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IT Automation: Why And How?

Automation has become more than a trend, it has become a necessity. For three main reasons: the integration of new technologies, the acceleration of business and IT processes and the desire to focus its efforts on operations with high added value.

The context is favorable to automation. First, the technological context. The cloud, containers and microservices promote and incentivize automation. Secondly, the economic context is forcing businesses to be more reactive and to reduce time to market in order to improve the customer experience.

Finally, organizations are finding that one of the sinews of war is innovation. Hence the migration of IT teams to high value-added operations. However, the “social” context is not favorable to businesses. Engaged in their digital transformation, they must adapt their Information System (IS) and rely on new methods and tools.

Focus on innovative projects

And, in many cases, it’s about deploying open source or Linux solutions. Hiring of this type of profile is now a priority for 83% of employers according to the report by the Linux Foundation and the Dice job site.

Developers mastering these technologies are a rare commodity. While a higher salary and better working conditions may encourage them to join (or stay) a company, the possibility of taking advantage of the latest technologies remains a decisive criterion for them.

And that’s where automation can help companies build a cutting-edge IT team. With automation, specialists can devote their efforts and talents to projects with high added value. Exit, time-consuming daily operations!

“The result of automation is scalability: less effort per person to maintain and grow your IT environment. Automation also provides the flexibility needed for continuous evolution of IT services and infrastructure,” said John Allessio, Red Hat vice president, Global Services.

If automation makes it possible to respond to different contextual issues, it is essential to focus on the different steps to be implemented. However, automation is experienced by some employees as a threat: that of seeing their workstation replaced by software or a machine.

A survey of IT professionals published in Baseline magazine showed that 7% considered automated IT tools a threat to their work.

Identify the processes to automate

To remove these doubts, the first step is to rely on different indicators highlighting what works, but also what makes teams less agile. The mere presentation of these indicators does not add anything: we must immediately move on to the advantages of automation in certain processes.

What are the benefits for the teams and for the company? Why, it helps to gain efficiency and save time? How does it represent a major cog in the digital transformation? So many questions to which precise and concrete answers should be provided.

The second necessary step is to list all the processes in order to identify those with low added value, but which monopolize a good part of the IT team’s time.

Also make sure that you are not going to automate a business or IT process that no longer makes sense!

A marathon

Then, it will be a question of setting up the first automation processes. It should start with structured and redundant tasks (virtual machine provisioning, updating, installation, deployment and reporting….); automation will lighten the workload of the IT team.

Of course, automation helps to increase efficiency. But be careful not to go too fast. Automation is an effective trigger to review existing processes. But it is important to make sure that the automation of certain tasks is carried out correctly. It’s well known: automating the wrong processes can quickly lead to chaos and destabilize the organization.

This approach should not be limited to the search for quick wins and incremental improvements. Automation must become a strategic support. It’s about creating a long-term competitive advantage. It requires centralized planning.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Believing that it is possible to switch from manual processes to tasks carried out automatically is illusory.

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