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April 30, 2020

5 Ways Automation Improves Work Orchestration

During these challenging times, your teams are still working on highly complex technology projects. Maybe they’re migrating to a new data center or to the cloud, or working on sunsetting a legacy system. Chances are they’re using spreadsheets, emails, and conference calls to manage and coordinate these efforts. Which means much of the project’s burden relies heavily on a Program or Project Manager. This is challenging; but even more so right now with many organizations operating with remote work forces and virtual teams. 

The dependence on a “hero” to orchestrate tasks and predict issues before they turn into problems is riskier than ever. Why? 

First, the pace of technology change has accelerated in the last ten years, putting increased pressure on teams to move faster. Second, technology teams are more diverse and dispersed across different time zones, complicating day-to-day communications, team dynamics, and even deadlines. Finally, teams have an arsenal of data to aid their decision making, but getting to it quickly, when it’s buried in spreadsheets, emails, automated provisioning tools, and numerous systems, is no easy feat. Gathering and analyzing this data is usually a manual activity—and who has time for that?

With everything teams are expected to do, companies need to invest in a more sophisticated solution that intelligently orchestrates both human and machine tasks, and leverages automation to remove many of these roadblocks.

Here are five ways automation can improve your technology program delivery.

1. Automation Connects Systems

A significant challenge for many businesses is that it’s difficult to deliver the required pace of technology change when you’re still working with a mix of new and legacy systems. 

In fact, the average enterprise now uses almost 5 different cloud platforms in addition to a myriad of heritage systems that still run the business. The result is a highly complex and increasingly interconnected environment, which means any planned change, whether it’s an improvement rollout, security update, or new system addition, is fraught with risk. 

Automation can reduce much of that risk  by integrating both new and legacy systems to provide improved control and oversight. For example, the Cutover platform seamlessly integrates with a variety of IT Service Management, DevOps and collaboration tools, enabling machine activities to be scheduled and automated along with human activities. For example, Cutover is helping companies more effectively deliver technology change through an integration with ServiceNow. Businesses can now easily plan, rehearse, orchestrate and analyze change through Cutover and facilitate governance and compliance activities with ServiceNow. 

The infographic below outlines all the current services Cutover integrates with:

Automation Improves Work Automation

2. Automation Streamlines Processes

Even the most well-thought-out processes can have bottlenecks that slow momentum. For example, delays often occur when work needs to be reviewed or approved in order to move forward. Requests can get buried in email causing stakeholders to not realize the project is waiting on their approval. 

Automation can be used to optimize this process so all approvers are notified when they need to review something. For example, Cutover has built-in communication features, including automated emails, SMS messages, and conference call setup, that streamline collaboration, capture activities, and provide real-time status updates to teams and stakeholders. In addition, changes that need an approved record in the Service Management platform and open and close change tickets can be automated within Cutover.

3. Automation Helps Scale Efforts

With automation, organizations can grow their teams, their projects, their output — without needing to double their headcount.

As mentioned above, connected systems provide a wealth of data. When that data is readily available to program managers they know more about their teams’ performance and can make informed decisions faster to scale efforts and improve outcomes. 

For example, Cutover’s platform enables teams to optimize people by providing real-time data on the performance of teams to help with resourcing decisions. In addition, automated features within the platform, such as the communication features noted above, eliminate many manual administrative tasks, freeing up people to focus on higher-value activities.

Automation Improves Work Orchestration

4. Automation Offloads Busywork

A survey by expense management company Webexpenses found workers typically spend more than two hours a day doing admin, paperwork and attending meetings—time they felt could be put towards more important jobs. 

These mundane, time-consuming tasks include progress tracking, requesting and sending updates, scheduling calls, and compiling status reports. All tasks that can be eliminated with automation. 

We already mentioned Cutover’s built-in communication features, which save managers precious hours each day. With automated data collection and analysis, the days of manually assembling progress data and developing a report for upper management are gone. Our dashboards provide managers and stakeholders full visibility into all aspects of a technology initiative including progress KPIs, resource utilization, and the ability to drill down into any of the thousands of tasks in a project. 

The all-new multi-runbook dashboard enables stakeholders to get a comprehensive view of the progress and status of multiple selected runbooks. This feature is highly versatile, to support the variety of use cases required, whether this is post-event analysis, visibility into the status of live events, or for better planning of upcoming initiatives.

The Multi-Runbook Dashboard

Automation improves orchestration

Find out more about this feature.  

5. Automation Helps Identify Risks

Imagine having a list of likely delays, risks, and problems with your program before they occurred. This technology already exists in the supply chain world, so why not for technology programs? Well it does.

With its data integration and analysis features, Cutover gives managers greater visibility and insight into performance and workflows to identify risks. Team members are able to answer questions such as, ‘Where are we on the critical path?’, ‘What systems are down this weekend?’, ‘What are the highest risk changes next week? What areas need my immediate attention?’ 

In addition, teams can build and deploy custom flows of work for every change project incorporating both human (manual) and machine (automated) activities. Best of all, these workflows can be rehearsed prior to a “go live” and analyzed for continuous improvement, and then used over and over again for similar projects, like stress tests or market readiness checks.

Ready to use automation to deliver powerful, successful orchestration for your upcoming initiatives? Schedule a demo of Cutover’s work orchestration and observability platform.

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