While there's a lot of debate about the merits of IT automation, most of that discussion has been held within the ranks of the IT organization.
But as businesses everywhere continue to look for ways to reduce costs, one of the things that stands out is the ongoing costs of compliance. Naturally, business leaders start to ask IT executives about what they can do to automate the compliance process. And once that starts to happen, the move to automate processes cascades out first through various layers of security and then on out to the rest of the IT processes.
In effect, this means that compliance is starting to become a major catalyst of IT process automation. A good example of this convergence showed up this week in the form of an extension to the Business Service Management platform from BMC that adds a range of governance, risk management and compliance (GRC) capabilities.
According to Daniel Trevino, senior solutions marketing manager for BMC, IT organizations are more interested in approaches to managing compliance that automatically trigger some form of remediation. That usually requires automating the controls surrounding various security and IT system processes.
Trevino says IT automation has come a long way in recent years by providing transparency into the processes that are being automated. He concedes there is still a lot of resistance to automation because many IT people fear their jobs will be eliminated by IT automation. But Trevino argues that there's plenty of higher-value IT work to go around, and that automating rote, mundane tasks can be a boon to under-staffed IT organizations that can then concentrate more of their efforts on adding real business value.
No matter how you feel about IT automation, there's going to be a lot more of it around in 2011. Some of it may be delivered in the cloud, while other processes will continue to be managed on premise. The fact of the matter is that businesses need to reduce costs, and it's always better to be the one doing the automation rather than the one being automated.