Over the past weeks, we talked a lot about how the role of the CIO is changing to drive IT-enabled innovation and Digital Business Transformation initiatives because it is simply not enough to just "Keep the Lights On" anymore. We also explained how enterprises accumulate massive, compounding IT debt that hinders even the most forward-thinking executives from putting their well-meant plans into action. However, we also showed how IT Automation can be a way to significantly reduce IT workload and maintenance creep.
Today, we want to showcase five real-world end-user IT automation examples that our customers have implemented over the past 12 months with Access AGENT. Because our enterprise clients have had such tremendous success, I want to focus on these five areas in particular:
- Empower users to fix IT-related issues themselves
- Automate ticket creation when needed
- Proactively boost endpoint health scores
- Progressively improve end user experience and productivity
- Force users to adhere to compliance
I hope these examples inspire you to think about IT automation in your organization.
1) Empower Users To Fix IT-Related Issues Themselves
Did you know that according to ZenDesk, 91% of their customers would prefer to use an online knowledge base if it was available and tailored to their needs over contacting a customer service representative? And 40% who do end up calling customer service, have already tried (and failed) to find the answer online.
They are not alone. Gartner believes that the largest enterprises will soon manage almost all online customer search activities through an automated virtual assistant. Your end users aren't any different from customers when they run into IT issues and consider contacting the IT help desk. The vast majority of employees will prefer to search for a solution to the issue themselves rather than open a ticket.
We know this because one of our clients, a major global corporation, just used Access AGENT to avoid more than 600,000 tickets from being created in the first place within a nine month period by offering employees easy-to-use, wizard-based access to their corporate knowledge base.
Access AGENT was installed as a branded and customized app on each internal device, allowing users one-click access. Should an issue arise, the end user will answer a few questions and the wizard will provide a solution-based approach to help resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be fixed, a ticket will be created.
2) Automate Ticket Creation Process
While ticket creation sounds straightforward enough, you know it's often not that easy. More times than not, we don't have enough background information and we need to have a time-consuming back-and-forth asking follow-up questions such as: 'Which browser were you using when this issue occurred?' or 'When did you last update your PC?'
By using Access AGENT, the same organization was able to streamline and therefore significantly accelerate the ticket creation process. Because the user walks through the above-mentioned wizard first, your help desk has access to a whole array of information that they wouldn't otherwise. This also minimizes the time it now takes to close a ticket.
3) Proactively Boost Health Of Devices
Any modern IT organization cannot just sit and wait for problems to happen. They must aim to proactively eliminate potential issues before they occur, reduce the risk on each of the endpoints or desktops, and minimize impact of issues if they should occur. But this isn't easy as the number of endpoints in a large organization can be daunting.
A recent study found that "the average business professional regularly employs at least two computing devices —including desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones — to perform job tasks. Moreover, roughly half of all workers utilize both a PC and a mobile device in the course of a typical day at the office.” This means that a "typical IT support organization must today support a minimum of four different operating environments, each with unique configurations, applications, services, and security protocols.”
By placing an intelligent endpoint management agent, like Access AGENT, on each of those devices, you can not only have better control of your IT environment (see later points), but also proactively boost the health of your endpoints by empowering end users to take ownership of their devices.
Access AGENT will constantly scan their devices and environments and provide individual health scores with personalized recommendations for each user. As the user implements these changes, the health score improves and the user feels proud and accomplished. As benign as this may seem, it has a huge impact across your entire estate!
One of our customers has offered almost 100,000 notifications to their users this year alone — leading to significantly healthier, more secure and productive endpoints.
4) Progressively Improve User Experience & Productivity
Just as you can improve the health of each of your endpoints, you can improve your user's experience while using the device. In a work environment that now consists of more than half of millennials, an outstanding user experience as well as lightning-fast speed is essential to keep their attention to sustain productivity.
This is a problem costing enterprises millions of dollars every year in missed productivity and concentration: When faced with a slight delay (e.g., logging-in or opening a very large file), 55% of millennials admit that they would go to the bathroom or get a snack/drink, 45% would chat with a co-worker, and 28% would go on Facebook, make a personal call, or play a game!
By using IT automation in general, and Access AGENT in particular, your users will be able to improve their health scores which leads to faster load times, cleaned-up browser caches, cleaned-up unused disk space and much more — which in turn helps you avoid these few second delays that can easily result in a 20 minute productivity gap.
5) Force Users To Adhere To Compliance
According to the Center for Internet Security (CIS), the risk of falling prey to a cyber attack can be reduced by 85% if organizations implement the top five of the Critical Security Controls recommendations. Four of these can be managed with a unified endpoint management solution:
- Inventory of authorized and unauthorized devices
- Inventory of authorized and unauthorized software
- Secure endpoint configurations
- Control of administrative privileges
Of course, in reality, this isn't a "do once and you are done" kind of scenario, but having Access AGENT installed on each device allows you to plug all those tiny leaks that could lead to big damage, e.g., stop data leakage, disable remote printing, enforce BYOD policies and much more.
If you like it or not, automation, virtual assistants, robots and artificial intelligence have already become a huge part of our everyday life. It is somewhat ironic that IT is lagging behind in adopting automation to ease the burden of tedious and labor-intensive tasks to free up manpower for more business-oriented tasks that contribute to the organization's bottomline.
By automating typical end-user-focused tasks, like the ones that we just showed you, you can test the IT automation waters a bit to get inspired to find other scenarios that are just as easily automated. Done right, they will also show a large return-on-investment — making them the ideal project to get started with IT automation.