In the modern office, technology plays a key role in almost everything. But despite computers being so pervasive, employees still perform many tasks manually—everything from creating reports and compiling data to performing updates and backups are often done without office automation.
Similarly, IT teams have hundreds of tasks that need to be regularly performed, but too many of these jobs are completed the hard way, taking up more time than they should. Today, for instance, coding should save you from manually configuring backups and monitoring printer performance. You need to start opting for the efficiencies and productivity gains your office can achieve with automation—and here’s how you can start.
What to automate—and when
Any processes that can be automated should be. Not only will you make better use of resources, but automation will also increase productivity significantly. For example, consider what’s involved when introducing new staff into your organisation. Often, the IT team manually creates a new account, adds the user to their groups, creates logins for their apps, and provisions their computers. With office automation, you could code an application to handle this entire process from start to finish.
Instead of manually checking boxes and clicking through different wizards to set up accounts, you could simply provide a name and assign their level of access. Today’s networks should automatically configure groups, apps, and entire computer systems for staff.
Monthly report creation is another task that’s perfect for automation, because the system already has the required data. When you automate reporting, it also eliminates chances for error and provides greater consistency. Besides, what exec wouldn’t like to receive a monthly customised report detailing the key performance indicators they care about most?
The most important area to automate is network infrastructure. If you’re still configuring and deploying virtual machines or installing software, it’s time to hire some DevOps staff. DevOps professionals specialise in writing code to automate menial, time-consuming processes. By applying DevOps practices, infrastructure management can be as easy as choosing what type of machine you want—a database or an application server, for example—and deploying it onto your infrastructure in a matter of minutes.
How to bridge the office automation gap
Excuses for not automating processes can come easily. Overwhelmed IT teams cite cost and time as impediments to investing in new technologies or creating automated workflows. But the reality is, once your network is automated, you can see significant improvements in efficiency and productivity almost right away. In the long run, you’ll save big on both time and money.
Office automation is part of the future of IT—so much so that some companies are hiring chief automation officers to guide them into this future. These roles bridge the gap between business processes and technological automation. The fact that automation is heading all the way up to the C-suite emphasises just how important it is for businesses today.
Its importance won’t come as a shock to any IT pro who’s dealt with manual backups and updates, though. Those mind-numbing tasks aren’t exactly what you studied computer science for. The sooner you roll out office automation, the sooner you’ll be able to put your team’s valuable IT skill sets to better use across the organisation.