Many IT leaders were trying to figure out how to address the mainframe talent shortage in 2020, and the situation is still a problem in 2021. One thing that has made a difference to many of the companies we work with is automating repetitive and mundane tasks that take your DBA resources time.
Sometimes, in the rush to keep everything running smoothly, IT leaders can overlook things that are easy to do but save a significant amount of time and improve service levels. Automating tasks that a software bot can do even more effectively than a human being is one of those things.
Repetitive Tasks Can Cause Big Problems
In today’s environment, business depends on its automation tools much more than in the past. If a database driving critical business functions has a problem, the repercussions go far beyond the IT department. And, if mundane and repetitive tasks aren’t performed well, IT can end up in a situation where the users know about a problem before it does, and that’s a situation IT departments really want to avoid.
Take Oracle EBS, for example. It drives critical applications, including ERP, CRM, and Supply Chain Management. You can imagine what would happen if one of those applications was down or not operating at peak efficiency. Here are just a couple of the problems you could run into if some mundane tasks weren’t completed correctly and on a timely basis.
- Mundane Task: Monitoring concurrent managers and workflow.
- Potential Problems: User requests will slow down, and some requests will return errors.
- Mundane Task: Monitoring pending, long running, and errored tasks.
- Potential Problems: Since users often fail to monitor the successful completion of their tasks, an errored task could result in the production of an inaccurate report that may be acted on by management.
How to Use Software Bots to Automate Repetitive Tasks
A software bot is a script written to automate a task. They’re not as complex as a chatbot, for instance. All a software bot must do is automate a series of steps and present the results to the person responsible for monitoring that task.
Let’s take daily health checks as an example. It’s a fairly easy task when only one environment is involved, but when you need to monitor multiple environments, the task becomes much more complicated but not more interesting. Daily health checks are prone to human error and take valuable time away from the person who is assigned the task.
Using a software bot, a report showing the health of the system can be presented at the start of every day. Rather than hours of logging in and out of multiple systems, the task becomes a few minutes of review. And, the report can be tailored to everyone who needs to use it. One report can contain the details for system engineers and DBAs and a high-level summary for management. We helped one of our clients take a manual check from one hour to 15 minutes, saving 22.5 hours per month.
Automating Tasks Gives You the Upper Hand
There are so many benefits to automating repetitive and mundane tasks that you’ll find your department spending more time doing high-value tasks and less time simply trying to keep your systems running at peak performance. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll see:
- Catching small issues before they become big problems. For example, you can have a bot monitor the status of request sets during month-end close activities. If a problem comes up, you can fix it before everyone involved in the close ends up in your office.
- Eliminating human error. Ask anyone who has done manual checks for performance tuning, and they’ll tell you how time-consuming they are. Wading through menu trees and lists of SQLs makes this manual task prone to human error, regardless of how diligent you are.
- Receiving automated alerts or trouble tickets. In Oracle EBS, for example, monitoring concurrent managers is a complex task. But, you can use a software bot to do that for you. The bot can send you an alert or generate a trouble ticket automatically if problems are spotted.
You’ll also see global advantages. You’ll increase the service level you can provide to your users. You can also offer more challenging work to your talented staff to motivate them to stay on the job. And, you’ll make your life easier, which is sometimes an elusive goal.
Datavail provides expertise that can give you the upper hand. We’re an Oracle Partner, and we can perform Oracle EBS upgrades, help with special short-term projects, and provide managed services. We also have extensive experience helping clients set up automation for their EBS environments.
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