How IT and Ops teams can get back in the driver’s seat and win with automation
All data in the report (unless otherwise noted) based on a survey of 522 IT and Operations professionals conducted by Propeller Research on behalf of airSlate.
Has work gotten totally out of control?
As someone in IT or Operations, implementing AI and automation solutions into your daily tasks is surely your new normal. Because, let’s face it, work has changed a lot for you over the last three years.
We’re also willing to bet that you’ve thought to yourself, at least once, «I just want to get back to the work I actually like doing.» Work like creating infrastructures and processes that level-up your company, keep everyone secure, and help drive productivity and positive outcomes.
In this era of distributed work, your job has become so much more reactive versus proactive and, let’s be real, you’re dealing with a whole lot of people who think they can take technology into their own hands (meaning you’ll eventually have to step in and course correct).
Your work has become frustrating, tedious, even mundane. Well, it’s time to take back control,
it’s time to empower your coworkers with the right tools to find and implement tech solutions on their own (without it getting in the way of your job) AND the year that you win hours back to dive into the work you truly love.
How? Through IT automation tools.
The challenge of being an IT or Ops Pro in 2023
Let’s talk about your workload. It could probably ease up a bit, huh? We’re all feeling the very real effects of change fatigue and burnout, and this rings especially true for those of you who work in IT and Operations.
In a survey of 522 IT and Ops professionals, you said your number one concern is that your team will get pulled in to problem-solve and fix poorly implemented solutions.
of you faced increased workloads outside of your original roles and responsibilities. You simply don’t have time for that.
To add just a bit more pressure to the situation, we’re all facing economic changes and layoffs are happening all around us.
Part of the problem with layoffs is that workloads tend to increase for those of us who are fortunate enough to keep our jobs.
With increased workloads and fewer resources on hand, what happens? Teams start to implement solutions on their own and — you guessed it — IT and Ops will inevitably be called to the rescue.
Shadow IT is an ongoing problem. 85% of IT professionals are concerned about shadow IT projects.
In tough times, it’s important to look for new opportunities and practical solutions. Significant growth comes when we’re put under pressure, and you have the chance to emerge from today’s challenges as a leader.
The opportunity lies in investing in technology, specifically automation. The key is to be strategic with where and how to automate, and to embrace a citizen developer culture fueled by low-code/no-code solutions.
And many of you are already on board.
91% of IT and Ops professionals believe they need to adopt technology that is accessible and easy to implement by anyone in the organization.
SOS: What IT and Ops teams need in IT automation tools
You don’t want to be bothered with menial tasks, but you want people to do things correctly. Where’s the middle ground? You can be a strong, sturdy guide for fellow employees as they learn to self-solve their problems. What does this look like? You establish yourself as the authority on all things technologically and operationally-related. You determine which tools are worthy of investment, which no-code/low-code solutions are deemed «safe», the process by which new protocols will be rolled out, and so on. Empower your team members while holding your ground.
We see you, we hear you. You want to regain control of your job, and we’re here to help you do that.
Our recent survey tells us that you’re asking for:
You already know that automation tools work favorably in increasing productivity and efficiency, but roadblocks like budgetary constraints, limitations of technology that address needs, and integration issues with other systems and processes have gotten in your way.
Notably, more than half of those surveyed say that in order to embrace technology, they need support from company leadership. What can you do to get leaders on board?
Put data on display
You know what leaders can’t get enough of? Concrete evidence. Hard, validating proof. So, give it to them.
We’re in the midst of a workforce revolution. If you’re not changing with the times, your organization won’t survive. Take control by showing your leadership team that it’s time to act.
Identify an automation champ
Which team(s) in your organization do you trust to start employing workflow automation or no-code/low-code solutions?
Appoint a team in your organization to roll out automation solutions and keep tabs of how it goes. How much support did they need? How quickly were they able to get the tools up and running? What impact did it have on the team? Can you scale this out to the whole company?
Having a test — and results — makes it easier and more effective to state your case.
Further investigate the burden of shadow IT
Shadow IT projects are commonplace and they can make you feel like you’re losing your grip on your true job and purpose. Make note of how much time your team members are spending on shadow IT projects and at what cost. What is taking a backseat because of the interference of these additional projects? How could productivity and profitability increase if less time was spent on these tasks?
Let’s explore this more deeply.
Shadow IT: Fear it or embrace it?
«Shadow IT» can conjure up images of a spy novel or something creepy lurking in the dark. While not so extreme, shadow IT projects can pose a threat to the sanctity and importance of an IT or DevOps role. In fact, regardless of your organization’s size, many of you have likely fallen victim to it — nearly seven in ten organizations have seen shadow IT in the past year.
- Being pulled into problem-solving and having to fix poorly implemented solutions
- Compromised security because of shadow IT projects
- Incorrect implementation of the projects
Why do you hate shadow IT?
Remote work and the growing use of cloud technologies resulted in "consumerization" of IT — a situation where software and hardware designed for personal use migrates into the enterprise.
It's not rare for employees to use personal devices and preferred software instead of IT-sanctioned resources purely out of convenience. A shadow app can operate under the radar for months until the person who introduced it leaves the company. Once something goes wrong, it is you, the IT gurus, who have to put out fires fixing the app you never even knew existed.
All of this can make you feel like things are spiraling out of control, which can be infuriating and lead to lower morale, less productivity, and a general confusion over what your role really entails.
So, can we just get rid of shadow IT once and for all?
of employees see security policies and technologies as a hindrance to their day-to-day work. Imposing restrictions on colleagues can make you feel like the “bad guys”, which is frustrating. Truth is, getting rid of shadow IT is challenging as long as a remote and hybrid workforce exists. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to make things better.
Building a more collaborative environment and empowering employees with simplified software adoption processes could be the answer to your woes. Increased visibility into all the assets that could compromise your organizational infrastructure is the best way to identify and control hidden risks. This, combined with network monitoring tools and security mechanisms, will reduce the need to turn to shadow IT.
Double standards: IT teams do it, too
Well, it all comes down to wanting to feel more autonomous and trusted. Something you can undoubtedly relate to.
You are willing to adopt new technology to automate routine workflows but often feel the procurement processes implemented by leadership are too cumbersome or slow.
With 38% of technology purchases managed and controlled by business leaders rather than IT, the formal approval process takes ages.
So, what’s it going to take to empower everyone across the board to take control, without compromising your processes along the way?
Bringing shadow IT out of the dark: Arming citizen developers with the right IT automation tools
People will always strive for increasing efficiency, especially when they’re equipped with easy‑to‑use and flexible tools that fit specific business needs. Employees who reside outside the IT department — so‑called citizen developers — can support critical business operations and often have the skills needed to build apps and automate workflows using low‑code/no‑code tools. These types of tools bring citizen developers out of the shadows, which is a good thing for organizations.
This is where you need to step in and take control.
It’s up to you whether citizen development stays in the gray zone causing trouble, or whether you can legitimize it to fuel innovation and ease the burden on your department.
Easier said than done? Well, as the organization’s expert on technology, it is you who can assess, manage, and equip citizen developers with the right tools to eliminate shadow IT practices. You can identify solutions you feel comfortable supporting and bringing into the enterprise IT architecture, and ones you know citizen developers will feel comfortable using.
- Inform development staff about the standard low‑code/no‑code tools and provide access to them
- Ensure proper governance of applications and set the guardrails
- Define security protocols and discourage the use of unauthorized systems, devices, apps, and services
- Offer ongoing mentorship and support
Where do citizen developers reside in your organization?
Earlier, we mentioned that identifying automation champs in your organization can help roll out automation solutions and keep tabs on results. But exactly which departments and teams are we talking about?
Our survey reveals that HR teams are the most frequent requesters and the most self-sufficient deployers of document automation solutions. That is no surprise given the amount of daily workflows that HR teams must automate.
And that pays off in the long run — 95% of HR orgs report an increase in their team’s efficiency due to workflow automation.
Surprisingly, though, according to data surveyed, HR document workflows are not always the first priority when it comes to introducing and deploying automation. In fact, in the next 12-18 months, IT and Ops will prioritize automation for document workflows relating to Finance, Sales, and Marketing.
This may be a reflection of our current climate, with priorities shifting from talent-related initiatives towards profitability for organizations in the face of a potential recession.
Doing more with less with IT and Ops automation
Doing more with less is something that many IT and Ops professionals have to deal with thanks to massive tech layoffs they are facing in 2023. Our survey reveals that 71% of you have witnessed department layoffs. As a result, many of you are now combating increased workloads with current IT/Ops projects and outside your original roles and responsibilities.
Unfortunately, daily admin tasks are a necessary evil. Almost 41% of you are concerned about spending too much time on manual administrative tasks. Sadly, organizational inertia is real when investing in new technology. IT and Ops teams need more budgets to do their job well, not to mention the bandwidth to stay on top of the upcoming pipeline.
Given the delays in digital transformation efforts, budget cuts, and low prioritization of compliance and security checks, ensuring security and privacy for sensitive documents is critical.
Retake control of your job: Use airSlate to automate document workflows
So, let’s focus on what you can do with what you already have.
IT professionals care about the big picture — the cost and effort to install, integrate, run, and manage the complete, end-to-end tech stack. Many IT departments are leading digital transformation efforts — having less paper, automating systems, and becoming more efficient.
IT needs to support document workflow processes (creation, flow, reporting) with minimal time investment.
Succeed by getting rid of manual paperwork and regaining control over how secure and compliant your document workflows are.
airSlate is a comprehensive document workflow automation platform that revolutionizes businesses by enabling anyone to create stunning documents and automate document workflows in a single platform.
Our platform scales to fit anyone’s needs, from simple tasks like editing PDFs and creating forms to the more complex ones like eSigning documents and automating workflows. airSlate is everything you need to get your documents done.
- Empower users within the business (Marketing, Sales, Finance, Legal, HR, etc.) to be more efficient by equipping them with a no-code solution that is easy to install, manage, and monitor
- Regain control over their tech stacks to provide business value without increased workload
- Drive efficiency at scale with measurable and repeatable business processes
- Combat complex systems, processes, and data
- Improve security and compliance
- Increase visibility into routine document workflows
airSlate is committed to providing enterprise-grade security and compliance with standard certifications and regulations —SOC 2 Type II, HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, CCPA, and FERPA. When protecting sensitive data, airSlate uses NSA-developed SHA-256 encryption, backups of critical information, SHA-512 password encryption, SSO authentication, and payment protection.
Claremont Graduate University used airSlate to harness document workflow automation during the pandemic and have continued to streamline their IT workflows.
"When a new staff member is hired, we have a process whereby the supervisor for that staff member can request access. We’ve got that integrated with our OIT’s help desk ticketing system. Interestingly, with that flow, what happens when they complete the request, it’s sent as an attachment right into Zendesk, into our ticketing system."
"One of the things that I identified with our working group is that the more members of our community we can familiarize with [airSlate], the easier our job will be down the line when we roll out more and more things."
The game-changing power of automation for IT and Ops teams
As members of the workforce, we continue to face great challenges and are expected to adapt at the speed of light.
For IT and Ops professionals, the chaos of a distributed workforce has made it harder to have governance over the adoption and implementation of technology, to the point where it feels like you’ve lost your grip on your role and responsibilities.
This year, it’s all about taking control and putting your expertise to use. You have the power to influence productivity, optimization, and efficiency across your organization, and to create an infrastructure that will have a lasting, positive impact on your company’s bottom line.
Better yet, you have the power to win hours back in your day to dedicate to the work you love.
Bring document workflow automation into your orbit, empower your colleagues to embrace no‑code/low‑code solutions (at your discretion), and minimize the burden of shadow IT projects.