Data-based automation in 6 charts

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Data-driven automation is starting to change the course of global ITSM delivery. The majority of the market has already invested in collecting and using data on their customers' IT estates, with the remainder clearly planning to catch up.

Solarwinds' global study of more than 350 IT service providers' uses of data shows that a small minority has gone one step further and begun to use the data to power automated service delivery. These few are already enjoying dramatic competitive advantages, and have already seen positive ROI.

Here are 6 charts detailing further findings from the research report on The Value of Data-Driven Automation to the ITSM Industry'.

Over half of IT service providers are collecting and storing data on customers' IT performance

The value of data has not only been recognised by the ITSM community, but actively pursued. 54% are already actively collecting and storing data on customers' IT performance, and almost all of these (81%) are actively using it to improve the service they can deliver to customers.

This includes monitoring performance in order to improve a single client's IT estate, and in many cases, even aggregating data from across the entire client portfolio to take advantage of collective intelligence.

Early adopters are seeing positive benefits on ROI

Many early adopters of data-driven automation have identified positive ROI on their new approach. For most, it is too early to calculate precisely, but 20% have already enjoyed at least 100% return. The prediction for two years' time is even stronger - the proportion reaching 100% or more ROI is expected to rise from 20% today to 47%.

Of those who have not yet deployed data-driven automation strategies, 1 in 2 businesses see it as the route to offering more sophisticated services and winning more business as a result.

The majority of ITSMs don't have automated processes in place

The majority of those that store and use customers' data lack the ability to automate actions based on this intelligence. In the UK, only 23% of businesses have automated processes for transforming customer data into actionable recommendations, which is slightly higher than the US and the rest of the world at 17%.

Complexities over storing data and using it are holding back some companies

Those not storing customers' performance data are held back simply by complexities over how the data would be stored and a lack of data interrogation skills rendering storage of data pointless. These are entirely surmountable obstacles, and given only a small minority (14%) believe that the data would not be of use, it would suggest that the motivation is there to overcome them.

71% of those using automated data have seen substantial benefits

The majority of those IT service providers who have already deployed data-driven automation of routine tasks confirm they have enjoyed wide-ranging and valuable benefits, including at least doubling the amount of business they can handle.

This supports one of the long-held theories for data-driven automation; the more routine activity that can be delegated to automated processes, then the more time becomes available to service more clients and to provide a deeper level of consultancy to them.

Most of those implementing automated data-driven solutions are able to automate all or part of their managed security offering

The implications of this on personnel have yet to have any impact, but the optimism continues with hopes for the complexity of IT estates businesses will be able to manage - 86% believe that the removal of routine activity through automation will allow them to take on more complex IT estates. This same feeling is seen in managed security as a third feel that these services could be automated in their entirety.

Strategically, data-driven automation is anticipated to have an overwhelmingly positive impact on competitiveness. The bigger question is whether the remainder will be convinced by the benefits of the few that are clearly being shown. Is the rest of the industry eager to follow suit, or have the early adopters of data-driven automation stolen a lengthy advantage?

Esther Kezia Thorpe

Esther is a freelance media analyst, podcaster, and one-third of Media Voices. She has previously worked as a content marketing lead for Dennis Publishing and the Media Briefing. She writes frequently on topics such as subscriptions and tech developments for industry sites such as Digital Content Next and What’s New in Publishing. She is co-founder of the Publisher Podcast Awards and Publisher Podcast Summit; the first conference and awards dedicated to celebrating and elevating publisher podcasts.