Does it sometimes feel like you’re working in an IT sweat shop? If all day long you are doing the same things over and over, processing the same tickets all the time, you might be.
One of the problems with IT is there are many repetitive processes. The good news is many of these tasks can be automated. Another undesirable characteristic of an IT sweatshop is frequent crisis. The steady onslaught of repetitive tasks combined with crisis-mode situations can create an unfavorable, and often unprofitable, workplace. So the other thing to consider alongside automation is proactive maintenance.
Proactive maintenance can help in two ways:
The first step to getting out of the “sweatshop” is to minimize surprises and the accompanying spikes in workload by monitoring and maintaining your IT environment in peak condition. By deploying a remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform, you can keep a virtual eye on the pieces that make up your environment. Monitoring hardware for impending failures allows you to react more quickly, enabling you to schedule the work instead of dealing with it after it fails.
Furthermore, knowing your antivirus (AV) and backups are being watched by a system rather than by people can give you more confidence those systems are working as intended. When you use your professional services automation (PSA) tool to schedule work, like renewing a domain or SSL certificate, it is much less likely that you will forget and scramble to get a domain or website back up because they expired.
Even using a tool to monitor your cloud services can pay dividends by identifying exactly where the connection is failing. Monitoring is only one half of the proactive attack on crisis. The other half is automated maintenance. These are mostly scripts and tasks that can be scheduled based on date and time—or that can be triggered by a monitoring alert. Examples include scheduled defragmentation of disks and AV scans.
The second step is automation. Proactive maintenance as mentioned above relies heavily on automation, but automation goes beyond maintenance tasks. You can write scripts to do any number of things, such as disable users after a certain period of inactivity. Automation lives both in your RMM tool and your PSA tool.
PSA tools often have ticket-routing and alert-notification rules that allow you to automate those processes as well. If you do not have a coder on your team, don’t worry, as there are resources online for scripts that perform many of the common tasks that IT technicians perform every day.
In the end, getting out of the “sweatshop” mentality is really just about adopting a proactive managed services model and then improving it over time with automation. Smoothing out the spikes relieves the stress—while automation can help reduce workloads and replace the most boring, repetitive tasks.
Eric Anthony is director of customer experience at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed service provider business for over six years.
You can follow Eric on Twitter at @EricAnthonyMSP
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