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Five Surprising Ways Automation Can Help Your Enterprise

Article Written by Jim Manias, Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc.

When people think of the word "automation", they picture late-night cron jobs, bulk data transfer or other routine tasks, with no visible benefit to the average employee on a daily basis. While automation can perform those use cases with ease, there are a myriad of other tasks that can be handled by automation, proving to be visibly beneficial for the end-user. Automation can improve the productivity of not only the IT department, but the organization as a whole by taking on complex or cumbersome tasks and efficiently completing the work. This frees up more time for the organization's employees to do what they do best and take drudgery out of their day. 

Automate Your Cloud

The phrase "cloud computing" is somewhat of a misnomer. While it is meant to represent a dynamic network of computing resources with its internals obfuscated to the end-user, much of the provisioning changes are performed by humans. Once there isn't any more work to do, the cloud resources remain until they are removed, continuing to cost the organization money. The same goes for virtual machines - they are indeed virtual, but they do take up storage and processing resources until they are removed. Rather than let these excess resources burn money, it is best to use an intelligent automation solution to spin up these resources only when necessary. By utilizing automation, tasks that require virtual or cloud systems will trigger these resources to be spun up, only to spin them down upon completion.

Make Life Easier For DevOps

In today's business world, it is crucial that DevOps be agile, calm and effective at writing code. Workload automation tools can help them fulfill those three aspects while increasing productivity to boot. For instance, automation can help shorten application release cycles by providing developers pre-written job step templates, along with reference plans to reduce time that would otherwise be spent scripting oft-repeated tasks. With the effective use of automation, DevOps processes can be streamlined, collaboration increased and stress reduced. A singular complex workflow can be created that can be modified, reused and re-purposed for QA, development and production environments, rather than creating specific custom workflows.

Turn Your Business User Into a Power User

The end-user is probably the least likely person to traditionally use automation, often due to unfamiliarity with the subject. By allowing the end-user to start a workflow or other process, IT personnel do not have to become involved, saving time and effort for other tasks and improving IT service levels for the organization all-around. This also allows the business end-user to be more independent and not spend time waiting for someone from IT to arrive.

Make Big Data Work For You

Efficiently utilizing big data and Analytics can be challenging at times, even for the most seasoned data scientist. Automation takes some of the guesswork out of the equation by reliably executing the complex workflows that are required to parse structured and unstructured data. The other big advantage is that workload automation suites often include a centralized viewpoint for processes and workflows, providing the organization with a global view of big data constraints, dependencies and statistics.

Organize And Manage Your Scripts

While the goal of workload automation is to reduce the need for custom scripts, there are still use cases where customization is beneficial. In order to protect past and current investments in custom scripts, automation can be used for script management. Workload automation suites often include functionality for a central library that provides script life-cycle management, vaulting, revision tracking, storage and other features for increased reliability of workloads.

Automation isn't for late-night tasks, repetitive work and soulless machines. Automation can be used to make the life of the average business end-user easier, no matter whether they are in DevOps, Accounting, HR or other departments. The strategic use of workload automation suites can save cloud computing resources, take big guesswork out of big data, manage scripts, reduce stress for DevOps and increase the productivity for the business end-user.

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About the Author

Jim Manias is Vice President at Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc.  and is responsible for the overall market strategy and planning for a range of products including ActiveBatch Workload Automation and Job Scheduling.  Jim has been with Advanced Systems Concepts since 1991 and has held multiple senior management positions in the enterprise software and hardware market.  Jim can be reached at JManias@advsyscon.com 

Published Wednesday, September 09, 2015 7:01 AM by David Marshall
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