By: Nitin Arora, General Manager, Automation
Focus shift from Traditional to Automation Centric Model
Gone are the days when outsourcing was the prime lever of efficiency gain, now due to cut throat competitive environment customers are seeking for new and innovative ways of cost reduction and efficiency improvement. Answer to this question is none other than business model transition through automation centric model. It is definitely most promising way of cost reduction by automating rule based tasks and results in FTEs elimination. In addition to $ saving this technology looks promising w.r.t scalability, promptness, and repeatable accuracy.
At broader level following are the prime objective of any IT Service Provider:
- Business retention & additional business from existing customer
- Winning new deals.
- Keeping business operations up and running efficiently through preventive downtime mechanism and improvement in IT performance.
Above mentioned success factors can be achieved through innovative differentiators. One of the prime differentiator is none other than Automation.
Key Challenges for IT Service Providers
- Customers' needs are dynamic and are rapidly changing
- Customer’s expectation from IT Service vendors is changed – Now days Customer want to drive efficiency through technological innovation.
- Re-deployment of freed-up resources in more logical work (revenue cannibalization).
- Risk of replacing Legacy vendors with more innovation oriented players.
- Prioritization on acquisition of advanced skills is tough to pick n choose, as innovation is changing at rapid pace.
Automation- Plays key role in Vendor prioritization
- Automation-enabled service providers are getting an edge over legacy Service providers as they are leveraging RPA and other automation strategies in contrast to outdated labor arbitrage and basic process efficiency. Through Anti-incumbency IT vendors can retain their existing business and also get an edge for winning additional business. Those vendors which are committing business model transition through automation centric model are getting edge over traditional vendors.
- It is common belief that automation can scale down no. of resources and would adversely affect service vendor’s profit margins. However, in contrast these resources can be utilized in other higher value collaborative activities, which can bring smarter provisioning of resources. As per HfS analyst report “6 out of 10 decision makers willing to dump their Legacy Service Provider”. As stated “If we don’t cannibalize ourselves, someone else will.”
IT Automation –Some conceptual ideas
- Traditional approach of manual ticket allocation and tracking takes lot of effort and are also error prone. In most of the ASM engagements one individual is aligned for allocation and tracking work which can be eliminated by incident allocator as it can route the ticket to appropriate individual. Here are some conceptual ideas of Incident Management activities:
- Incident Allocation and tracking
- Periodic reporting based on Ticket Analysis
- Task automation and Runbook automation are the most common and traditional ways which can only help in reducing human intervention, however due to quick change in business dynamics these traditional automation approach can only help up to some extent. Some conceptual ideas of rule based automation:
- Remote monitoring and Management
- IT Process Automation
- Self Service Automation
- Real essence of automation lies in understanding and resolving complex decision making processes, which can be achieved through Heuristic (knowledge based) Automation. Some conceptual ideas of knowledge based automation:
- Proactive error prevention
- Self-Learning & Intelligent Incident remediation
Implementing Automation Centric Model is not a cake-walk
Adopting automation centric model doesn’t mean everything is streamlined, there are further challenges which need to be addressed for achieving the success factor (mentioned above).
- Traditional requirements gathering processes doesn’t work with automation implementations because in most cases straight through processes are either already automated or giving negative CBA, hence Automation technologists need to work closely with process owners for identifying the activities which can be potential candidates for automation.
- Reputational damage caused by job cuts – 43 % of jobs will be lost as stated by analysts.
- IT processes are not well defined or mature enough for Automation
- Many companies are reluctant in giving business critical data in hands of technological system as they doubt in capability of Automation systems and may result in serious business concerns.
Concluding BLOG with closing note - It has been observed that in most cases delivery teams are reluctant in adopting transformation through automation because of the fear that automation implementations may adversely affect their position. To overcome this problem management has to offer a pool of incentives to the teams who has adopted automation strategy.