can help organizations on their automation journey by doing the following:
- Ensure that business operations and processes comply with regulations and standards.
- Allow processes to be completed much faster.
- Improve efficiency by digitizing and verifying process data.
- Reduce the costs of manual and repetitive tasks.
- Enable employees to be more productive.
What can be automated
Automation has now established itself in several areas, such as IT procurement which consists of setting up and configuring complex IT infrastructures, with applications hosted in several data centers and on private/public clouds. With automation, rules are defined, and the computerized system takes care of everything.
Configuration management is another time-consuming activity that can be automated. And automation is a valuable asset when it comes to IT security and compliance. Once the IT security policy has been defined, it is applied automatically to ensure consistency. Here are some examples of IT tasks that are perfect candidates for RPA:
- Data migration
RPA can streamline this task by monitoring the overall quality of data migration from one system to another.
- User Onboarding
IT teams can use RPA to automate the tasks involving onboarding of new users such as granting permissions, and assigning roles, managers, devices, and licenses.
- Discover/import new devices
RPA can automate this process and save time by discovering and regularly updating your devices.
- Patch configuration approval
A bot with automated patch management capabilities will ensure that patches are correct and configured on time, while IT teams can manually approve specific patches.
- Deployment/configuration/updating of an antivirus
Without an antivirus, you are leaving your systems vulnerable to cybercrime. RPA can do it on a user’s behalf and ensures that the latest antivirus features are timely installed.
- Backup configuration
An automation tool can configure backups on the IT team’s behalf.
- Alert response
An automation tool can act on a user’s behalf during certain situations. IT teams can instruct the bot to trigger a predefined response upon receiving a specific alert when such circumstances arise.
- Recurring maintenance activities
The automation tools can perform this activity to free time for the IT teams to concentrate on the higher added value activities.
Reporting is a time-consuming activity. A bot can generate detailed reports on automated actions taken by the system. For instance, if the system is repairing a server failure, IT teams can view the root cause of the failure in the report.
- Batch processing
Activities that don’t require the involvement of the IT department, such as copying files, restarting a service, categorization of services, security systems integrations can be easily left to a bot.
Key Differences: Traditional automation vs. RPA
Since automation is not a new thing in the IT world, many confuse RPA bots with traditional automation. But RPA has several characteristics that separate it from the traditional automation. It is advisable that IT teams who are just starting their automation journey should be clear about both concepts, and why RPA is the choice to make.
Traditional automation can accomplish a repetitive rule-based task. RPA takes automation even further. What sets RPA apart from traditional automation is RPA's ability to adapt to change, accommodate exceptions, and comprehend new situations. Another critical feature that differentiates RPA from VBA is that VBA can only be used within Microsoft Office Suite, whereas RPA bots have multiple applications. Besides, it is difficult to automate macros to collect and enter data into spreadsheets.
Once a bot is trained to interpret the actions of specific processes on existing apps, it can then manipulate data, trigger responses, initiate new actions, and communicate with other systems independently.
RPA is especially useful for organizations that have many different and complex systems that need to interact seamlessly. Consider the user configuration process- an IT executive has to add and configure a new user so that the new hire can log in to their computer, use email, and perform other activities. The creation of a new email ID
id would take time as it is crucial to validate the user identity, test the address, integrate it into the distribution list, and link it with different applications.
If any detail is missing, traditional automation software will flag it, and an IT team member would correct it. But the RPA can adapt, and self-correct; it would handle the situation and interact with other systems (such as HR) without human assistance.
- RPA is more convenient than traditional automation in terms of technology base and usage.
- RPA is system agnostic and scalable, while traditional automation has several restrictions in terms of APIs and software source codes.
- RPA does not require extensive technical knowledge, while traditional automation requires many quality tests and programming.
- RPA offers a high level of customization, which traditional automation does not provide.
Practical challenges to automation
Automation can increase efficiency and streamline processes, and the idea of using it to free up employees' time seems appealing. However, there are some challenges IT teams should be prepared to encounter when moving forward with their automation journeys.
- System integration compatibility
One of the main concerns IT teams should have is whether the RPA platform you choose fits well with your existing infrastructure. Does the platform offer compatibility through an API source, or is there a need to add programming resources to tune it?
- Return on investment
Some automation tools come with fairly significant costs. The important thing is to identify the ROI you will be getting before choosing any service.
Every day, we read news about countless hacking attempts. Digitization has opened up this vulnerability, but the right automation platforms include improved security measures to tackle this issue.
- Resistance to RPA
For some executives, RPA means job losses; it is the management's responsibility to communicate the key benefits that would ultimately improve employee efficiency and job satisfaction. It teams are already under pressure to perform with minimal resources, and resistance to automation presents another challenge for them.
One aspect of implementing RPA is process standardization; the higher the complexity, the more challenging and costly is to implement RPA. To deliver significant returns, IT teams may have to use multiple automation technologies to automate complex IT processes.
RPA in action: 4 use cases for IT teams
RPA tools can automate IT processes. If you are not convinced, see these cases for IT processes that can be automated.
Case # 1: IT support tickets
A large online clothing company has an issue of a huge queue of tickets which only grows daily. Its IT team spends an enormous amount of time tagging, categorizing, and prioritizing user requests.
An IT automation tool can automate the ticket creation from the emails the IT department receives, saving time and effort. By automating service requests, such as adding a new user to the system, resetting the password, provisioning a new server, adding storage capacity, etc., the IT department can reduce the number of tickets processed drastically. A bot can easily integrate into complex systems and enable IT teams to respond quickly to changes. It will automatically assign and track requests, send reminders, and maintain detailed records and activity logs.
Case # 2: Password unlocking or resetting
This simple and common task consumes many hours of the IT teams of a small consulting firm.
RPA bots can unlock an account or reset a password after failed login attempts by authenticating user details, execute validations based on predefined enterprise rules, and then reset/unlock the password. RPA can significantly reduce the wait time for employees and allow the IT team to focus their efforts on other important tasks.
Case # 3: Change request
It is a process commonly used in companies and a significant part of the “Service Transition.” It can be long and tedious as processing such requests takes weeks or sometimes months.
RPA can automate this tedious activity. Depending on the type of change, the bot will send approval to the Change Advisory Board or Emergency Change Advisory Board automatically. It will follow up with the requestor regarding the decision to reject or approve the change and close files. It will automatically update the Configuration Management Database (CMBD) following the changes.
Case # 4: Compliance/ Auditing
The IT department of a large oil and gas company must ensure that their software fully complies with the security and regulatory standards. This process, although performed via online forms and emails, takes up many hours of the IT team as they have to check random systems. Besides, regular audit checks need to be performed to ensure that employees are following the protocols for data security.
This is where RPA comes to the rescue. By automating the digital forms and presenting the outcomes in a Master record, there is no need to monitor whether all employees have submitted the forms or not. Instead of running behind employees to finish the compliance testing, the IT team can easily check the progress of auditing checks.
What to look for in Robotic Process Automation software
Till now, our readers will have understood what is RPA, and how it plays a crucial role in simplifying the repetitive and time-consuming It processes. Let us discuss what to look for when selecting an RPA software
The right RPA platform can be managed centrally and can be scaled up massively.
IT teams should be able to create and test bots in hours, not weeks or months.
When IT teams are launching bots to automate several tasks, they must look for a solution that includes monitoring and analysis features. This will help them to control their system’s health.
IT departments should look for RPA solutions that are simple and allow a less experienced developer to build and deploy bots.
IT teams should look for solutions that are designed to be scalable and easily manageable at the enterprise level.
What benefits will IT Teams get by using ElectroNeek's RPA platform
Plan your success with ElectroNeek!
In many organizations, the first step towards the automation journey is selecting the right RPA vendor. Invest in it smartly with ElectroNeek and improve the return on investment of your enterprise projects. Let’s discuss the benefits of partnering with ElectroNeek:
Premium RPA development experience for faster adoption.
The ElectroNeek platform allows to automate work on UI level in any desktop- or browser-based application or service with simple no-code/ low-code tools. Our bots work even when web UI elements change.
The most affordable RPA deployment with scalability
Running RPA bots built with ElectroNeek Studio doesn’t require any commercial software (no bot licenses needed).
ElectroNeek offers quick online training for new RPA developers. IT teams can also benefit from our Community forum to get invaluable feedback which has become more powerful with a Knowledge Base.
Remember, behind a successful RPA program is a trusted and experienced RPA platform which helps you achieve desired business outcomes. The popularity of RPA is growing, and many organizations want to rush into this without understanding the RPA vendor landscape. Therefore, it is best to work with a competent RPA vendor like ElectroNeek that understands the needs and processes of your business and helps you achieve desired results.
As we discussed RPA and explained its use in the IT domain, you will have realized that “IT can’t be automated” is just a myth.
IT automation has no limits today. All enterprises, regardless of their shape and size, can automate their processes. There are many benefits to automating IT tasks. First of all, it is the ideal way to respond in real-time to the needs of the market because it undeniably allows for increased productivity in the company.
By implementing ElectroNeek’s RPA solution, IT departments are choosing to significantly reduce time and efforts by leveraging our cost-effective, secure and fast RPA tools to automate IT tasks. And with a well-designed IT orchestration solution, they will be able to make their various operations more fluid.
Considering that the results obtained through an RPA solution depend on the right solution, IT teams should consider an expert RPA vendor. It would be wise to choose a trusted partner like ElectroNeek that has been named a Top Aspirant in the RPA market in the Everest report and a Momentum Leader by G2.