Many organizations are working on or struggling with (their first) steps regarding automation. One of the reasons is that many administrative tasks were very labor-intensive, manual tasks and people didn’t want to spend nor pay the time involved with these tasks. Therefore, time to take a look at ‘the next step’ in automation: providing and combining automated tasks and business processes together in workflows to deliver services (IT-as-a-Service). Put in labor once, benefit from it many times!
In this blog I will briefly talk about IT-as-a-Service (ITaaS) and how you can start creating automated services that can be delivered to your end-users.
What is ITaaS?
ITaaS , but in my opinion the best way to describe is a way to provide and deliver services from a central place, where users can easily get IT-services without the help of IT-people, any time, any place and anywhere.
This central place is usually a web portal, where services can be found, and, if applicable, based on context (location, device, user group etc.) can be requested and delivered.
There are also automated services that can be delivered after an attribute of service changes, not for an end-user requesting this service. For example, the change of an Active Directory group membership can cause returning delivered services and getting new ones, like permissions to requesting printers or applications.
Some services can be requested only once and some services can be delivered many times and some can be requested to deliver service to other people, always with a predictable outcome.
Advantages of ITaaS
A couple of examples of advantages that ITaaS delivers are:
- Streamlined business processes;
- More efficient service delivery to end-users;
- Software license savings;
- Growing satisfaction of end-users;
- Less open service desk tickets;
- Controlled and managed end-user access to resources and therefore better security;
Litterly hundreds of examples can be given of services to end-users or customers to can be delivered to them. To give an idea what kind of processes can be automated and delivered as a service:
- Obtain remote working facilities;
- Obtain and deploy applications;
- Order hardware;
- Make hotel, flight and ticket bookings;
- Changing personal picture in a HR system;
- Changing a telephone number in a company’s phonebook;
- Make orders on websites;
- Obtain virtual desktop or virtual srver in a cloud solution;
- Obtain temporary virtual machines in a datacenter;
- Re-deploy a device;
- Obtaining more disk space;
- Obtain business cards;
- Obtain a test user account;
- Obtain permissions to a network share;
- Obtain permissions to a printer.
So, where to start?!
My advice starting with ITaaS would be: start with simple and small processes and then move on with more difficult ones. Get knowledge of your business processes and see where and how they can be automated.
Then start with processes where it is easy to get a result, like manual processes that are walked-through many times and take lots of time. These time-consuming processes can be identified for example by looking at the number of service tickets that have been created for that particular request or by identifying processes that take much more time that anyone would expect because of approvals that are involved by many people.
Business processes like the request of applications, ordering of business cards, permissions to work remotely or ordering of hardware form a product catalogue are a good choice for making the first steps into ITaaS.
What I’ve seen at companies, is that they have started very small and after they booked some progress on making and delivering services, many dozens to hundreds of services were being delivered to their customers and end-users.