In the industry, automation for managed services refers to streamlining and expediting IT tasks through automated processes. It not only makes the day-to-day activities of the IT team easier, reduces labor-intensive manual tasks, streamlines workflow, accelerates processes, eliminates costly delays, and reduces human error but also improves your business's overall operations, which can lead to higher customer satisfaction and word-of-mouth recommendations that grow your company further.
It’s the ideal solution for managed service providers who face the challenge of managing incidents remotely across multiple sites and via various channels. MSP’s face a challenge in getting more work done with limited resources and are tasked with finding a way to quickly identify, analyze and resolve any number of incidents as they arise in as timely a manner as possible to meet service levels and maintain profitability.
The traditional MSP operating model, which relies on fully staffed network operations centers (NOCs) to respond to tickets and remediate incidents, is running out of gas for three main reasons:
The massive amounts of data in the modern IT infrastructure stretch the analytical capabilities of humans using database queries to the breaking point – and beyond.
Human response time is far too slow for today’s cyber threats; for example, the average time it takes for ransomware to encrypt your files after execution is only three seconds.
NOCs do not scale well. Adding staff with the right skill sets requires time-consuming and challenging hiring cycles – plus, people are expensive.
How can they scale to provide innovative services in the digital business of their customers?
Hence, for many MSPs, managed service automation / AI-Powered Automation / AIOps is already a core part of their business model.
By 2021, 15% of all customer service interactions will be completely handled by AI, an increase of 400% from 2017. (Gartner)
The goal is to create a completely new category of intelligent managed services for the modern era; managed services that could be delivered almost entirely via automation in order to achieve the following:
Increase the efficiency and scalability of service
Reduce the need for human resources and the risk of human error
With Automation, one can automate the services with no or partial human intervention that can help provide quality service within a defined time. Commitment to improving managed services via automation led us to embrace the branch of Artificial Intelligence (AI) known as machine learning. One reason is that machine learning is particularly adept at finding patterns hidden in mountains of data that humans couldn’t possibly work with.
This led to adopting an emerging technology known as AIOps. AIOps combines big data and machine learning to automate IT operations processes, including event correlation, anomaly detection, and causality determination. The basic operating model for AIOps is Observe-Engage-Act
As Gartner mentioned in one of their reports, by 2023, two-thirds of global infrastructure managed service providers will gain at least 50% of their revenue through managing the digital touchpoint environments of their clients.
6 benefits of Managed Service Automation
The adoption of managed service automation can provide you with several measurable advantages, including:
Lowered Operating expenses:
The adoption of managed services, as well as automated ones, can lower your operating costs, whether by reducing the number of errors or decreasing your staff. A Human can work on the more critical task rather than working on repetitive routine tasks. Many L1 level tasks include handling queries, service requests, and incidents that can be managed by automation. Implementing AI-powered process automation procedures improves Systems recovery time. Less downtime means improved service levels for the provider and a lower risk of penalties and loss for the client.
Saves Operations Time:
Time is a vital factor especially when it comes up to scaling your business. Automating common labour-intensive, manual processes, lakhs of mundane routine IT tasks daily reduces waste of both time and resources.
Optimize Resources, Higher Productivity:
The challenge has always been in developing and implementing a process workflow that optimizes all available resources in the most efficient way possible. AI-Powered Process Automation allows you to centrally manage, automate, and support a large number of remote data centres from one single NOC.
The managed service industry is one that is riddled with time-consuming manual tasks. If not addressed, these manual tasks can have a negative impact on productivity. AI-Powered Automation brings in a tailor-made approach that will help streamline internal workflow processes which are inherently flexible and customizable to each user thereby significantly improving the service provided to the end-user. You can give your staff the opportunity to focus on more strategic or more critical issues that require a human eye.
MSPs must meet SLAs to improve the customer experience. The automation of your minor tasks, such as monitoring, helps your company improve the quality of your services. It automatically catches errors or risks and then notifies the appropriate team member so that your customers receive assistance fast. Auto-assignment and auto-routing of the ticket can help to assign the tickets quickly to the right person that can provide a quick solution.
Communication plays a pivotal role in successfully meeting service level agreements. Not only does it improve turnaround time, but without it you are faced with the possibility of costly human errors, which can undermine the profitability of your organization. Automation leverages bi-directional communication steps to remotely control the advancement or execution of any step within a particular process, such as after receiving the alert for server down or network down by monitoring tools, it can help to take faster actions towards full resolution or partial resolution.
The good news is automating tasks doesn’t mean giving up control. In fact, with the right Automation, management can remain fully in control over IT task automation by embedding human decision points within the workflow process. When the process reaches a critical decision point at which human judgment is required, the process owner can immediately be contacted, presented with the available information and allowed to make a decision prior to the process continuing.
A proactive approach:
Customer experience is an important factor in retaining the customer. What can MSPs do to retain their customers?
MSPs should leverage automation and must be proactive with the services they provide to their customers. They should adopt AI-powered automation that understands the language of IT and can provide quick resolution with partial or no human intervention.
A practical way to stand out in your field is by thinking one step ahead. Automation can help you become better prepared, in advance, for unforeseen events such as outages and changes among your staff.
The Silicon-Carbon Dichotomy
We somewhat playfully refer to this situation as the silicon-carbon dichotomy. Silicon-based intelligence (aka computers) does some things better, while carbon-based intelligence (aka humans) is better at others.
By offloading redundant infrastructure operations and data management tasks to automation we can free talented staff for innovation and strategic initiatives, and we can deliver managed services that offer unparalleled agility, security, reliability, and performance to our customers.
Safalya Mitra July 21, 2021