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How to Move up the Automation Maturity Model—Part 3: Beyond the Basics

In previous blogs in this series, I discussed how partners typically fit in four main automation maturity categories. The categories include partners who aren’t interested in automating, partners who are interested but aren’t sure how to start, partners who have started the journey towards automation, and partners who automate anything they can.

If you haven’t read those posts already, I encourage you to take a second and catch up using the links below before reading this post:

In this post, I want to focus on our partners who’ve started the journey toward automation. When you begin automating, it’s good to start with something simple—something like cleaning a full disk or running periodic basic maintenance. But once you’ve automated the simple things, how do you find new and valuable things to automate?

From experience, our partners find new things to automate in several different ways. For example, you can:

  1. Incentivize employees to share their ideas for automation submittals and creations. This can include anything from a cash bonus to extra paid time off (PTO) or even a fast-track to senior status.
  2. Assign people to review tickets periodically. If your tickets are categorized in a clear and consistent manner, you can figure out your recurring issues and decide how to build automation around them.
  3. Have informal network operations center (NOC) and help desk team meetings periodically, so you can discuss items your teams feel cause them wasted time. In a social setting, staff will often share more and feel empowered to provide value back to the organization.
  4. Review what other MSPs do. This includes looking through forums, blogs, webinars, and other resources for examples. Learning from peers is a great way to learn more about automation.

Once you identify some items to automate, it’s important to take action and assign uninterrupted time to do it. Automation usually has a small upfront cost (in the form of man-hours) as the automation must be identified, created, tested, and deployed.

In our experience, once a partner starts moving along their automation journey, they start seeing the value to invest more in their workforce, and usually will see a large return on investment by leveraging automation.

Automation of the week

This week’s automation policy is one of the 2019 North American Automation Hackathon winner submittals. Tyler Midland from Radcomp submitted an automation policy that polls the Windows version details and will return the Windows 10 version, which is useful when finding computers to upgrade, or perhaps find computers that have been upgraded too early after a new build comes out. You can easily build it into a custom service and use it to monitor the build number.

Here is the link : https://success.solarwindsmsp.com/kb/solarwinds_n-central/Get-Windows-Version-Details

As always, don’t forget to go look in the automation cookbook at www.solarwindsmsp.com/cookbook if you are interested in other automation policies, script checks, and custom services.

Marc-Andre Tanguay is Head Automation Nerd. You can follow him on Twitter at @automation_nerd

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