At Lida, when we think about automating a service we consider two distinct aspects - automating the process itself, and automating the tasks within the process.
Automating your process
Before you even start thinking about automation, your first step should always be to optimize your process. But assuming you've done that, it's time to take your slick, efficient new process and back it with an automated workflow to ensure that the activities are delivered at the right time, by the right person, every time. And if something goes wrong, a workflow lets you easily identify the pressure or failure points and take action to address them.
A good workflow engine will allow you to capture the input data to your process and automatically assign out tasks to people or teams, with full control over any interdependencies. It will let you do that sequentially or in parallel, and it will let you build complex rules so you can activate different branches based on variables within your process. It will handle communications between stakeholders and with your customers and, importantly, provide hooks to let you connect with other systems.
There are plenty of workflow engines out there - your Service Management tool will almost certainly have one - but if you'd like some suggestions, feel free to get in touch with us and we'll be happy to help. Lida's consultants have a wealth of experience in designing and building workflows, from the simple up to the scarily complex. And we've done that across many different areas of business - from standard IT, HR, Finance and Facilities activities through to processes for replacing broken automatic teller machines and arranging vehicle access to national parks.Nothing is impossible - reach out to us using the button below and we can have a chat with you about the opportunities in your organisation.
Automating your tasks
Once your have your process automated and running smoothly, there's a great opportunity to take the next step and identify individual tasks that are being done manually but don't need to be - they could be done automatically and there's no real benefit in having a person involved at all. This might be something like creating a new starter's account in Active Directory, installing a piece of software on a PC or updating a customer's address in the Payroll system. The best candidates for automation are often simple tasks with high volumes, or complex tasks that are time-consuming and prone to human error.
Lida's consultants are experts at identifying opportunities for automation, and performing the technical activities to make it happen. We use a variety of tools, often determined by what's available in your own environment, but here are three examples of how we go about it:
vRealize Orchestrator (vRO)
If your organisation uses vCenter then you are already licensed to use vRO. vRO provides plug-ins for hundreds of different tools and technologies - like HTTP-REST, Active Directory, PowerShell, SQL, Azure and vCenter. Alongside that, it provides a workflow engine to allow you to build complex processes touching on multiple different technologies. vRO workflows can be initiated via RESTful API or dedicated connectors. Lida consultants have built a library of hundreds of vRO workflows and can attest to vRO's strengths as an orchestration hub.
RIGA is Lida's own cloud automation service. Providing a simple RESTful API that often only requires a single call to perform even the most complex of activities, RIGA brings simplicity and power to any automation opportunity. Check out our dedicated RIGA page to find out more - and make sure you keep an eye on it, because our developers are adding more services to it all the time. Even better, we're entirely market-led when it comes to RIGA. If there's something you want to do, let us know and we'll do our best offer it as a RIGA service.
It's an old favourite but it still has plenty of legs - especially when automating into the Microsoft space. PowerShell is perfect for when you're working with things like Azure, Skype for Business, Office 365 and Exchange, to name just a few. Lida's consultants have spent more years than we care to remember working with PowerShell scripts, and our library is always growing. It might not be the sexiest tool these days, but its value remains undeniable and ends up being a part of most automation solutions.
Like we said, these are just a few examples. At Lida, we don't believe that one size fits all when it comes to automation, we'll always select the best toolset for our client's needs. If you still need convincing, take a look at this case study of an automation project we ran with the New South Wale Government in Australia. Or click the button below and we'll get in touch to talk about how we might help you meet your automation goals.