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IT automation is the process of creating software and systems to replace repeatable processes and reduce manual intervention. It accelerates the delivery of IT infrastructure and applications by automating manual processes that previously required a human touch. With IT automation, software is used to set up and repeat instructions, processes, or policies that save time and free up IT staff for more strategic work. With the rise of virtual networks and cloud services that require rapid, complex provisioning, automation is an indispensable strategy for helping IT teams deliver services with improved speed, consistency, and security.
IT automation overcomes the static, manual nature of IT operations jobs that prevent successful digital transformation. The technologies manage tasks based on business policies and resources. The goal is to establish an effective mechanism of automation within the dynamic settings of the IT environment, workforce resources, and the business landscape.
IT automation is a powerful tool that can scale a business, result in faster operations and provide significant cost savings. A fully automated environment can reduce the time to delivery for production-ready resources from weeks to less than a day.
Here are 7 key considerations for you to implement and effective automation strategy into your business:
Most organisations are now adopting artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and DevOps workflows to re-engineer sophisticated processes within their business. But the technology leads need to understand the reality of what’s possible and what’s not. The Managing Director or CIO has an orchestral role within this, helping other teams to identify the transformation opportunities in each, and the changes that will be involved.
Automation is about optimising and modernising processes. As such, organisations must understand all the steps in an existing process, identify which steps are necessary, where any existing bottlenecks are, and whether the process can adjust to new requirements as they evolve with the growth of the business.
That knowledge, combined with automation technologies, is how businesses can move from simple process improvement to real process transformation.
It is possible for organisations to optimise their processes without technology, but they can only SERIOUSLY transform and modernise them with the use of technology.
Businesses and process owners need to take their understanding of a process and find ways to improve it though automation if they want to see real transformation.
It’s possible for automation technologies to be point solutions to automate specific activities here and there, but that doesn’t show the improvement that you could capture if you re-evaluate the entire process.
With that in mind, look for ways to make processes more efficient before even working on automation implementation, that way you will often find that there is plenty of room for workflow improvement.
Businesses will find there are certain things they do for no other reason than because that was always the way they did them. Implementing automation helps transform your processes by taking out as many steps as possible and streamlining them.
To understand existing requirements and processes, your IT team should work with functional area teams to understand the flow of work and identify unnecessary steps. Ask yourself, are we doing something because 10 years ago, when we build the process, it was the only way to get the work done and whether it’s still relevant for the business today?
If you fail to evaluate and optimise processes before automating them, you risk perpetuating inefficiencies for a long time to come.
Automation is best suited when you have an infrastructure within IT that supports integration and rapid changes.
Often you will find that you are unable to automate business processes with legacy architecture and will need to be using a modern IT infrastructure to have the advantage. For example, automating certain processes requires cloud computing, sophisticated data analytics, application programming interfaces (APIs) and, of course, some level of AI capabilities already working in the IT environment in support of the automation initiative.
Pick the right automation tools for your organisation and automating on a toolchain that your staff don’t want to use, or is unnecessarily complex, or simply doesn’t match your needs – will create problems that will thwart success.
Any solution with too steep of a learning curve will be a turnoff for most of your team, who are already busy trying to get their day-to-day work done.
When selecting an ideal automation toolbox, focus on three key factors – flexibility, simplicity and usability. From setup and deployment to long-term ease of use, each of these attributes in your automation tools will deliver long-term results.
As is the case with any technology enabled initiative, businesses must have in place a strong change-management strategy so that the users impacted as a result of automation will adjust to the new workflow, rather than rejecting the changes.
Many users fear that they’ll be replaced by technology, but automation doesn’t necessarily mean job loss. Rather, it creates additional capacity for workers, and Return on Investment (ROI) giving them time to shift to higher-value work and the new initiatives being created by advancing technologies.
Still, staff need to understand retooled workflows and adjust to their roles in automated processes, and they need to understand how their overall jobs are influenced and affected by automation.
It is important that you begin your automation process in stages rather than trying to tackle your entire software development lifecycle, or a similarly large workflow all at once.
Your step-by-step approach to automation should be part of a larger long-term plan to achieve your goals. Circumstances will change, the environment will mature, and new requirements will arrive on a regular basis. Those conditions will require the maintenance and updating of your automation framework.
A key part of that long-term plan will be accounting for ongoing operations and optimisation. Don’t fall for the misconception that automating a process means you’ll never have to think about it again, or that it won’t require human intervention. Automation, like any other spoke in the lifecycle, is a feedback loop requiring monitoring and maintenance.
There’s no end point to the improvements you could be making and the return on investment of automation. Lumina Technologies can help you with all your IT needs including working with you to devise an IT automation journey. We offer IT support for all our clients and ensure that an effective IT strategy is in place.
Lumina Technologies have taken the time to understand the requirements of our business and work as our strategic IT partner, enabling us to concentrate on delivering a high quality service to our clients and focus on our growth strategy. They have delivered a 100% cloud solution to our business with no underlying infrastructure costs or maintenance, which gives us scalability for our planned growth. It also means our business critical applications and data are securely accessible from virtually all our user devices. Lumina’s professional approach and strategic expertise is highly valued and their management of our IT – based on their in-depth knowledge, leaves us confident that our systems are available 24×7.
Luke Harrison, Keidan Harrison LLP
Lumina have supported us so well through the difficult circumstances of 2020. They worked extremely hard to ensure we were able to work remotely and continue to operate our business successfully.The support team are very friendly and knowledgeable, and have excellent response times.
The team have also enhanced our cyber security which is so important in the legal sector, and they continue to provide high quality advice to help us move forward with our IT goals.
Adams & Remers
The quality of IT Support provided by Lumina Technology is of the highest standard and is complemented by effective client liaison with impressive response times. Trap Oil Group plc has no hesitation in recommending Lumina as a dedicated and specialist group of IT professionals.
Technical Director, Trap Oil Group plc
Richard and his team are a real inspiration to anyone who meets them and I have watched Lumina’s growth over the last few years with interest and admiration. Richard has been an amazing supporter of the Hospice of St Francis, being a Gold member of the Corporate Partner Network for almost two years. He takes an active interest in the community and is passionate about his company and his town: nothing is too much trouble, he is always willing to help, to give up his time and to provide business advice when asked. Lumina is an inspiration to any company wanting to set up business in Hertfordshire.
Corporate Fundraising Manager, The Hospice of St Francis
Lumina Technologies Prism Hosted Desktop has allowed our business to centralise our global corporate data, allowing much faster access for all our staff – regardless of their location. We have also been able to simplify and reduce our infrastructure and management overhead. With the new Prism Hosted Desktop solution all staff now have simple and secure access to corporate data using any device they choose. Prism Hosted Desktop has increased the productivity of our staff and given us a single, consistent and familiar experience for all users from any device, in any location, 24/7.
Chief Executive Officer, Wentworth Resources PLC
The commercially sensitive and regulated nature of Lambert Energy Advisory’s business requires an IT provider able to maintain the highest levels of integrity and confidentiality, Lumina Technologies has consistently been unimpeachable in this regard over the nine years we have employed them.
Lambert Energy Advisory
It has been a great pleasure working with Lumina Technologies over the past two years. They have fully committed to being involved in the local community with volunteering and with professional advice and commitment, helping many local charities along the way. As a growing company it proves that being involved in the local community is helping them attract and retain a talented workforce and I look forward to working with them well into the future.
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Hawkstone Management Services Ltd
Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP have been using Lumina Technologies for a number of years now and continue to be impressed by the technical know-how and contemporary knowledge of their senior management, who provide a timely, efficient and friendly service. Whether it is a small issue with one computer, or a strategic IT decision, they maintain a current knowledge of available technologies. Lumina are always at the other end of the phone to help resolve issues and minimise business interference. The technical knowledge of Richard and his senior team means that there has not been a problem that they can’t solve to date. I am sure we will continue to use them in the years to come.
Managing Partner, Charles Douglas Solicitors LLP
The team at Lumina Technologies have made the Amoun Travel & Tours office IT transition seamless and problem free. The office set-up has been vastly improved and the IT Support services are flawless. No issue goes unresolved, which is extremely reassuring.
Amoun Travel & Tours Ltd
Lumina Technologies has been Salamander Energy plc’s IT provider since start-up in 2005 and has supported us in London during our expansion across operational offices in SE Asia. Their professional approach, strategic advice and close co-operation have been essential in making this a success.
Group Technical Director, Salamander Energy plc
Richard and his team at Lumina have provided Perrett Laver Limited with high quality strategic and practical IT Services for over ten years. During this period, Perrett Laver has grown from 10+ colleagues based in London to nearly 100 colleagues located in six offices across the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific. Richard and the Lumina team have not just been responsive to our ‘everyday’ IT needs, but have proactively sought to work with us on developing an infrastructure suitable for the type of operation we are today, and are planning to be months and years down the line. I would not hesitate to recommend Richard, especially for small to medium size business with growth in mind.
COO, Perrett Laver Limited
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Managing Director, Society Limited
The Vita Group HQ staff have worked with Richard McBarnet and Lumina Technologies for over 9 years, with Lumina providing all our PC, server, phone, and software support. The services have included C-level executives based in London, Manchester, the US, as well as supporting home office IT as well. The service provided and intellectual capabilities are outstanding and we would highly recommend Richard and his Lumina team.
CEO, The Vita Group
We worked with Lumina on a GDPR Audit. Richard was knowledgeable and professional throughout, and did the best he could to bring a dry topic to life through lots of real life examples and analogies. We were so impressed with the service Lumina provided and the value we got from partnering with them on this project – we couldn’t recommend them enough.
Holly Cottingham, Vintec Laboratories