Have you wondered how IT-Automation can Eliminate tedious tasks?

So many tasks in the office space are tediously time-consuming. Have you ever wondered if it can be done better? Automation is the answer to this cry.


Does this situation sound at all familiar:
It’s a Monday. There’s a simple maintenance task in which you have to spend an hour. Maybe two. Doing exactly the same thing as the last Monday and the Monday before.

  • Maybe you’re moving, files from one place to another, deleting some, archiving others, and deleting the useless ones.
  • Maybe you’re reading reports and alerts which have the same info nearly every week, waiting until one comes through needing actioning.
  • Maybe you have to manually send an email to everyone on a list that’s 99% identical, only having to change a few minor details for each person.

Everyone feels like this some days, even if it’s just a little, even if the examples don’t reflect those tasks that make you feel this. I think everyone has hoped these tasks would be quicker. Maybe even go away. To everyone who thinks that, this article may be for you.

Did you know that the Mirror estimates that the average employee burns more than 2 hours per day on menial, non-challenging work? For a 9-to-5 grind, this is 15 weeks a year. 1/4 of their entire job.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/average-employee-wastes-three-months-16507562

If you’re looking for a versatile, all-purpose weapon against time sinks, well, let me introduce you to the world of Scripting and Automation. Don’t worry, for the non-techy we touch on PowerAutomate which is exactly for you!

So what’s all this about a Script?

What is Scripting, then? What have you heard of it? A Script is a set of clear and specific instructions you can give to a computer. So it can do simple, or repeatable tasks with incredible speed, and give complete control over the task to the Scripter.

If you think about it, all programs, apps and software really do is whatever we tell them to do. If you’ve ever heard of a program that does something that would take you hours, realise that somebody made it. Nothing’s stopping you from making something similar with a little elbow grease.

For IT, this is an invaluable tool. It lets us automatically update software. Automatically configure a computer. Automatically fix issues. A hundred tasks which would need doing daily, for every person, every computer in multiple companies. All with the same effort as doing it for one person. It lets a bit of proactive time save countless hours in the future.

I want to mention now, that while Scripting is an amazing tool, it’s not the only option, and if people without IT training would like proper entry-level tools instead of jumping into the deep end, further on in this blog, I do mention Microsoft’s Power Automate.

If you think reading a full blog about scripting is a bit too techy for you, but are interested in beginner-level ways to work on a computer a bit more quickly, here’s a blogpost on our 10 best shortcuts!

How does Scripting work, then? What does it look like?

You’re finding all of this interesting then? Well, say Hello to the World of Scripting!

So here’s the big question: How does it all work? Well, for those software Engineers reading, their minds will blur over, picturing a mountain of code. For hobbyists, it can simply look like 5 lines of text.

I’ve included below, everyone’s first experience with Scripting or Coding.
I used a free program included in every copy of Windows 10, called PowerShell ISE, and have created a simple script to write the phrase “Hello World!”, only if I asked it to, all in a single minute of work.

Could you keep up with what every line did? Not all Scripting Languages are unreadable, though if you’ve never played around with Scripting before, it can look a bit complicated.

If you can read my short script without any experience in Scripting, that’s fairly impressive!
Even one line of text can save an incredible amount of time.

While that was a great example of what everybody’s first script would look like, it doesn’t showcase the incredible potential of Scripting. Even when extremely simple, Scripts can save so much time!

Look at this one below. One line of work, and when applied automatically, can make 1000 people empty their computers’ Recycling Bins at the end of the week to save space.

Automation - Emptying the recycling bin

Interested in something a little more complicated?

While an incredible amount of short, or one-liner scripts can have unlimited potential in automating tasks, how about I show you one a good bit more complex, which I found very useful?

Below is a Script I made for a competition. Capture the Flag events are competitions for IT people to hone and test their weapons and skills for IT-Combat. One of the challenges I faced was being given a file with 15,000 people and a good bit of data about them. Then I was asked to find one person in there.

I won that challenge, but (don’t tell anyone), it didn’t go quite as perfectly as I hoped. After all the effort I put in, I pressed play, waited 20 seconds, let the Script figure out all of the hard parts, and it came up with 2 people! Pure luck meant I guessed the right one of the two, but to this day, I still haven’t found out why it came back with 2 people.

Finding 2 people in 15,000 in 20 seconds, only knowing what their favourite colour might be, and that their last name has the letter R in it. Not bad, right?

The Green parts are comments, so I can keep track of what everything does. If you can read all of this and understand it without any experience in scripting, you might already be better than me!
Oh, this took me forever. The Green parts show you the information I had to work with, and all those parts that say if show my messy attempts to figure out if each individual in those 15,000 had the 8 properties which matched the list I had.

It’s a great hobby, but should you dive into improving your company?

Scripting is a very challenging, yet fulfilling hobby. If you like the idea of a good challenge, I could offer some resources, but if you think this could save a good deal of time for you, or people you know, it may be best to get in touch with IT Specialists. This is because to an IT person, we tend to automate our own tasks, but when faced with a business problem we can help automate other business departments too!

Scripting is a great hobby, and learning to make a one-liner with a little research to save yourself a bit of time is a great way to improve yourself and how you work, but if you’re aiming at automating 2 hours of work for every employee in your company, the amount of money saved, and the scope of the project absolutely builds up.
I really would recommend getting this done professionally.

Is Scripting my only choice?

No. Not at all! Scripting can feel like a daunting mountain to people who aren’t trained in IT, and I’m not the only person who knows that.

Countless companies are aware of this, and make tools to provide the abilities that scripting provides, while cutting down the techy-side of needing to learn an entire computer language.

Power Automate

Power Automate, formerly known as Microsoft Flow is a free tool for most people with a Microsoft 365 Subscription. If you use Word or Outlook for business, chances are, you have Power Automate.

Power Automate provides near exactly what scripting provides, but is massively simpler. Instead of learning logic, and commands, it provides an easy-to-use wizard to automate tasks in over 400 services, including Excel, OneDrive, Twitter and Word.

Power Automate is an amazing tool, we have used it for a few of our clients to help improve their business workflows and automation.

I personally still have a lot to learn, and we will be writing a blog on its many use cases and power. In the meantime though below is an amazing beginner’s guide to it for those that are interested in the “Power” it can bring.

If my quick mention of Capture-the-Flag interested you, here’s a link to a blog where I mention my experience in it. If you’d like some help in setting up automation for a business you work with, please feel free to contact us on our website for a (free!) Consultation.

And if I’ve interested you in picking up Scripting as a hobby, below is an amazing video on picking up Scripting from the bare basics, with no experience.

– Thanks for reading, Dylan IT Apprentice

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