The End of Automation Anxiety

By Chrystal Taylor, SolarWinds Head Geek.

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If there’s one thing 2022 has highlighted, it’s that the world is constantly changing. For most industries—IT included—one constant persists: a lingering concern about automation.

Machines helped pave the way for economic development and the industrial revolution, shaping the world we know today. Yet the concern that machines will take over has been a societal anxiety ever since, forming the plot for numerous science-fiction and dystopian stories that permeate pop culture. In 2023, the IT industry will address this anxiety, adopting automation software solutions in a thoughtful way and freeing tech professionals to prioritise the most important tasks.

So why 2023? In addition to the challenges of adapting to a new normal after the pandemic, 2022’s economic uncertainty resulted in tightening budgets across the board. We’re only likely to see the true impact of this over the next 12 months and beyond as organisations become accustomed to the new way of working. To thrive, businesses need to look at ways they can be more efficient to get the most out of their teams and budgets, and automation can play a huge role.

At the same time, employees are grasping the opportunity to reassess work-life balance more than ever before, with many choosing remote or hybrid working over offices. This presents organisations and tech teams with a whole host of new IT and operational challenges.

Optimising with automation

In 2023, automation in the IT industry isn’t about replacing people, and this is the key to ending automation anxiety. Automation will instead be used to optimise environments and reduce the time spent on the boring, monotonous, and repetitive tasks that nobody wants to do.

Automation can also provide benefits beyond just saving time for organisations and IT pros. It can declutter incident queues, prioritise tickets and escalate priority issues, remove workflow bottlenecks, and assign tickets to IT pros based on skills and expertise areas.

IT professionals are in high demand, and businesses quite rightly go out of their way to employ the best. But the competitive advantage gained by having a top team can disappear when buried under mundane incident tickets and other repetitive tasks that don’t allow IT pros to use their hard-earned skills and talent.

The changing roles of IT professionals

The shift to automation will revolutionise workflows by automating time-consuming tasks like configuration changes for network devices, workstation or server patching, and compliance checks and remediation.

As this less manual way of working absorbs more time-consuming and repetitive tasks, IT teams can achieve their full potential by focusing their energies on higher-level needs, creativity and innovation, and delivering more complex projects that help your organisation get ahead.

Automation also frees up training time, allowing organisations to unleash the skills, knowledge, and experience that IT pros bring to the table. Improved workflows and the ability to focus on more interesting projects will result in more job satisfaction and lower stress levels for IT experts-- one of the biggest benefits of this change.

Staff turnover could also be reduced, as IT administrators get to work on the projects that they’re passionate about. Happy employees are less likely to look elsewhere, which reduces costs for organisations that don’t have to hire and onboard new people.

Rethinking the help desk

The IT help desk is one area where greater automation would reap huge benefits. Integrations of monitoring and service desk integrations are becoming more prevalent. In the near future, IT pros will start automating key processes including updates to customers, ticketing help desk assignments, asset updates, and configuration management database (CMDB) updates, among others.

This will take delays on menial tasks out of the picture as common issues get resolved more quickly, saving the business money and time. It also has the added benefit of keeping monitoring and services desk systems synced. As a result, the help desk will grow from a reactive tool into a proactive one that can be a one-stop resource for all tech-related employee requests, seamlessly bridging the communications gap between IT professionals at an organisation and the end users they serve.

Gone are the days when IT professions had to own every single end-user request. The new help desk will include service features that give administrators time and power back to use their expertise to figure out the best ways to build out further automation, delegate operations, and encourage collaborations across the business departments.

Automation isn’t for everyone

Naturally, automation isn’t the perfect fit for every task. Service from IT teams will continue to be the best fit for many tasks, including identifying new threats and patterns when faced with a network intrusion detection.

But suppose IT professionals at your organisation are spending too much time handling routine, repetitive and basic tasks. In that case, it’s time to overcome automation anxiety and embrace it for the right processes.

Whatever happens in 2023, it’s time to stop fearing automation. Embracing it will transform organisations into places where IT talent can thrive.

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