4 ways IT pros can be more strategic with automation

by Stephen Danos

Depending on the size of your organization, information technology (IT) professional roles can vary dramatically. If you work at a smaller company, you might be expected to wear many hats. If you work for a large enterprise company, you’re likely highly specialized. 

Either way, IT leaders are dealing with a growing demand to align their efforts, from operations to production to administration, with the entire business. In the State of the CIO 2019, IT leaders surveyed are feeling this shift. Chief information officers (CIOs) anticipate being asked to play a bigger role in aligning with other business leaders at their company on strategy and innovation.

Many of these leaders are still focusing on security management (51%), improving IT operations and systems performance (42%), and aligning IT with business goals (42%). However, some say that transforming existing business practices, growing the business, and improving the customer experience have been added to their responsibilities, piled on top of their commitments to operational efficiency and cybersecurity. 

How can IT leaders align with the business?

Future IT leaders are going to inherit and lead departments that were focused on finding new revenue streams, improving the (internal) customer experience, and using the bulk of their workday innovating on how work is done. 

If your IT department starts automating your most common workflows and programs now, you can reap the benefits when there’s a broader paradigm shift within your organization. So what can IT professionals automate with a collaborative work management platform, such as Smartsheet?  

Keep reading to learn how you can reduce the time it takes to operate your IT help desk, change-management process, IT asset management (ITAM) process, ongoing projects, and user provisioning through automation. 

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1. Give your IT help desk the support it deserves

IT help desk technicians have their hands full, being the first line of response for triaging service requests from the entire company. They need to manage the ticketing process while also determining the best solutions to fix the technical issues plaguing their end users. 

Whether upgrading software or fixing malfunctioning hardware, there’s a better way to expedite the barrage of requests. Using the Help Desk Ticket Tracker with Form template, you can expedite approvals and requests while routing information faster, which reduces the time it takes to resolve issues. 

Using a simple intake form, employees can submit comprehensive tickets that include critical information — such as date, name, department, urgency, and ticket category — which then populate a sheet in Smartsheet. From there, the assigned technician can update the ticket status as it moves to being closed. 

Using automatic alerts in Smartsheet, you can notify the on-call technician right away when new tasks are assigned to them. You can then communicate with your internal customers using automated notifications and automatically sending status updates.

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2. Rethink existing workflows

It should come as no surprise that your IT project managers are constantly iterating on processes. One Smartsheet customer, who works for a major consumer goods brand, uses the platform to organize multiple IT PMO projects, including their JAMS computer management solution, network upgrades, and reimagining their company’s change-management process.

Your department can uplevel your change-management process by using Smartsheet forms to capture change requests and all required information to execute upfront, which then populates a sheet. From there, set up an automatic alert for when new requests are submitted. 

The same customer tailored this process so that submitters indicate the day and time for the change window and indicate the production and business areas that could be impacted. Once the form is submitted, the business partner is immediately redirected to their IT change calendar, which provides their entire department and business partners instant visibility.

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3. Simplify your process for asset management 

You know the cycle. Budget IT resources, cut costs, drive departmental efficiency, repeat. In order for this process to work, you’re under pressure to keep the IT asset management (ITAM) process under control. 

Making your IT department cross-functional is half the battle. You’ll also want to use a single platform to centralize the entire ITAM process. Smartsheet has you covered; the platform offers several template sets for IT professionals, including one for asset management

This pre-built solution provides reports for overdue assets, warranty expiration, and asset tracking. Because ITAM is an ongoing process, this template set includes a dashboard to help you see asset condition, and check-in/-out status. 

When assigning owners in the underlying sheet, you can use Contact List columns and automate actions, notifications, reports, and more. When combined, automation features, reports, and dashboards help drive accountability, ensuring that your IT department maintains its reputation of being on-point and effective.

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4. Automate user provisioning

One more nuisance to IT departments is user provisioning for new software licenses. Smartsheet integrates with Okta for single sign-on (SSO) and allows system admins on enterprise licenses to automate new user provisioning.

Once a new user signs up for Smartsheet with their corporate email, they can be automatically added to your company’s enterprise account as either licensed or non-licensed, which is based on the level of access you want them to have. Automating new user provisioning adds back time to your day that you’d spend on a manual process, reduces administrative errors, and ensures that your customers have access to the software tools they need to do their jobs.

Overloaded IT departments deserve every opportunity to automate and simplify processes that can cause major headaches. Smartsheet offers these solutions and more to to help IT departments recover more time to focus on strategy and innovation.

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