What is Automation for IT Service Management?

There are many categories of IT Service Management (ITSM) Automation available to you.  The most basic form of automation can be defined as ticket workflow type of automation.  This is the type of automation that accomplishes:

  • Opening the correct ITIL ticket type based on the service catalog request
  • Ticket SLA setting based on attributes in the ticket – like Impact, Urgency, CI, VIP Contact, etc.
  • Setting of ticket attributes – like group, based on the categorization of the ticket
  • Workflow – things like if the ticket is in status A, it can only go to status B, C or D next

Another type of automation can repeatedly open tickets based on a schedule – for example, you can schedule the creation of a Standard change each month for weekly or monthly maintenance on network equipment.

The most advanced class of automation is the ability to move a ticket from creation to resolution without human intervention.  This is the area that Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) will truly gain a cost benefit from their ITSM tool.  This type of automation might be something like this:

  • Monitoring software determines that a server is low on disk space
  • Monitoring software opens an incident in the ITSM tool
  • The ITSM tool has a low disk space category which is set up to run disk space remediation tools on the server. These may be scripts to delete temp files, delete older large files that are no longer needed, etc.
  • Upon successful completion of these scripts and a further disk space check, the incident can be updated and then resolved

Or even an integration with DevOps like this:

  • At the completion of automated testing, the DevOps tool determines changes are ready to release to production and opens a Change ticket with all pertinent details
  • Once the deployment to production is completed successfully, the Change ticket is closed
  • A record that the change was made is now there for the Service Desk to see should it become necessary

All of this can be done without any human intervention – saving a lot of system administration costs in the IT department.  Yet there is still a record of this event in both the monitoring tool and in the ITSM tool.  This record allows the organization to report on these events and determine if there is an underlying problem should they be happening too frequently.

If an ITSM tool has incorporated the ability to call out to Web Services – take advantage of that. This is a growing area for automation and can be used to great advantage to advance the Service Desk into an innovative, state of the art Service Desk.  The Service Desk staff will thank you for removing a lot of the mundane work they are doing today – allowing them to focus on areas that will dramatically increase Customer Satisfaction metrics.