Moving from manual IT operations to automated self-service IT is not easy for most organizations. But it is a worthwhile investment. Large companies that have implemented a self-service portal (SSP) save a significant amount of resources and time.
An SSP is so impactful that when processes change from manual to automated, it can become a threat or an opportunity. This largely depends on your outlook as an IT administrator. You must make a conscious effort to make self-service IT work and to manage expectations. After all, realigning IT services around automation requires support and buy-in from both decision-makers and implementers.
Self-service IT is a no-brainer. But the truth is, it changes more than the IT software and hardware. The automation of existing workflows completely changes the business processes and logic that may have been in place for many years. Self-service requires extensive planning and a cultural shift to run smoothly. Here’s how to make it work for you.
Come Up with a Plan
Figure out what you want to achieve with the SSP. This is where a lot of organizations fail. You’re unlikely to succeed without a clear and well-defined objective. You need to find where your users have most hold-ups and items that are easier to streamline. Once all stakeholders are on board, and you’ve set your goals, you must break down these goals into manageable phases.
Establish what the self-service IT workflow will look like. Then pinpoint those who will approve requests. You’ll also need to map out the build process. Finally, decide on the functionalities and capabilities of the portal.
Make sure to provision all the resources you need during the build process. Assess business requirements and the tools you will need. Don’t assume you need to replace all existing tools. Only replace where necessary. Also, identify the right place for your workloads depending on the data gravity, latency requirements, and security requirements.
Documentation is a vital part of the process. After all, you need a road map that you can reference whenever you lose direction.
Start by documenting each process needed in the self-service IT portal. Make sure to include all dependencies and interconnections. Start with simpler processes and examine how you can re-engineer them using self-service and automation. This will help you identify the limitations of the tools you are testing for SSIT.
Don’t swap out the old for the new in one fell swoop. Instead, develop the automated process and have it run parallel to the old one. An abrupt switchover can be risky. It’s better to run the two processes side by side. This gives you ample time to tweak and fine-tune the new process. It usually takes a few months for the self-service IT portal to get to production-ready status.
You can expect problems and issues with the new system. But you’ll have leeway to fix these issues if the SSP initially runs in a nonproduction environment. This way, expectations are not as demanding, and outages are less disruptive.
Remember to keep both systems independent of each other. Gradually depreciate the old infrastructure and grow the self-service IT portal.
Have Adequate Capacity to Support the Portal
Now that you have a new portal, you need to make sure it works for users. It’s unreasonable to have users wait while IT provisions more hardware to support the services they’re requesting. Therefore, it’s important to manage infrastructure and growth to make the portal a success. In a public cloud environment, the hardware is never an issue. However, you have to pay for all resources used by the SSP. You must implement capacity control.
One thing hasn’t changed throughout the years – self-service IT makes it easier to run your organization. It’s cost-effective since personnel can focus on more strategic activities even as you scale up your operations. Also, employees can focus on more productive tasks. And, finally, it boosts customer satisfaction.