Why IT Automation is Becoming a Business Necessity

January 24, 2017 by Todd Barr


Automation transformed factories. It gave manufacturing the ability to perform work faster, more efficiently, at higher quality. Processes became predictable. Productivity thrived. Factories that failed to automate fell behind. Automation became a business imperative.

IT departments are the modern factories powering today’s digital businesses. And just as today’s factories can’t compete without automation, automation will soon become imperative for IT organizations. Here’s why:

  1. Application delivery is fuel for growth. Today every business is a software business, regardless of whether you actually sell software. Every business depends on critical systems to engage with customers and gather data. For companies competing in the knowledge economy, IT operations is oxygen. The demands businesses place on DevOps teams will only continue to increase. We’re not going back—only forward, faster.

  2. Automation simplifies processes. Automation never sleeps. Throwing people at the problem helps companies grow, but the law of diminishing returns limits your ability to scale. Adding people adds complexity and costs.

  3. IT professionals don’t want to repeat the same tasks over and over. Just as manual work in factories is tiring, endless, and thankless—repetitive work squanders the creative energy of your best and often most highly paid people.

  4. Automation speeds the work so your people can move on to other projects. Every organization has IT infrastructure they need to modernize, but modernizing important but legacy systems manually is a time-consuming task that not all IT departments are eager to fully invest in. The best IT professionals want to work on new, engaging, strategic projects that drive the business forward.

Seek automation opportunities everywhere

Many companies have taken the first steps toward automation and are reaping the rewards. Here are a few points to consider as you start on your automation journey:

  1. Opportunities for automation likely already exist everywhere in your organization. As the amount of strategic thinking required to solve a problem decreases, opportunities for automation increase.

    Is one person repeating the same task for multiple clients or machines? Are several members of your team solving the same problems? Can those in your organization requesting the work do it themselves instead?

    Computers have always been made to do work for us. If the work involves code, the right automation tool should be able to repeat it indefinitely without human intervention.

  2. Adding people to solve a problem adds complexity, which demands tools to be simpler. Look for automation tools that use simple interfaces and simple, human-readable language that ensure processes can be replicated. The right balance of simplicity and control gives your team the ability to solve a problem once and replicate it forever.

  3. Focus your company’s most valuable resource on more strategic tasks: Innovation, deeper problem solving, driving the business forward. In the case of factories, automation often did replace workers. But IT automation isn’t just about doing more with fewer people - it means your people will be free to do more important work. It unleashes energy and creativity.

The future of automation

I originally covered this topic in my The Future of Automation blog post last year. Automation is going to change the world in a dramatic and positive way - in many ways it already has. To help navigate this rapidly changing industry, we’ve created a “future of automation” series.

In the series experts in the field of automation are going to address a variety of topics - from IT to business to innovation and everything in between. Stay tuned for more.


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Todd Barr

Former VP of Digital Demand, Red Hat. Previously, Todd was GM/SVP of Sales & Marketing for Ansible (acquired by Red Hat), Chief Marketing Officer for Alfresco Software and VP of Marketing for Bandwidth.com.

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