Automation Strategies Must Evolve To Meet Dynamic Business Needs
This article is based in part on our eBook, “The Future Is Now: Why It’s Time To Invest In Workload Automation.”
Today’s enterprises are deploying new technologies and realigning them to their business strategies. The goal for most is to improve flexibility as they navigate dynamic challenges and circumstances. This includes adapting to lockdowns and social distancing, evolving consumer expectations and supply chain uncertainty.
For most enterprises, this represents a new normal — the world is quickly changing and the organizations that can adapt the quickest are most likely to succeed.
This has many repercussions for how IT departments approach automation.
First and foremost, enterprises are increasingly dependent on digital technologies to support remote workforces, virtual services, online retail and day-to-day business operations. The digital processes underlying these services and operations need to be managed, ideally through a centralized workload automation and orchestration platform.
As a result of this growing digital dependency, businesses are relying more on DevOps to create new services and capabilities, coordinating with IT to develop long-term business goals and partnering with IT to reimagine business models. In a nutshell, the role of IT is drastically different from 10 years ago.
Second, enterprises are using automation to manage increasingly complex digital ecosystems. In a survey conducted by Dynatrace, 63% of CIOs reported that cloud complexity had surpassed the human ability to manage. Digital complexity will continue to increase as organizations implement new tools and expand their business reach. Manually managing complex systems leads to delays, technical debt and human error.
In order to meet these challenges, organizations are increasing their use of automation. A 2020 report from Deloitte found that 68% of organizations were using automation specifically in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Ernst & Young found that 41% of companies were investing in accelerating their automation — before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
But deploying the best automation and orchestration platform for your organization isn’t going to make your business more agile and adaptable. For your organization to truly embrace digital transformation, the right automation strategy needs to be in place.
Preparing An Automation Strategy That Supports A Flexible Enterprise
As mentioned, the role of IT is rapidly changing as day-to-day business operations and long-term goals come to rely more on digital infrastructure and applications. Sales teams, marketing, product engineering, even customer experience programs are relying on IT team members to manage data, cloud applications, legacy infrastructure, emerging technologies and much more.
Of course, what line-of-business partners require from IT is also rapidly changing, and continues to shift at a moment’s notice.
To meet fluid and often unpredictable business demands, IT needs to change its approach to automation.
Automation initiatives need to be approached as products that require continuous development — with iterations and expansions that fulfill new or unexpected challenges. This is called a product-over-project mindset. A project has a defined completion point that says everyone can move on to something else. By contrast, a product has a dedicated team that continuously manages, develops and iterates the product to meet new requirements. (Gartner estimates that by 2025, more than half of enterprises will have a dedicated automation group, or center of excellence, up from less than 10% in 2020.)
Making the switch to a product-over-project (PoP) mindset will help inform the type of automation software you deploy as well as best practices following implementation. This includes:
Automation software functionality under a PoP strategy includes:
- Cloud-native capabilities to support growing SaaS and IaaS requirements
- API-driven extensibility to readily orchestrate new tools and applications
- Low-code, object-oriented development so that more personnel can develop and manage automated processes
Automation best practices under a PoP strategy include:
- Aligning automation KPIs/metrics with business KPIs/metrics
- Managing stakeholder expectations to create realistic business and automation goals
- Automating unreliable, time-consuming processes (low-hanging fruit) first in order to optimize ROI — and to reduce technical debt
- Optimizing existing processes as they’re migrated into the new system in order to reduce technical debt
With the right capabilities and best practices, guided by an overall PoP strategy that is aligned with business goals, IT teams will be better positioned to shift focus and initiatives as new business challenges arise.
Learn More About Building Successful Automation Initiatives
It’s hard to predict what the business will require five years from now. Whether it’s AI for big data, IoT and edge computing, a move to colocation or a complete overhaul of your business model, your IT team needs to be prepared for almost anything.
A successful automation initiative can set you up to meet virtually any challenge in the future — from new applications to entirely new markets.
With a modern WLA platform designed for the cloud, your team can connect and interact with any digital endpoint, without relying on custom automation scripts. Monitor and manage all your automated processes from a single point of control — tie together compliance, infrastructure, testing and any application for end-to-end processes that deliver data and services directly to the end-user. Improve reliability so your operations and development teams can stop fighting fires and focus more on innovation.
Learn more about how the right workload automation strategy can help you navigate future challenges in our eBook, “The Future Is Now: Why It’s Time To Invest In Workload Automation.” We cover the latest trends in digital transformation and enterprise automation, and go deeper into how a product-over-project approach can help ensure long-term automation success.
Download our new eBook, “The Future is Now,” and learn how to use workload automation to drive your organization’s digital transformation.
About The Author
Darrell Maronde is the Senior Product Marketing Manager for Redwood’s workload automation solutions. He has more than 15 years of product marketing experience with on-prem and SaaS software, including solutions for IT and operations.