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Why SaaS workload automation is your secret weapon for digital transformation

By Neil Kinson, Chief of Staff, Redwood Software 

Conversations around digital transformation often focus on the front-end experiences, but the reality is that process automation is the unsung and unseen hero that does the heavy lifting needed to really keep digital businesses moving.

On the one hand, automation will become increasingly important just to keep the lights on. According to Constellation Research, 90% of what a CIO is responsible for must be automated by 2025, just to maintain existing service and staffing levels. But, in his CIO Predictions, Constellation analyst Dion Hinchliffe says automation for greater agility will also become a required component for successful digital transformation.

Workload automation in particular is critical for the delivery of digital business services.

Automated activities for IT infrastructure and operations underpin everything from stock replenishment and order fulfillment through to credit card processing.

Legacy landscape, manual mindset

But traditional workload automation software actually presents a barrier to successful digital transformation. The reality for many organizations is that these core IT processes that support the business are automated using a mixed bag of disconnected legacy workload automation and job scheduling tools - and those tools need to be connected through manual handoffs and workarounds. What's more, the average age of these tools is 24 years old, according to analyst Enterprise Management Associates (EMA).

These outdated tools also struggle with today's hybrid IT environments, which incorporate both public and private cloud as well as on-premises technologies and systems. Each new process requires a manual workaround to function with disparate applications across multiple platforms and silos.

This has a major impact on the business and customer. The costs of managing on-premises workload automation tools and the associated licensing fees can quickly spiral out of control as organizations ramp up their automation. The added complexity also increases the risk of outages and downtime that impact customer experience.

Then add in a global health pandemic, which has brought the perils of this reliance on manual effort and oversight into sharp focus: organizations can no longer rely on having people physically on-site to keep the show running.

A better way

For a digital business to be competitive, it needs workload automation technology that goes beyond the traditional capabilities of legacy automation and job scheduling tools.

IT teams need to be able to provide business process automation across multiple platforms in hybrid environments without the need for manual handoffs. They need to reduce duplication of effort and be able to reuse process definitions across multiple instances. And they need the ability to roll out automation quickly and simply whenever and wherever it is needed.

The secret weapon that provides this foundation for digital transformation is SaaS workload automation, which by its very nature is purpose-built for the cloud and for digital business processes. SaaS-based workload automation reduces manual effort by breaking hardware and systems out of the constraints of on-premises IT. Updates, patches and maintenance are all done by the service provider as part of the subscription fee. This also means it's easy to scale with minimal manual effort.

Beware SaaS imposters

Not all cloud-based workload automation technology is equal, however. Many tools are simply the same legacy on-premises workload automation tools, only lifted and shifted to the cloud. The in-house data center burden may be gone, but the tools still have the same limiting legacy architecture.

For example, new day scheduling - where activities pause at the end of every day to purge old jobs - creates delays in tasks being completed. That legacy approach isn't fit for today's 24x7 always-on businesses. And these so-called ‘cloud-ready' legacy tools still require numerous manual workarounds to connect with other systems, and have licensing models that reflect an outdated mindset.

True SaaS workload automation - natively built for the cloud - eliminates the need for all management of the application, its data, runtime, middleware, operating system, virtualization, servers, storage or networking involved in delivering a service. That means IT professionals get the reliability and scalability they need to focus on innovation without the complexity, cost and effort.

SaaS workload automation also keeps costs under control because it is designed to be scaled, with a pay-for-what-you-use model that doesn't limit the number of servers or applications to which you can connect. SaaS doesn't require installations, security management or updates. It reduces the costs and effort of much of what IT manages in an on-premises environment. This eliminates all of the infrastructure, platform and software management tasks required for on-premises, virtual machine or cloud-based IT solutions. Instead, it's all about delivering results.

As Dan Twing, president and COO of EMA, explains in the Modernize to Digitize report, workload automation that is purpose-built for SaaS has enormous benefits. He says: "SaaS WLA can deliver improved security, availability, and scalability. Let the experts on the software operate the core system for you and let your team focus on what is important to your operation. When it's delivered as-a-service, organizations achieve the greatest benefit."

Automation as a service ensures resilience and improves operational capability no matter what happens. It reduces complexity and helps elevate technology teams above the daily grind of managing IT ops resources and into more strategic roles for the future. And, crucially, it supports the digital transformation that drives improvements to the top and bottom lines of your business.

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About the Author

Neil Kinson, Chief of Staff, Redwood Software

Neil Kinson 

Neil Kinson currently holds the role of Chief of Staff at Redwood Software where he is tasked with leading a number of the company's global strategic initiatives, as well as the European business.

Before joining Redwood, Neil began his management career at Xerox where he worked for 14 years. Next he joined the EMEA leadership team at OpenText where he collaborated at the highest level with some of the largest enterprises in the region including British Telecom (BT), The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and Barclays.

Published Friday, October 23, 2020 7:38 AM by David Marshall
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