Application support and maintenance teams face multiple challenges on a daily basis due to the complexities involved in their operations.
Automation can help change this state by bringing in newer efficiencies. Automation helps operations to be more predictive and preventive in an ever-evolving environment. It not only helps eliminate human errors and drive faster resolution of incidents but also enables the teams to focus on specialized tasks instead of routine and repetitive issues, thus helping prevent boredom in the team and keeping them motivated.
Challenges hindering effective application support and maintenance
The application environments today are heterogeneous and most systems used for supporting and maintaining applications are reactive and focus on fixing current issues. This leads to multiple challenges (See Figure 1) and lack of alignment to business goals.
Automation: The game changer & the involved challenges
Implementation of automation in application support and maintenance helps tackle issues like manual error-prone processes, high cost, and limited resources, and enables enhanced efficiency and productivity. However, automation in application support comes with its own set of challenges:
The apt approach to automation
So, how do we approach automation? First and foremost, we need to understand that automation is a journey which has to start from within. The starting point lies in existing tools and infrastructure. It is essential to start with simple but high-impact use cases. The focus should not be on automating end-to-end process, but breaking it down to pieces and beginning automation with small steps. For example, before a support engineer deep dives into the system to investigate the issue, automation can help him/her gather the basic information by traversing through multiple related transactions and applications. Even better would be to update the ticket with all the information gathered, even before he/she starts working on the ticket.
Figure 2 explores how automation can be enabled at each level of support ecosystem.
To summarize, take a step-by-step approach. Start small but think big. It will give confidence to the organization and make the journey easier. It is important to remember that automation is not a job of one particular individual or group. It has to be a part of organization’s DNA and involve larger groups/ teams.
Lastly, automation should not be seen as a mission to reduce manpower. Instead, it should be seen as a way to help humans do more value-added jobs and leave repetitive and mundane jobs to bots.
Strategic Manager, Wipro HOLMESTM
Anmol is an automation consultant helping organizations embark on their automation journey. In his 18+ years’ experience, he has played multiple roles in Consulting, Solution Architecture, Program Management and Service Delivery. Anmol’s extensive experience across multiple applications including ERPs, and knowledge of AI, helps him define customized automation solutions for customers.