The Coming Automation as a Service (AaaS) Revolution
Imagine what a truly automated life might look like.
You wake up to the alarm clock at 8 AM, your phone unmuting itself to nudge you awake. Checking your email, you received a few non-urgent emails overnight but your phone never bothered you because it was automatically muted.
You head down to the kitchen, and grab a glass of orange juice. You drink the last glass and toss out the empty jug. As you do so, your refrigerator notices and adds orange juice to your online shopping order.
Then, you head to work and send out various requests to your subordinates. Tasks to be done, and as each one is completed, you automatically get an update. You’ve got a dozen people under you, and a mountain filled with complex jobs to complete, but much of the management is automated, allowing you to focus on more complex tasks.
After work, you’re driving home when your onboard navigation system automatically warns you of a car accident and resulting traffic jam ahead. Your car suggests an alternative route and after a few twists and turns, you’re back home. Just in time too, your fridge ordered some groceries, and there’s a box of food at the front door, including your much-anticipated carton of orange juice.
A few hours later, your lights automatically dim and you get ready for bed. Plugging in your phone, it mutes itself for the night as you drift asleep.
This is what “Automation as a Service” (AaaS) looks like. Automation is designed to help manage an increasing number of daily life activities, both personal and professional, providing improved business process management and more. And by doing so, AaaS facilitates more time for you to focus on more pressing challenges and concerns.
For business owners, executives, IT departments, and ambitious employees, AaaS can feel like a major boon. Let’s take a look at why.
How IoT is ushering in Automation as a Service (AaaS)
Think about the day outlined above. Notice how many devices are involved? There’s a smart (genius?) phone, the fridge, your car, and your computer at work. If we dug deeper, we might find smart toasters, security systems, health monitors, and more.
All of these devices, among others, are part of a growing web of devices connected to the web and empowered with AI and other powerful software programs. The IoT is vital for AaaS and will allow people to automate an increasing number of tasks. Accenture believes industrial IoT will contribute $14.2 trillion or so to global output by 2030.
AaaS and IoT will derive much of their value from the massive flow of data from IoT devices. As data flows increase, more decisions can be automated in real time and service management will become easier and more practical. And data-based decisions allow companies and individuals to make choices (automated or otherwise) with the best on-hand data.
Automation-as-a-Service is also being combined with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Business Process Automation (BPA), allowing companies to greatly improve how business processes are managed, solved, and delivered. This can significantly improve employee engagement for everyone from front-line workers to C-Suite executives.
Further, IT departments can benefit tremendously from AaaS. Many IT departments are bogged down with highly-repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Minor slip ups and oversights can cause huge headaches, as well. However, automation tools can reduce mistakes and automate tedious tasks.
Here are several ways AaaS can help:
- Automatically reserve and allocate cubicle space for new employees.
- Order the appropriate PC and accessories for new employees.
- Automatically enroll new employees in online training programs, workshops, and the like
- Email security officers or appropriate staff to inform them of appropriate login credentials, users IDs, and other types of need-to- know information.
- Enroll employees in software, such as cloud-based accounting systems, CRM tools, or whatever else to provide better service management.
Your most expensive resource is your people
People are your most valuable, and often most expensive, resource. Yet every individual has a maximum bandwidth. Even the hardest working, most motivated, and most dedicated employees have a limit and there are only so many hours in a day.
Unfortunately, your employees often spend a large amount of their time managing tedious tasks. Through automation, you free up your employees, allowing them to focus on innovation, creative works, strategy, and other high value areas.
Based on the Accenture report linked above, they have found that AaaS is already delivering proven, tangible results for employees as listed below:
- Dramatic reduction and even elimination of human error.
- Increases full time employees’ ability to focus on customer outcomes by 40%
- 40% or greater reduction in handling/cycle times
- 30 to 80% reduction in processing costs
While you can’t automate everything, you can certainly reduce redundant business process burdens and greatly increase efficiency.
Benefits of Automation-as-a-Service
It is often the case that most IT resources, including people, time, and money, are dedicated simply to keeping the doors open and lights on. Since IT departments are often reacting, rather than being proactive, they’re often not adopting new technologies and ideas, thus making service management more cumbersome. Nonetheless, AaaS can help IT departments flip the script.
In face, AaaS implementation can offer:
- Accelerated service delivery, along with increase speed and agility
- Reduce the burden of manual requests and processing
- Reduced spending on IT
- Across the board productivity increases for every department
- Quicker troubleshooting
Orchestrate your data center
AaaS will also make it easier to gather, organize, collect, and provide data. This is especially important in the age of cloud services because the increased reliance on varying external platforms can make it more difficult to organize data collection. On the other hand, through automation, IT departments can build an “Orchestrated Data Center”.
Data centers now extend far outside of your company’s on-site servers and equipment. A modern data center will also include cloud and external services. With Automation as a Service, an agile IT department can build the infrastructure needed to provide security, consistency, and compliance while also making data easier to access and leverage.
Companies can also use AaaS to automate end-to-end IT processes, including:
- Automating common user requests, such as establishing a group file server
- Infrastructure as code through the cloud
- Deploying self-recovery scripts to address problems in servers or applications
- Deploying low-risk changes in the production environment automatically
Ultimately, you’ll be able to offer an enterprise-wide service catalog that end users can use to select automation solutions for various needs and challenges, thus reducing time-consuming demands on your IT department.
Automate at an enterprise scale
To date, many businesses have already found tremendous value in small-scale automation, perhaps automating specific, tedious tasks, such as data entry, or deploying automation in high-value departments, such as finance. Automating business-wide, however, has proven more difficult. For the above scenarios, and more, AaaS deployment can prove a welcome respite.
AaaS comes packaged as a consumption-oriented subscription model, through which you can classify automation flows based on complexity (i.e. simple, medium, or complex). With AaaS, you only pay for what you use, and should your demand for automation increase, AaaS can scale with you.
In addition, flexible monthly payments, rather than exorbitant upfront prices, can reduce financial burdens and initial investment costs for companies large and small.
Automation-as-a-Service is ultimately about serving your customers. By using AaaS, you can conserve precious resources (i.e. time and money) typically spent on deploying and managing technology. This allows you to instead focus on your core mission and on delivering the products and services your customers want and need.