10 Surprising Ways Automation Can Simplify IT

    You’re not imagining it: IT is getting more complex. Things are moving faster, infrastructure is diversifying, and the list of critical business functions is growing. Yet most IT professionals would never guess that the answer to these challenges lies in software with roots that extend all the way back to the days of batch processing.

     “Today’s cross-platform workload automation solutions have taken job scheduling to places no one would have dreamed of even five years ago,” says Jim Manias, vice president of Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc. “These solutions far outstrip the siloed scheduling tools typically packaged with mission-critical applications and database management systems.”

    Modern workload automation is able to address both the demands and the opportunities presented by real-time data processing and distributed, virtual computing. It can also make life easier for IT staff in a world where employees are everywhere and computing assets are increasingly mobile. In this slideshow, Kaitlin Olcott, Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc., has outlined 10 unexpected ways automation can make any IT organization more agile — and less stressed.

    10 Surprising Ways Automation Can Simplify IT - slide 1

    Automation: Making IT More Agile

    Click through for 10 unexpected ways automation can make any IT organization more agile — and less stressed, as identified by Kaitlin Olcott, Advanced Systems Concepts, Inc.

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    On-Board/Off-Board Customers and Employees

    One of the most distracting routine tasks for IT staff is provisioning and/or removing new customers and company hires. Wait times can be lessened dramatically for both of these groups; new employees can be provisioned with devices, permissions, connections and app infrastructure through automation, while new customers can automatically be added to CRM systems.

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    Automate Help Desk Procedures

    Intelligent automation platforms have built-in alerting capabilities that can improve help desk performance. For example, when a job or a workflow fails, the automation solution can trigger a workflow that sends an alert to the proper individual or group and instantly creates a help desk ticket, thereby eliminating the manual handoffs that would otherwise be needed — reducing the overall time-to-resolution.

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    Dynamically Provision Virtual/Cloud Systems

    Computing resources are less expensive and more plentiful than ever before — but leveraging these resources requires sophisticated scheduling and management. An intelligent automation solution can automatically spin up virtual machines as needed to complete jobs, and then release them during idle times to eliminate waste.

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    Balance Workloads to Prevent SLA Violations

    Automation can mitigate the risk of SLA breaches and critical deadline failures via built-in monitoring that warns users when jobs are taking too long or are in danger of exceeding allotted times. When this occurs, automation will change priority levels and build fences to re-direct downstream jobs in order to ensure job success and minimize the risk of an SLA breach.

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    Support Self-Service Initiatives

    One of the advantages of modern enterprise computing is the ability to put the power in the hands of end users. Automation supports self-service by allowing business end users to initiate a process or workflow, without involving someone from IT, thereby minimizing the burden on IT’s shoulders.

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    Streamline Application Release Processes

    Managing application release processes is complex and requires a lot of orchestration between developers and operations. Modern automation solutions facilitate improved orchestration with tools like pre-built job steps, which can minimize time spent scripting and performing repetitive processes. For example, users can create a single, complex workflow that can be reused numerous times in multiple development paths or builds, instead of creating several workflows that require individual maintenance.

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    Meet the Needs of the Real-Time Business

    Many industries rely heavily on real-time calculations to manage and monitor critical functions such as inventory and pricing. Automation’s built-in capabilities to hook into APIs and other technologies enable users to generate real-time calculations of assets based on any kind of changing determinant, from foreign exchange rates to global sales.

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    Streamline Routine Reporting

    Using workload automation, IT organizations can streamline and consolidate reporting by using parameters instead of hard-coding. This advantage results in reports that are run once instead of hundreds of times. Users also gain greater visibility over workload performance in order to quickly identify potential processing bottlenecks and analyze workload processing and runtimes.

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    Automate FTP/SFTP/FTPS Processes

    Many enterprises today manage their FTP processes either manually via batch scripts or through a file transfer management tool — both of which are time-consuming and difficult to manage. Intelligent automation can easily automate FTP processes with advanced capabilities like ensuring files are fully populated before they are sent, thus preventing errors such as inadvertent transmissions of incomplete files to customers or vendors.

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    Enhance Security and Compliance

    Sarbanes-Oxley, FISMA, HIPAA, high-profile hackings — the list of imperatives for data security is long and growing. Automation solutions with auditing capabilities allow IT organizations to set policies on plans and other workflows, requiring users to enter authorizations before they can perform various operations. Such policies also provide ready-made evidence of compliance.

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