In what we call Shift-left 2.0 (read here: Shift-left 1.0), we intend to go one step beyond. This involves not only enabling people to solve problems or questions at a ‘lower’ level by making knowledge available, but also automating manual tasks. We identify two different aspects here, which are often used interchangeably: Automation and Orchestration.
Automation involves specifically automating 1 task (e.g. a password reset), while orchestration deals with automating multiple tasks that are part of an entire process (e.g. an onboarding process).
It goes without saying that by automating manual tasks and using these resources for other cases, time and therefore costs can again be saved. Repetitive tasks are automated and employees can be used for more challenging tasks with more added value. Automation (and orchestration) also reduces the chance of (human) error and ensures a standardised execution. All of which, in turn, improves satisfaction and experience!
There are several use cases where you can use automation or orchestration. Here are some examples:
Reset Citrix/VDI sessions
Request temporary local admin rights
Mailbox quota changes
Homedrive quota changes
Sharepoint requests (new projects, add members etc)
User rights requests / user rights on
Automated Joiner-Mover-Leaver Process
Requests reports (BI related or general)
Request Virtual Machine (VM)
Request virtual test environment
Create SQL backup
Request meeting rooms
Request business cards
Request business hardware
Request extra member distribution list (mail)
Request firewall rules
Mailbox names changes
MDM; (un)lock, wipe, find my device
How to start with automation & orchestration
How do you start this in practice? We recommend the following steps here:
Decide which use case you want to automate or orchestrate. First, conduct an analysis to see which use case provides which benefit. This benefit could include speed, accuracy, freeing up staff time, … .
Start by building out the happy flow. This is the flow where everything goes well (the ideal situation). After that, be sure not to forget the repair flow. This is the flow if something goes wrong. Ask yourself the questions: what if the automation fails for some reason? What should happen then?
Make sure you test all possible scenarios to ensure everything is set up properly. This sounds very logical, but is still often forgotten!
It is important to choose the right tool for automation or orchestration. When choosing a tool, it is recommended to consider the following elements:
Simplicity: how easy is it to set up such automations? What are the workflow capabilities? Do you have to write code yourself or does the tool have drag ‘n drop workflow capabilities?
Auditability: does the tool keep an audit log of “who did what when” and when the automation was executed and how it performed?
Scaling capabilities: If we are going to automate a lot of requests, the tool must also be able to handle the peaks of requests, and therefore automations
Analytical capabilities: does the tool provide reporting on those automations, errors, …?
Most modern tools have API capabilities to connect via a web service or webhook, but more and more state-of-the-art ESM tools have a marketplace where you can install various connectors to make automation more straightforward. Definitely worth checking out!
Automation is an important topic for businesses, regardless of the industry. Whether you work in IT, HR, Facilities, …, you are undoubtedly interested in reducing your team’s workload, making customers more self-reliant and, in short, improving your customers’ and employees’ experience.
2Grips is more than happy to help you with all your service improvement ambitions, not only within IT but throughout the entire service organisation and always focused on the human factor.
This blog on Shift-left was written by Jordy Mertens, service management consultant at 2Grips.
Do you have any questions or want to know more about Shift-left and automation? If so, don’t hesitate to get in touch!