Automation: Improving a Dynamic Environment

IT departments are the most dynamic environments within an organization.  New technologies and demands on the infrastructure require changes to be made quickly and efficiently.  Improvements designed to automate IT environments assist in managing the risks prevalent when changes to dynamic systems have to be made manually.   Automation helps to reduce the errors that can occur, meet compliance requirements, and track costs that are difficult to maintain manually.

Many activities within the IT environment can be automated ranging from simple notifications or alerts to workload balancing.  When looking to automate a process, don’t attempt the whole process.  Sometimes, attempting to automate a single step in the process may provide too much effort, but certain aspects of each process step can be automated.  Look at the inputs to each step and how those inputs are delivered.  Can this delivery be automated?  At the other end of the process step, ask the same question for the outputs.  If multiple inputs and outputs are combined, can the combining be automated.  Starting at either end of the process step, move inwardly to identify other opportunities for automation.

The reasons for automation are varied.  The most common reason is cost savings, because the effort to make dynamic changes to the environment manually requires a large staff.  Cost savings also comes from the elimination of rework due to mistakes in manually making changes.  Automation also provides an opportunity to measure parts of the process that would be virtually impossible to measure without it.  Future process improvements are aided by automated systems.