Published: January 13, 2021 – Author: Darin Munn

Partner with Dedicated Automation Production Support Services

In this series, we’ve covered why doing a deep-dive with knowledge domain experts, having enterprise-grade automation development, the value of development mentoring, and why bot health checks are vital to a successful intelligent automation program. Closing out the series, we’ll discuss one of the most overlooked elements of a successful automation program—why partnering with dedicated production support for automation solutions is so important, and the four things to look for when evaluating a service provider for support services.

Who monitors your production automation solutions? What happens when they don’t perform as expected? Who is responsible for fixing them when they break?

When we ask customers these questions, we get the same answer: companies are using the same developers that build automation solutions to monitor and fix issues in production.

For context, when we ask the same customers about support for their employee resource program (ERP), without hesitation, they tell us about their dedicated support team that works around the clock to ensure proper functionality and up-time.

This makes me wonder, given the increasing importance of the work being performed by automated solutions, why aren’t organizations adopting the same dedicated support mechanisms to monitor and manage automation runtime?

If you think about it, just as with an ERP implementation, the entire automation program and its desired targets, outcomes, and goals ultimately rely on an effective production support engine. If the automated solution isn’t effectively monitored and managed, all the hard work and effort expended by the analysis, design, development, and testing teams are reduced.

Developers with competing priorities can’t perform as effectively as a dedicated support team

Understandably, adding another support function to an organizational structure isn’t easy. But let’s make one thing clear: the answer is NOT to throw it at your IT team by default. Like most IT teams, they probably have way too much on their plate already, but more importantly, most IT teams aren’t trained (and don’t have time to become trained) on proper monitoring and management of automation solutions.

So your automation developers are swamped, being pulled back and forth between new builds and production support, and your IT team can’t consume support, or they aren’t able to consume it effectively. How will you overcome this challenge to grow your automation program?

You might find yourself in a double-edged sword situation. Your program isn’t growing, so you can’t justify a dedicated production support team. But you believe the program will grow if you can offload production support from your development team.

In this situation, a service provider with production support engagement may be exactly what you need to get over the hurdle.

A service provider, like Agilify, can come in on day one, perform due diligence surrounding your existing production automations, and hit the ground running with an SLA-driven production support model. They can provide real-time support coverage that meets the demands and business criticality of your production automation solutions, and their resources are trained within the respective automation tools that they support.

Four things to look at when evaluating a service provider

When evaluating service providers and their production support capabilities, look for four things:

  1. Their experience in delivering production support for large-scale automation programs
  2. Their commitment to due diligence (pre-work before executing support)
  3. Their intent to engage and communicate with business process owners throughout support delivery (related to business rules, exception details, etc.)
  4. Their breadth of capabilities and deliverables offered within their support model

Failure to implement dedicated production support will frustrate your developers, diminish the quality of your automation solutions, delay overall time to value, and delay automation program growth.  In contrast, a dedicated support team will enable real-time monitoring, timely reactions and adjustments, efficient development, and better service for the overall mission of the automation program.

>> Series Intro – Step 1 – Step 2 – Step 3 – Step 4 – Step 5