Join Mark Thomas for an in-depth discussion in this video Processes, tools, and automation, part of Cert Prep: ITIL Foundations.
- Out of all the processes we've talked about within the ITIL framework, it's one thing to do a process manually, right, it's another thing to have automation of that process, it is very important to think about automation because good processes need the support of an appropriate tool, and I say appropriate tool for a reason, yet be very careful when you're looking at automating, particularly around service management processes, that you don't really look at just a boxed solution that just focuses on maybe one process. Now, you can of course, but I've seen a lot of organizations that will buy a tool for a ticketing solution, and because the price was right, because it fit the requirements they had for the ticketing solution, that worked well for six months, nine months, maybe even a year, when they determined there was important that they started looking at another process, say, change management, problem management, and found out that the tool they selected, spent time, effort, money to deploy this tool, they now have to go through a whole new reselection of a new tool, or even if they built it internally, they've got to go through a whole new situation on how that fits in the organization.
So, again, good processes need good tools, the tools should support the process. Be very careful, when you're selecting tools for these service management processes, and the life cycle in general, because you don't want to put a tool on top of a process that hasn't been designed, because what does that do? It magnifies all the errors that you have in the process. So what I'm saying is, it's okay to have a manual process, better to have it automated but ensure that you look at having the process, optimized, before you put the tool, and it can be a very costly endeavor for you So, we've talked about this, really these tools that we put in place, have two primary purposes, two main reasons, and number one, is automate workflow.
That first bullet point under the main purposes there. Why do we want to automate workflow? Well, that helps us reduce, or remove human error, so it gives us a mechanical way in which the process can be managed, so that's an important thing, on the automate workflow. Another thing it does is it helps us produce management information. We talked about process characteristics in another segment here, what we said was, we had to have metrics, we have to be able to track and manage the inputs and outputs, and how that comes together. But management information helps us report on those, so that we can look at the improvement efforts for those processes.
So, on the automate workflow piece, couple of things I want to point you towards. We've got some good information up here on the slide, of course it improves utility and warranty of a service, you might remember utility as fit for purpose, warranty is fit for use. And help us in design, modelling, pattern recognition, so a lot of things that tools can help us do there. But I'm gonna point out a couple things here, that some examples of automation. Capacity can be more easily adjusted in response to a variation in demand. Help us plan the amount of resources that we need in volatile demand type of scenarios.
Also help us with automated resources that can handle capacity with fewer restrictions. So, instead of us having to manually have intervention, we can have an automated intervention. So, automated systems present a good basis for measuring and improving those processes. We can help us look at optimization, a means for capturing the knowledge that we need for a particular process. So, as such, automation helps us in these things right here, design, modelling, so, you should be looking at, technology can help you out in process design work as well.
So, some things here to think about when you're looking at preparing to automate, though. It's simplify, simplify, simplify. And what do we mean by that, is, before you automate, you want to reduce any variations in the performance of that process, and really try to optimize that with fewer, non-value added tasks involved. Don't oversimplify it and remove tasks that have critical pieces of information. But it's good thing to simplify it first. The other thing is, clarify it.
What's the flow of activities? What are the allocation of tasks, who needs to interact between certain parts of the process? The third thing we have down here is reduce the surface area. This is really pointing towards a situation where you may have employee, or user self-service scenarios, where I can go out to a, say, a service catalog, and I can do request fulfillment process through a portal, so what we wanna do is, reduce a lot of the noise, reduce the surface area so that it's clean, easy for me to understand from the user perspective.
So, on that reduce the surface area, is really talking more towards the self-service types of scenarios that the user interface piece with might have there. And then finally, don't be in a hurry. Many times we get put under, under timelines to deploy tools, and we, what we often overlook, is the process planning, and the process architecture piece of this. So, very important, tools, can't live with them, can't live without them, but you gotta have a good process design before this, and I'll close this with this one comment, you may have heard of this before, "A fool with a tool is still a fool." Make sure you know the process before you put a tool on top of it.
ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited. This ITIL Foundations course is offered by Interface Technical Training, ATO of EXIN.
Skill Level Advanced
Qualification scheme3m 51s
1. Service Life Cycle
2. Service Management as a Practice
3. Key Principles, Models, and Concepts
4. Life-Cycle Phases
5. Life-Cycle Processes: Part One
6. Life-Cycle Processes: Part Two
7. Service-Management Functions
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