With the recent increase in cloud adoption - whether private, public or hybrid – companies are challenged with managing various cloud environments across their organization. The growth in size and scale of cloud initiatives comes with a corresponding growth in complexity, leaving IT teams perplexed about how to coordinate the delivery and management of IT services effectively, and successfully manage large-scale, complex workflows.
Cue automation. Automation has emerged as the critical step to allow organizations to realize the value promised by the cloud. But automation brings an entirely different set of questions for businesses to answer. Should you automate existing processes, or focus on developing new processes as part of your automation project? How can you successfully implement automation in your organization?
Take an Incremental Approach
When starting your automation strategy, it’s important to take an incremental approach. Consider starting with low impact and low risk environments, to reduce the risk of complications in case you come across any hiccups during implementation. This allows the organization to use manual and semi-automated processes to start, automating simple steps first, and moving onto complex steps second. Once the process is repeatable, proven and validated, then it’s safe to continue automating the process further. By standardizing processes with business and IT policies, you can ensure consistent and predictable delivery of IT services across virtual data centers and your cloud infrastructure.
It’s also important not to follow your automation roadmap to a T, and be flexible with your automation implementation. Often times, you’ll realize that a task you thought was important to automate isn’t as important as another task you discover. Organizations shouldn’t focus on automating every little task up front, as you can’t, and shouldn’t, be automating everything, but instead should focus automation efforts on tasks that provide the highest value.
Automate for Value
Focus on automating the requests you get most frequently first, and skip automating the requests you only get a couple times a year. As organizations are being asked to do more with fewer resources, employees seem to have less bandwidth to put towards strategic initiatives because they are tied down by simple tasks, many of which could benefit from automation. Organizations should focus on the 80 percent of the requests it gets repeatedly, instead of focusing on automating requests that come in once a year. By automating tasks your employees are doing regularly, your employees will gain back valuable time, that can be better spent towards tasks that will contribute to the organization’s bottom line.
With organizations looking to deploy the technology needed to support their business goals, as quickly as possible, it’s no surprise many turn to automation. Organizations are challenged with a flat set of IT resources, but a growing number of virtual machines, clouds, etc., and need to automate something in order to stay ahead of the competition. If automation is implemented slowly, flexibly, and towards tasks with the highest value, organizations will be able easily realize the full value promised by the cloud.