Like most organisations, Brennan IT still relies on paperwork, phone calls and multiple other client touch points, but already we can see that the future will be driven by self-service and automation, both in our internal processes and our customer engagements. 

As a managed services provider, we want to enable our customers to provision, change, order, and perform simple functions themselves, without our intervention. This means we can focus on delivering greater value for our customers, like offering strategic transformation advice and guidance, delivering an improved customer service experience, and anticipating and responding to their needs faster.

This drive towards back-end automation is part of Brennan IT’s focus on lean methodologies. We review all internal and external processes to make them more efficient. Self-service is a big part of that. Not only will it help us reduce the number of systems we have, it also lets us reduce the integration complexity within our own IT infrastructure to deliver faster, more accurate support.

We have identified three key areas for self-service and automation that we’re working on with our customers to help free up their time:

  1. Self-service maintenance and admin tasks: We can give customers greater control of their account and their IT capacity by giving them access to a simple portal from which they can manage everyday IT processes such as resetting a password or creating users.
  2. Report generation: We produce a lot of reports for our customers, but we don’t always know how many of these are considered useful. We aim to provide a self-service portal so that our customers can generate their own reports and choose to view the information they need, when they need it. The time freed up by not generating reports lets us spend more time adding greater value to the customer’s account in other ways.
  3. Provisioning: By letting customers provision additional services as required, we can save them a lot of time and effort, particularly when the need for additional capacity is pressing. We are working towards providing our customers with the ability to take more control of their own environments. Of course, we will still be available for customers who choose to call us, but we believe the convenience of enabling this process through a self-service portal will prove very popular.  

We are also working on a platform where customers can view all their services in a single dashboard to make it easier to monitor and manage their services together, offering even more efficiency. It will overcome the issues that arise when each service is treated as a separate entity, and customers have to go through a different process for each service when changes are required. This will be a great help to customers that are comfortable to manage and provision IT themselves.

With greater automation, we will be able to collect more customer insights across our offerings and identify bottlenecks in processes. Over the next year we will expand our current capability that will automatically flag issues or potential improvements on customer accounts, before the customer is affected by an issue. Using advanced automated alerts, we will be able to provision additional customer requirements immediately, such as system capacity or disk space, within the parameters agreed by the customer in their initial contract.

Our automation and self-service strategy will helps us to become more proactive as a service provider, which benefits our customers. It will also let our staff work across more complex, value added technical challenges. We anticipate this will help our already strong team grow and develop a wider range of technical and consultative skills. Building out these self-service automation capabilities in 2017 will further enhance our role as a MSP, our client relationships, and help our customers achieve greater IT efficiency and business transformation.