5 Areas of Your IT Job That You Should Automate Today

You don’t need to be a sci-fi fanatic to be aware that artificial intelligence and robots are about to take over the world. According to a recent McKinsey report, 45% of paid work could be automated simply by adapting already existing technology.

Bill Gates has even called for a robot tax to try to assuage the devastation they’re going to cause when they take all of our jobs.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Before the impending robot apocalypse, we can take advantage of robots to make our jobs a little easier. Here’s five parts of your job that you can begin to automate today.

 

1. Project Management

Everybody knows how energy-sapping project management can be. Long chains of emails and endless Excel spreadsheets make management fussy and inefficient. Compiling reports is dull and time-consuming and isn’t a good use of anybody’s time.

Perhaps you need to take a look at the tools that you’re using. There’s no shortage of new software designed to take the ‘man’ out of management and develop a more automated process.

  • Trello: at-a-glance boards to let you review progress and set tasks
  • Basecamp: project-based boards to review new activities, set and assign tasks
  • Asana: task-based environment for reviewing project activity

Each of these tools has handy integrations with DropBox, Google Apps and many other services that you might be using already. By implementing the right project management software you’ll be able to automate tedious tasks such as generating progress reports and organising client communications.

 

2. Backups / Maintenance

In the modern workplace, managing files, tracking versions and creating backups is essential. Gone is the need for huge data rooms and lengthy backup procedures though. If you’ve not implemented some kind of scalable cloud-based backup solution then you’re surely missing a trick.

Cloud-based hosts normally provide easy-to-use tools to automate maintenance checks and schedule backups (you can even schedule cloud backups using Google Drive). If not, you can always learn how to get your hands dirty and write your own shell scripts, cron jobs and rsync commands.

Spiceworks

Spiceworks is a fantastic — and free — tool that automates network reporting for you. It allows you to turn-on automatic alerts that’ll keep you up-to-date with the status of your infrastructure.

 

3. Admin

Tedious administrative tasks take longer than you think. If you’re not doing so already, you need to start adding automation.

Zapier / IFTTT

Doing easy tasks is a breeze with the likes of Zapier and IfThisThenThat. You could automatically create a new tasks in Todoist whenever you label an email in Gmail for example. Or schedule reminders to team members in Slack. Or even trigger a phone call to yourself!

 

4. Security

You probably don’t have the time or inclination to go marauding around your colleagues desks, just to check that they’re following your password and security policies. So how else can you ensure that staff aren’t leaving your company vulnerable to cyber attacks?

For a start, you need to make use of tools that make sure that your employees aren’t using their dog’s name as crucial passwords and then leaving them jotted down on their notepads.

  • 1Password
  • LastPass
  • KeyPass

These services allow passwords to be securely kept in a vault and shared amongst teams without the need to shout them across them across the office or otherwise reveal them to malicious onlookers.

 

5. New Employee Setup

Another big time sink for IT staff are changes in personnel. Even in a relatively small company, the process of setting up a computer and phone for new employees can quickly turn into a full-time job. You’d be a fool not to try to automate some of this process. Differences in network set-ups can make this tricky to achieve but there’s plenty of information out there to help, like this guide to automating the onboarding process on a Windows system.

There are some exciting tools out there now that are specifically designed to help manage installations, like OneGet, Boxstarter and Ninite.

 

Conclusion

The age of automation is here, but don’t be scared. There’s a whole host of creative ways to make robots do your bidding. Adding automation to your work life wherever you can will only only make you more efficient and more effective in your role.

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