Most SMBs have heard some of the arguments for hiring an MSP. Reduced costs, faster response times, an entire team of professionals, and the best technology. A well-run MSP will deliver all those benefits and more. How they deliver them is a question worth examining. Automation is key for most MSPs.
What is IT Automation?
IT automation, sometimes referred to as infrastructure automation, is the use of software to create repeatable instructions and processes to replace or reduce human interaction with IT systems. Automation is key to IT optimization and digital transformation.
Quality MSPs leverage automation for a myriad of repeatable IT tasks that would otherwise have to be done by a human. This has numerous benefits.
In any IT organization labor costs are typically the biggest expense. IT Administrators are skilled workers that have wages appropriate to their value. Automation allows engineers to focus their time an energy on only those tasks that need to be done by a human. Routine IT tasks such as patches and updates can be completely automated so that they require very little engineer interaction.
Numerous other routine IT tasks such as backups, basic security protocols, and network management can also be automated. Every item that gets taken off the to-do list increases the value delivered. Saving man-hours equates directly to cost savings. The best MSPs can automation a good portion of routine IT processes allowing them to deliver exceptional value.
In addition to saving money automation can ensure that routine IT tasks are completed every single time without fail and in the same manner. This consistency leads to high quality results and reduces the possibility for human error.
Software can handle complex tasks dynamically and intelligently, based on predefined parameters. Yet, critical company functions such as releasing jobs, performing backups, and ensuring communications, are normally performed by entry-level individuals within the IT organization. The benefit of an automated system is that these functions are reliably executed by the automation software, and the chance for human error is eliminated.
Another great benefit of automation is how well it can grow with you. Automation is almost infinitely scalable and allows you the flexibility to grow and shrink as needed.
“The result of automation is scalability – less effort per person to maintain and grow your IT environment," as Red Hat VP, Global Services John Allessio recently noted. “If adding manpower is the only way to grow your business, then scalability is a pipe dream. Automation reduces your manpower requirements and provides the flexibility required for continued IT evolution.”
This makes automation a key element in a sound IT strategy when it comes to scalable solutions. Quality MSPs work with their clients to ensure that the solutions they provide are forward thinking and offer maximum value through efficiency.
Another benefit of automation in the added organizational efficiency it can provide. One of the biggest use cases is ensuring that the right people are performing the right tasks. This way high value engineers are not spending time doing repetitive IT tasks and can spend that time on strategic projects that add value.
IT people who are forced to do repetitive drudge work are more likely to leave. Turnover can create staffing challenges and lost knowledge. Duplication of work can result and ultimately put a hamper on productivity.
Automation eliminates repetitive tasks and allows IT resources to stay focused on the strategic projects that are most important to your business.
Why are MSPs better at automation?
Most SMBs don’t have the time or resources to invest in automation. As a result, they end up with routine IT tasks that either go undone or get completed at a much higher cost than is necessary.
Quality managed service providers understand automation. Partly this is driven out of necessity. They service a large quantity of clients across multiple networks and need a better way to manage that type of workload. As a result, they invest heavily in the best IT toolset out there that allows them to do more with less.
MSPs are motivated to automate all that they can. The more they can automate, the less man-hours go in to supporting each client. This delivers a higher quality reliable, scalable solution to the client and can be delivered for a lower cost. This allows the MSP to win more clients.
All these reasons serve as incentive for MSPs to invest in automation. That is a great thing for their clients because they reap the benefits of the superior solutions and simultaneous cost savings.
If your current IT solution doesn’t leverage any type of automation, it’s time to investigate it. The efficiencies, reliability, and costs savings make it worth the time. Talk to your IT provider today about how you can use automation to streamline your IT.
About the Author
Mike Herrington is a 10-year veteran of the Managed IT Services industry. He loves consulting with clients on their IT needs and creating exceptional solutions at SMB prices. When he’s not working he loves to spend time in the mountains of Utah breathing the fresh air. You can read more of his work on his managed services blog at www.itnow.net/blog.