The direction of travel for IT infrastructure is undoubtedly - and quite rightly - towards automating as much as possible of deployment and maintenance. Automation is the driver towards real business benefits such as increased visibility, operational effectiveness and guaranteed compliance in technical operations, but like any approach it’s not a panacea. Successful approaches to automation require pragmatism rather than ideological inflexibility to really make it add value within an organisation.
Let’s be clear – your business needs automation. It doesn’t matter which vertical you operate in, if your competitors start realising the benefits before you do, this puts them at an advantage. The Google, Uber, AirBnB or Netflix of your market segment is coming, and automation is what’s helping this modern breed of companies expand relentlessly across regions at such high velocity. Some of these new breed companies will undoubtedly fail, and as we well know Uber have already landed themselves in difficulty over their bullish behaviour in the market, but one thing’s for sure – the organisations that survive will be those most able to learn and adapt at pace. In short, the old way of doing business is changing, and agility is the new order.
So, how can your business harness automation to improve operations?
- Begin to think of automation in terms of processes rather than tools. Automation is best driven by a culture of DevOps within your technical teams, where everyone is involved in putting IT processes into an automation pipeline. This can empower staff across the business to improve results and increase intelligence on how effective these processes are.
- There are a myriad of technologies and tools that can assist this process, so secondly ensure you’ve been given a clear overview of the landscape before building a strategy. Not doing so risks building your toolset around already-obsolete technology and processes.
- Cost effectiveness is in the background of any transformation, so ensure you are optimising your spend from the very beginning, and then do so continuously as your business evolves. Automation and DevOps done well can increase business performance whilst driving costs down.
Great, what’s the catch?
- It’s easy to try to automate too much too soon. Organisations must ensure that the automation is maintainable, that they can cope with automation failures, and it’s important that they have a continuous improvement feedback-loop in place to ensure those failures only happen once.
- Automation tools and processes can produce vast quantities of data, but interpreting that data and using it to make intelligent decisions can be entirely new ground. Businesses must tread carefully when designing processes to ensure that intelligence is baked-in from the beginning.
Finally, make sure you are thinking about your automation strategy now. As the pace of change accelerates, ensure your enterprise isn’t left behind and that you embrace automation to help realise your desired digital business outcomes.
Ideal – experts in platforms. Contact one of our cloud experts today to discuss how automation can help you achieve new levels of visibility, operational effectiveness and guaranteed compliance.
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