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May 7, 2014

Engineering Automation Nirvana

Tony Thomas
Vice President, Strategy
ConnectWise, Inc.
Engineering Automation Nirvana

As I think back on my career as a desktop support technician and then an infrastructure/network architect, I realize I was robotic in my routines. I would immediately start engaging any task by using reactive tools to navigate the anatomy of OSes, hardware and the network systems, leveraging a checklist of possibilities in my head that had been built up over the years. The faster I could get the job done, the more in demand I found myself. And with that, the needs started to get more complex and time-consuming.

Every day, the same problems came across my desk. Everything needed a solution “ASAP,” which numbed me to the true severity of things. The velocity at which old/new problems would hit my email or voicemail made me so reactive that I ceased to worry about the quality of customer service. Instead, my life centered around completing the task at hand and somehow, I still felt like I was drowning.

Then I had an epiphany. Why not automate my way out of the jobs absorbing the majority of my time? As an engineer and a problem solver, I saw that they were keeping me prisoner and preventing personal growth and greater responsibility. Creating a solution would not only allow me to grow professionally, but it could also return my personal time. I could play Quake, Unreal Tournament and Half-Life.

Don’t judge. My addiction with that is now controlled.

Fifteen years later, I’m still continuing my journey towards enlightenment. At LabTech Software, brilliant developers, real customers and field-tested leaders are teaming up to engineer peace of mind for IT techs worldwide. We believe that every modern IT support application should enable control and automation. It’s like yin and yang. You shouldn’t ever have one without the other. Automation is the secret to operational efficiency, reducing waste, balancing work with life, and increasing profitability.

And it is LabTech’s goal to achieve Automation Nirvana.

Beyond the marketing hype and umbrella term usage, you can find a simplified path to Automation Nirvana. At LabTech Software, we follow it, practice it and evolve it as our journey continues.

Activity Automation

  • Automate repetitive or manual system management/maintenance activities

Intelligent Automation

  • Intelligent automation dynamically detects roles, types of assets and automatically applies a tailored set of out-of-the-box policies per device
  • Intelligent automation reacts to any type of event condition, thresholds and instantly executes logic to alert, remediate or preempt downtime

Integrated Automation

  • Synchronize series of automated bi-directional actions by intelligently interfacing with multiple business critical systems

Imaginative Automation

  • Automate everywhere with a native open-ended scripting engine that is adaptable to create whatever logic your imagination can conjure

Some would call this level of automation LabTech’s brand of “AI.” Is there another hidden path in automation to discover? Enlighten me and the rest of your peers! How do you use LabTech or other solutions to achieve a state of Automation Nirvana?

Got Automation?

Hear what your peers are doing to achieve Automation Nirvana. In this short video, LabTech partners share examples of tasks they’ve automated their IT business.

Watch the Video

Tony Thomas Vice President, Strategy
ConnectWise, Inc.

Tony is passionate about entrepreneurship and innovation, so he’s always searching for new ways LabTech can help unlock innovation and potential in your IT business.


5 thoughts on “Engineering Automation Nirvana

  1. Eric Rieger says:

    We are creating / embracing a culture of 1%. We feel that by striving to improve just 1% per person, per day those small changes will add up over time and yield big results for our clients and our company.

    Automating routine tasks is only a small part of the power true automation can bring. We are striving to use automation to improve the overall client experience…to deliver that WOW factor not just at a machine level but to where it has a true, measurable impact on the business.

    Solving a problem behind the scenes for a client before they even know they had one is a great foundation we want to set the bar higher. Whether it be automating reports, triggering consumables orders before devices run out of supplies, or bridging a process gap there are so many avenues to explore where automation can enhance the experience the client receives.

    Instead of looking it as a form of AI maybe you could consider: Automation Nirvana – Driven by RI (Real Intelligence). Great article Tony. I’m excited to see where this takes us.

  2. Tony T. says:

    @Eric… RI (Real Intelligence) ! I’ve been selling us short in our pursuit of Automation Nirvana. Our vision and mission in this realm should be no less than REAL. Your mindset on 1% adds up to customer delight.

    Solving problems behinds the scenes is the embodiment of “Intelligent Automation”. I suspect that your team will constantly detect new scenarios to automatically fix behinds the scenes for years to come. You can count on our promise to continue the advance our automation and logic engines as we learn from you and our partners.

    Automating reports, supply chain and process… There is arguably another hidden path here entirely that didn’t occur to me until now. Sounds like Notification Automation…

  3. Dustan Yates says:

    Automation Nirvana, I love it!

    Like Eric’s post above its not all about just dealing with the back-end (or behind the scenes, like Eric stated) tasks. Cause we can automate all we want to save the technicians of the world time, but how does that help SHOW their customers just how much work they are doing for them.

    All of us on the techy-geeky side know what pain and awesomeness we have to go through to make everything “look” like its running smoothly, but how can we “show” the partners/customers/end users that they aren’t just throw money at a company and the software is doing everything…. “why not just buy the software ourselves?” Ok we all know the end users won’t go that far :) but I think everyone knows what I’m saying.

    I believe we, LabTech’ers United (still working on the name :) ), have a real responsibility to not only use the absolute best tools available on the market(*cough LabTech *cough), but to our partners/customers/end-users as well. The ability to deliver unprecedented preemptive solutions to solve problems BEFORE they occur, and show them all of the possibilities that they haven’t even thought of yet! Man, that’s the stuff that really gets me excited! To be able to give a solution to someone and say, “By the way, we have also set up an auto-refill solution on printer supplies for the main printer in the office so you won’t have to worry about that anymore.” Then watch the customers’ jaw drop like, “Whoa! You can do that?” Man that gets me geeked up!!! OK I’ve written enough I think you know what am saying….

    “You smell that? I love the smell of Automation in the morning!”

    Mr. LTGreenShoes,out!

  4. Hey Tony,

    Great Article! I can see that you (and obviously Mr. LTGreenShoes there!) are both pumped up and ready for AN14 NEXT week!! :)

    Two things that I have come to realize in my time as an IT Admin/Manager is “Perception is everything!” and “You are only as good as your most recent failure!”

    For example: It’s great that we now have their (a clients’) network all happy and working (using automation tools or not), but if they don’t hear form us often, they *might* start wondering… “What is our MSP actually doing??” Yeah, sure… their network is working better than ever (of course!), but you don’t get support tickets in, or people talking, when stuff “just works”! Therefore…maintaining client dialogue every step of the way through good, and bad, times is KEY to help achieving this ‘Nirvana!’

    Like always… Communication is KEY!

    Take credit as a TEAM when you receive it! Take responsibility as an INDIVIDUAL when you are given it!

    “Intelligent Automation” as you put it, or the “LabTech AI” element would radically improve the platform (as a tool), and as the tool “learns” or “gathers trends” of clients environments, the preventative maintenance can only get better. I have even entertained creating internal & remote monitors via my scripts. It’s my little pet project i have been working on behind the scenes in my lab, and so far… it’s ‘kinda’ working, but by no means an “Intelligent Automation” solution…. yet! 😉

    Looking forward to seeing you all at #AN14! :)

  5. Neil says:

    Great article Tony

    Martyn added pretty much what I was going to add.

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