Operations

Meeting Expectations for Ease-of-Use

The key to a successful self-service implementation is a simple user interface and the ability for IT operations to maintain control over the daily business services. Both are needed.

Ease-of-use is essential to meeting the high expectations of today’s end user. Think about the easy-to-use apps on today’s smartphones and tablets that don’t require instructions and have a very specific focus. The expectations of your users are based on their experiences with these personal technologies. They’re transferring those personal experiences to the business environment. When you consumerize IT, “less is more” truly applies.

When implementing self-service for workload automation, make sure you implement a solution that has a user interface designed for the business user. Don’t try to repurpose the interface IT is using. Two elements are essential: a simple interaction model and a service view that’s tailored to the needs of each business user. Without both of these, self-service will most likely fail.

Think about the simplicity of the airlines’ self-service check-in. Instead of surfacing a subset of functionality from the user interface of the reservation system used by the airline personnel, a completely new and easy-to-use interface was designed with only the information and actions the customer needed. Make sure you understand what’s important to your users—how you can improve their ability to do their job and deliver business services.

Keeping IT in Charge While Meeting Business Needs

You still need to set priorities for the business. From that standpoint, two things need to be considered.

First, IT needs a tool that allows it to stay in absolute control of the priorities within the business. We call this dynamic workload management. It allows an IT organization to establish policies that prioritize scheduled services and jobs. Assign the resources that are needed to execute those jobs and processes on time. This gives IT the control to ensure the highest business priorities are met first, regardless of how many self-service requests are made. Second, to make that happen, the workload automation solution should cross all the platforms, databases and applications inside the business.

If you haven’t looked at putting automation in the hands of your business users, now’s the time. It will drive efficiency inside your company, and it's just a matter of time before your business users will demand it.

Make sure to automate in a way that’s useful to the business user, with an interface that’s designed for them. You have to build a relationship between IT and the business users and deliver the information in a way that’s understandable and consumable.

In organizations that are looking to consumerize automation services in particular, it’s up to IT to look over the horizon and begin to build strong relationships with business users today. Don’t wait for users to make demands; take a proactive position. The tools currently available can empower you to begin that process now. And the many tangible benefits make it easy to justify.

 

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