Automation the Engine for Innovation

IT needs to innovate with companies moving towards digital businesses. They need to deliver applications faster then ever before. Automation is the key element that delivers the agility to IT organizations to move towards becoming a digital enterprise.

Digital transformation is still the driving force for most companies today. Every company is or is moving towards becoming a digital business.

The key to digital transformation is the application. Applications makes digital business become a reality. And the transformation towards that is a change that will affect both the application teams as the infrastructure teams.

Infrastructure needs to evolve too. It has to keep up with the demands that the applications teams, developers and applications owners, to deliver the platforms that can host any type of application that will run the business. Whatever that business might be.

Cloud is the platform that is going to deliver those IT services, but it is going to be automation that will deliver the services. Infrastructure teams need to transform towards a cloud operating model. They need to become the providers of a unified cloud experience across clouds.

Automation: the driving force behind cloud

To be able to do that you will need to implement automation systematically into the IT organization. However, implementing automation systematically within your organization is not something that happens overnight.

It typically needs an automation strategy, that can be part of the cloud strategy, that defines how you are going to implement automation within your organization.

A well-defined automation strategy included the following:

– How automation is applied within the organization;

– Processes are defined and who (people / teams) will be responsible for automation;

– What automation solutions are preferred and how they interconnect;

– Metrics defining successful automation;

– How the automation strategy relates back to business objectives within the organization.

From a automation maturity perspective we typically see 4 phases:

Phase 1: Preparing for organization-wide automation

Before you start implementing automation you need to make sure that you are operationally in control of your infrastructure. After all, if you are going to automatically adjust and deploy IT resources onto your infrastructure you need to be sure that you can track what is happening and have the ability to see what the impact is.

Things like log management, capacity management and observability / monitoring need to be in place before starting to implement automation.

Next to that the automation strategy needs to be agreed upon by all parties involved. This can be part of the broader cloud strategy, but it needs to be defined somewhere first. This way everybody within the organization knows what automation means and when it should be implemented.

Phase 2 : Automation first steps

When an infrastructure organization first start with automation it starts small. This is to gain experience and know how to automate IT services effectively. Over time more experience across teams will result in a wider adoption of automation within the organization.

Typically, basic IT services, i.e. virtual machines deployment, are the first services to get implemented. Afterwards more complex services, such as application stacks, will be automation targets. Leveraging the basic IT services to help create those.

For this phase it is normal to automate the processes as-is. Meaning to basically automate what typically is done manually.

Phase 3 : Increase speed and agility

After the teams have learned how to automate IT services and have become familiar doing it, it is time for optimization and change towards a model that helps to deliver new services faster to the consumers. Having the ability to meet the demands of platform consumers and make sure that requirements are met.

This helps in moving towards operational concepts such as infrastructure-as-code and being able to develop new services programmatically. As a result, have a more systematic approach towards delivering automation.

Phase 4 : Cost reduction

When automation has been systematically has been implemented within the organization it is then possible to get financial benefits out of automation. As automation is now fully ingrained into the organization this will lead to cost benefits.

It takes less effort and time to implement new services. And by optimizing the way of work, the infrastructure and the overall management of IT by implementing automation will have a reduction of costs.

As a result, a well-defined automation strategy will lead to a better total cost of ownership (TCO) when it comes to cloud solutions and the IT services that come with that.

Automation Leading to a Result-Driven IT organization

A well implemented automation strategy really helps towards becoming a digital business. It helps make a cloud operating model a reality and support the business in its digital transformation efforts.

As a result of implementing automation systematically within the organization you will get:

– An improvement in quality of delivered IT services;

– Increase in agility and ability to adapt to a fast to ever changing circumstances;

– Lowering cost across the entire IT organization.

Automation will deliver a future-ready IT organization that will be able to handle any change coming its way.

Posted by Editor