In basic terms, IT automation takes a manual task that an IT professional would perform and uses software to create repeatable processes to do all or part of the work without human intervention. It can be simple, like adding permissions to a new account, or complex, such as managing a virtual machine in public cloud. IT automation helps improve efficiency and reduces human errors that could otherwise provoke critical issues such as network downtime or communications failures.
As automation becomes more complex, it also can become more intelligent. Technologies like AI and machine learning help organizations speedily tackle all kinds of business problems at a scale, not possible with humans. For example, AI/ML automation solutions in cybersecurity enable security operation centers (SOCs) to prioritize large numbers of threat indicators that merit further investigation, which would otherwise slow down a team of professionals working to address the issue.
Development and operations (DevOps) professionals have seen the power of automation in developing code, testing it, deploying test infrastructure and orchestrating an end-to-end DevOps pipeline. When coupled with a continuous integration practice, automation can help detect problems earlier in the development cycle, resulting in reduced time to market and improved product quality.
A great example of the power of automation is Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is a growing trend in which cyber-physical systems, IoT, cloud computing and cognitive systems are connected to increase automation and data exchange in physical manufacturing assets. Solutions like predictive maintenance and supply chain management automation have proven beneficial by saving companies millions of dollars while improving efficiency and customer engagement.
With all these great examples of automation in action, how do organizations look past the tactical and take a strategic view?
Here’s some simple steps to help get you started:
Determine what business outcomes you want to achieve
The first step is to consider what action can be driven from your company’s data and how that data can be applied to your business goals. Determine the outcomes and measurements that matter most to your business and the sources of data that supply them.
Identify good processes to automate
Not all processes should be automated and not all processes are good processes. Take the time to review processes and policies and their dependencies. You will find that some processes are delicate and still need human intervention to derive insights. A good automation engineer understands this and knows what tasks are best for automation and can set policies accordingly.
Run proofs of concept
In some cases, you may not know which solutions will best improve your existing processes and business needs without some experimentation. The most important part of running a proof of concept is to test technologies in a setting that reflects your production environment. Be prepared to test your assumptions to determine the best path to take moving forward.
Visualize success with a data-driven approach
Use successes that arise from your proof of concepts to create visual displays that can be communicated internally. Make sure to use a data-driven approach in your storytelling to explain how operational change can be achieved to reach business goals.
Nortal is a leader in automation solutions for technology and industry. Our distinct and worldwide experience has enabled us to dig deep into business problems to architect and deploy solutions that generate business outcomes. Our mindset is innovation through technology automation.
We’ve helped clients like the Estonian government automate simple service transactions such as digital identification (eID) that helped drive a world record in their e-Census participation (66%) in 2011. Through use of the eID, Estonia saves approximately 2% of its GDP annually.
To learn more about our automation expertise and how we can help your organization take advantage of its benefits, contact us.