How to identify automatable areas in your IT and automate them

Sanjeev NC

The pursuit of automation is not just a trend, but a necessity, driven by the growing complexity and expanding scope of IT environments. IT leaders are increasingly recognizing that automation is no longer a luxury but a critical component of their strategic planning. While IT becomes more capable, it also grows in complexity. This complexity often leads to an increase in manual, repetitive tasks – a paradox in an era defined by digital efficiency. As systems and processes multiply, the human capacity to manage them without error or inefficiency diminishes. This is where automation steps in as a vital tool.

As we delve into the significance of automation in IT, this blog aims to zero in on a crucial aspect: identifying areas ripe for automation within your IT environment. Navigating through  the complexities of modern IT systems, we'll explore practical strategies that can help IT leaders uncover these potential automation candidates and also how to automate them.

But, what makes it so hard to identify automatables areas?

IT automation frequently becomes a hot topic in meetings, yet putting it into practice is easier said than done. Here are some key reasons why identifying automatable areas in IT can be particularly challenging:

Complex and Interconnected Systems

Modern IT environments are intricate, with systems and processes deeply interconnected. This complexity makes it difficult to isolate individual tasks or workflows that are ideal for automation without affecting other parts of the system.

Lack of Visibility

In many organizations, there's a lack of complete visibility into all the processes. Some tasks may be so routine or embedded in the daily workflow that they become almost invisible, making it hard to identify them as potential candidates for automation.

Inadequate Documentation

Often, processes aren’t thoroughly documented, making it difficult to understand the full scope and specifics of a task. This lack of documentation can be a significant barrier in identifying processes that are suitable for automation.

How do I start identifying automatable areas?

This doesn’t mean identifying automatable areas in your IT environment is impossible, it is just difficult and needs a lot of focus and effort. Here are a few types of tasks that you could automate along with examples.


High Volume Tasks

These are tasks that occur frequently and involve similar steps each time they're performed. They are often mundane, time-consuming, and do not require complex decision-making.


Rule Based Processes

Rule-based processes in IT are those that follow a set of predefined instructions or criteria. They are predictable, structured, and don't require human judgment or decision-making at each step.

Bottleneck Sources

Bottlenecks in IT are stages in a process where workflow slows down significantly due to various constraints, leading to overall inefficiency. These bottleneck areas are prime candidates for automation.

Error-prone processes

Error-prone processes in IT are those tasks or operations where the likelihood of mistakes is high, often due to manual intervention, complexity, or lack of standardization. Automating these processes can significantly reduce errors.

Once identified, how do I start automating them?

Identifying the automation areas is critical but it’s only part of the puzzle. Once you’ve identified them, it’s time to actually start automating.

1. Identify the Right Tool for Automation:
Assess the nature of the tasks and research tools that best address these specific needs. For example, RPA (Robotic Process Automation) for high-volume, repetitive tasks, or workflow automation software for rule-based processes.

2. Map and Document Existing Processes:
For each type of task, document the current workflow in detail. This step is crucial for understanding the complete process and where automation can be applied effectively.

3. Analyze Tasks for Automation Feasibility:
Evaluate each task to determine if it's suitable for automation. Consider factors like frequency, complexity, and the potential for reducing errors or alleviating bottlenecks.

4. Consult with IT Staff and End Users:
Engage with those who are directly involved with these tasks. Their insights can provide valuable information on the practical aspects of these tasks and potential challenges in automating them.

5. Develop a Pilot Project:
Choose one or a few tasks as a starting point for a pilot project. This approach allows you to test the effectiveness of automation on a smaller scale before a full rollout.

But, how do I ensure that the automation doesn’t get outdated?

After all that hard work in automating these tasks, it can be devastating to find out that you have to do it all over again. Here’s how you can ensure that your automation doesn’t get outdated soon:

1. Conduct Regular Effectiveness Reviews:
Schedule routine assessments to evaluate whether the automation is performing as expected. This includes checking if the automation is meeting its intended goals, such as reducing time on tasks, minimizing errors, or alleviating bottlenecks.

2. Adjust to Process Changes:
Be aware of changes in business processes and workflows. Adjust the automation strategy accordingly to ensure it remains relevant and effective.

3. Gather User Feedback Periodically:
Regularly solicit feedback from the staff and users interacting with the automated processes. Their insights can be crucial in identifying issues or areas for improvement that might not be evident from performance data alone.

4. Update and Refine Automation Rules and Parameters:
Based on the reviews and feedback, make necessary updates to the automation rules, workflows, and parameters to ensure they align with current processes and best practices.

5. Stay Updated with Technological Developments:
Keep track of new developments in automation technology that could enhance or affect your implemented strategy. This includes software updates, new tools, or emerging best practices in the field.

The task of automating IT processes is becoming increasingly complex, not just because of the number of tools available but also due to the sheer volume and diversity of tasks that can and should be automated.

Automation starts with visibility. Having a clear view into your IT processes and data is fundamentally important for successful automation. By maintaining comprehensive insights into how all processes function and how data flows within your system, you can identify the most impactful opportunities for automation. This level of visibility ensures that when automation is implemented, it aligns perfectly with your existing processes and enhances them without disrupting the overall IT ecosystem.