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One of the best ways to save money and improve efficiency in IT is to incorporate more automation. And during an economic downturn, it’s even more important to save money and improve efficiency.
What’s the best way to approach enterprise IT automation during hard economic times?
Why Is Automation So Valuable?
Let’s start by explaining why automation is so valuable, especially during a period of economic uncertainty. Automation does two things very well: it reduces the need for manual effort, allowing you to save money on labor, and it greatly improves consistency of implementation, reducing errors and allowing you to streamline your processes.
Already, you can see that automation can save you time and money on two different fronts. While automation isn’t perfect for every process or application, it’s worth exploring for all your most important enterprise IT chores.
How to Automate Enterprise IT Chores
How do you automate enterprise IT chores?
Generally, this is the process you’ll follow:
- Start with a needs analysis. While automation is valuable, you shouldn’t spend money on it frivolously. That’s why it’s important to start with a needs analysis, so you can figure out your biggest pain points in how to address them.
- Hire a competent consultant. Work with an IT consultant so you can prioritize more effectively and find the best long-term solutions.
- Use the right tools. Network analytics software designed for enterprises should have all the features you need while simultaneously offering an intuitive and sensible user experience. The right tools make all the difference.
- Verify functionality. Always test your automation systems before deploying them; small mistakes can add up on a big enough scale.
- Continue expanding. Keep looking for new opportunities to introduce automation into your IT planning.
Enterprise Automation Systems
Enterprise automation can take many forms. As you look for opportunities to automate more, pay especially close attention to the following:
- Professional services. Automate human resources (HR), accounting and financial decisions, project management, and more.
- Customer relationship management. Automate the management of prospecting, customer relationship building, sales, and even customer service.
- Enterprise resource planning. Use automation to better manage your high-level financial planning and supply chains.
- Data extraction, transformation, and processing. Data is incredibly valuable, and it’s much more efficient to manage when you automate data extraction, collection, migration, transformation, processing, and manipulation.
- Report generation. Automatic report generation is also key for decision makers.
With an unlimited budget and a business that keeps growing at an accelerated pace, it would be easy to implement enterprise IT automation that covers all your needs. You could even push forward technological developments that give you a major competitive advantage.
But with a limited budget, a forecast of slowed growth, and economic pessimism, you’ll need to exercise more caution and prudence in your journey to automate IT chores:
- Utilize your resources wisely. Always think about how you can maximize the value of the resources you expend. If you’re going to pay money for a new tool or a new consultant, make sure that every dollar is working efficiently for you. If you’re going to designate an internal IT team member to focus on a specific issue, make sure they’re ready for the job and that they don’t have any other competing priorities that are more important.
- Shop around. Be ready to shop around. There are hundreds of tools and thousands of companies that can help you automate your internal IT processes; they all have different cost-benefit breakdowns, offering different strengths and weaknesses. You need to understand what’s available before you pull the trigger on anything.
- Anticipate short-term losses. Automation is sometimes blamed for eliminating human jobs, but the truth is more complicated. Chances are, automating enterprise processes won’t allow you to dramatically cut your labor costs; instead, you’ll free up your existing staff members to focus on more important things and improve the overall productivity and efficiency of your operation. Still, it’s valuable to anticipate some short-term losses as you build out the systems necessary to help your business become more efficient in the future.
- Plan for the long-term future. Speaking of the future, make sure you’re planning for the long-term future. If you’re only worried about making up for current shortfalls or getting through the next few months as efficiently as possible, you’re not going to make the architectural or procedural decisions necessary to set your business up for success over years and decades.
Enterprise IT automation is incredibly powerful, but it’s something you must plan carefully if your budget and revenue growth are limited by economic conditions. Hopefully, we’ll return to a brighter economic position in the near future, but in the meantime, these strategies can help get you through.