The Problem: Slow Turnaround Times and Frequent Interruptions
Life in operations involves being on either end of service requests. These requests can be anything including spinning up new environments, making network changes, investigating performance, deploying schema updates, opening firewall ports, change monitoring configurations, allocating storage, scaling capacity up/down, and more.
If you are making a request, you find yourself filling out tickets and waiting for someone to help you. If you are the one who fields the request, you have to drop everything, figure out what the requester wants, and then clear any red tape or other hurdles to fulfill the request. You can often find yourself on different ends of different requests, increasingly frustrated as interruptions and delays consume your day.
We all desire to eliminate as much waiting and disruption as possible. After all, I'm sure you and your colleagues want less frustration, and your employer wants improved productivity. However, we still find ourselves stuck in this inefficient way of working. Why is that?
One major hurdle is skills specialization. With the rise in the complexity of our technology stacks and operating environments, only specific folks have the knowledge or current context to do certain tasks.
Access is another significant challenge. Because of security or compliance — or a pragmatic concern that someone will make a mess — we are blocked from accessing or making modifications to specific environments or parts of the stack.
In either case, self-service is a game-changing improvement. Properly established self-service spreads the ability to take expert action and overcomes security/compliance concerns.
No more delays while waiting for a request to be turned around. Faster feedback cycles. Less need to interrupt colleagues.
Rundeck: The Runbook Automation Solution
Rundeck makes it simple and easy to create self-service Runbook Automation for Service Requests.
No more repetitive requests interrupting your flow. And then when you need something from your colleagues, no more waiting — you can do it yourself.
How it works:
- Quickly create workflows that span your existing tools, scripts, manual commands, and API calls. Use these workflows to capture the ability to execute tasks that previously only your subject matter experts could perform.
- Use Rundeck’s built-in access control features to define the fine-grained permissions determining who can run, modify, or view what jobs. Integrate with your existing AD/LDAP or SSO for authentication.
- Build “guardrails” that make it safe to handoff the execution of procedures to others using built-in features like smart option handling (defaults, constraints, pick lists, dependent options, etc.), secure key/password store, data passing between steps, log filters, notifications, error-handling, and more.
- Safely hand-off or delegate both diagnostic procedures (e.g. health checks, debug, or validation), remediation procedures (e.g. restarts, resetting connections, deploying configurations, scaling, database procedures, or other tasks), or provisioning tasks.
- Use read-only access combined with logging and notification features to give broad visibility into service request activity across your organization (managers, analysts, other teams, or anyone else who wants to be in the know).
- Rundeck’s resource model learns details about your environment from multiple sources (plugin points) so your automation can be parameterized and kept up to date, not matter how fast environments are changing.
- What kind of improvements are possible? We see success stories in the Rundeck user community of 90% quicker turnaround times (for processes where they use Rundeck vs. where they don't) and 20% increase in total productivity (for teams that have rolled out Rundeck vs. those that haven't).
- Determine a baseline by examining how you service requests are handled today (your ticket system should be a great source of information). Look at your top requests by both volume and impact. Be sure to look at both sides of the request. How much time does the person who made the request spend waiting? How much time is lost by those who field the request? (including the cost of context switching from and back to the work that was interrupted). Be sure to consider the negative ripple effects on schedules and productivity that the waiting and interruptions have on your organization.
- Determine the savings by counting how much of the time lost to waiting/delays will be regained through self-service. Also, count the time that will be saved by eliminating the interruptions that those who field the requests currently experience.
- For a more detailed look at ROI, be sure to check our our free Runbook Automation for Service Requests ROI guide.