IT Support Automation: How Much is Too Much?

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IT Support Automation

Executive Summary

  • Whether you have a dedicated IT support department in your business or just a single person, it makes sense to optimise their workload as much as possible.

  • By automating some of your IT support tasks, you can ensure your team doesn’t get bogged down in the little things and start to miss the big things.

  • While automation is a great way to save time and optimise IT resources, relying on it too much can lead to problems and teams spreading themselves too thin. So how much IT support automation is too much?

Introduction

Did you know that, according to McKinsey, 66% of businesses have already automated at least one of their company processes?

From clocking in to logging on, there are plenty of ways businesses can automate their operations – especially when it comes to IT support.

The role of IT in a modern business is undeniable, but it can also involve a lot of repetitive, time-consuming tasks which take up a lot of time (and money). For a business with a small IT resource – often a single person – this can introduce friction and lost time. It’s here that automation becomes an appealing prospect, so let’s find out what it really means – and why it’s best in moderation.

What is automation in small business IT?

When you hear the term ‘automation’, you might initially think of more industrial settings: automated robots constructing cars, for example.

But with the rise of the digital era, automation is now possible on a much smaller scale. We’ve already explored what’s possible via macro-style workflows with tools like Microsoft Power Automate, so let’s zoom out a bit more.

In the context of your company’s IT support, we’re talking about automating areas such as:

  • Updating computers and servers
  • Resetting passwords
  • Restarting remote computers or servers
  • Monitoring for cybersecurity threats

…and many more.

You’ll notice these aren’t strictly tasks which you’d expect an IT department to manage, but they do all have computer infrastructure in common. Whether on-premises or cloud-based, any repetitive operation which takes place in the digital realm is a candidate for automation.

The pros and cons of automating your IT support

Automating your company’s IT support services might seem like a dream come true. After all, with all those minor tasks handled by an automated process, your IT staff will be free to work on bigger things… right?

That is one of the key benefits, no question about it. Automating specific IT support tasks mean your team can focus on larger-scale IT projects such as installing new hardware, configuring back-end software, and optimising cyberthreat defences.

Of course, one of the downsides of IT automation is the amount of trust required in non-human systems. The reason is simple: when automation fails, or is set up incorrectly, it can actually lead to more wasted time and resources than if it had never been deployed. It can also lead to larger problems, such as emails going to the wrong place, or not being sent at all.

To avoid the potential pitfalls of overdoing your IT automation, it’s important to find the right balance: automate the really small stuff, and dedicate the necessary time to the rest. In addition, it’s essential to monitor and spot-check any automated processes to ensure they’re working well. 

How to automate your IT support (without going too far)

As we’ve learned, the real trick of automating your IT services, especially if you’re operating with a small team or a single person resource, is to be smart about the specific automations you implement. Alternatively, you could outsource your IT support to a much larger team and spread the workload that way.

But if you do choose to automate the small stuff yourself, what does that look like in practical terms?

Here are just a few ways you might try to automate some common IT support tasks and save your business some time.

#1: Leverage Knowledge-Centred Support (KCS)

Knowledge-Centred Support, or KCS, is a methodology which relies on previously solved problems to prevent future ones. So, for example, if your IT support team has already helped an internal user fix a certain problem, they could then use that resolution workflow to document an article or guide for the next time that issue arises. Over time, many smaller problems can be solved with a simple article link.

#2: Manage your IT support ticket queue

When your staff contact your IT support person or team, they’ll usually expect a response pretty quickly – but you know that not every issue is equal. Triage is necessary to ensure resources are balanced fairly and logically. One simple automation you can put in place is the ability to select a severity (Low, Medium, High) which then sorts your IT support queue for easier management by staff.

#3: Triage IT support problems automatically

Talking of your IT support ticket queue, what if there was a way you could do away with the tricky bits? One of the trickiest has to be assessing and assigning the problem to the right person. With automation tools, you can leverage machine learning and AI to automatically assess a problem and direct it to the right resource – no human intervention from your IT support team required.

Automate the smarter way with Get Support

The truth here is that, no matter how much you automate your IT support operations, something always has to give if you’re working with a limited team size. So, rather than trying to balance your time and resources, why not redirect them entirely?

With an IT support agreement from Get Support, you can outsource your entire IT support department. Working with a Managed Service Provider like us will help you strike the perfect balance between human and automated support. And, because of our ever-growing team, there’s no need to worry about sickness, time off, or any other disruptions, because our service is balanced to ensure we’re here to help when you need us.

To talk more about how a Get Support IT support agreement could help your business, call us now on 01865 594 000 or just drop your details into the form below.

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