Relentless Automation

If You're Not Automating It, Ask Why

With the advent of public cloud and all of its promise, along with the ripple effect from the DevOps mantra of “automate everywhere”, technology teams must now be able to spin up new infrastructure, maintain configurations, and set up and tear down environments much faster than ever before.

And while not every activity warrants automation – whether due to the complexity and nuance of the task, or its infrequent occurrence – Relentless Automation means identifying those tasks and processes where the benefits of automation outweigh both its upfront and recurring costs. Some of those benefits include:

  • Liberating staff from mundane tasks for higher value work
  • Reducing errors and process variability
  • Improving audit trail and lowering risks
  • Increasing speed of execution

A Guide to: Relentless Automation

Look inside our eBook for a detailed look at how automation can be deployed across key zones in your environment to improve speed, cost, and efficiency.

Download here

Automation Challenges

According to a recent study of enterprise Infrastructure & Ops leaders, automation is still not a high priority.  Fifty-four percent of respondents said they’re not automating continuous configuration management, while 49% were not applying automation to network management.  More surprising, 40% were not fully automating incident response, and 37% not fully automating scripts across their infrastructure.

The reasons why automation is both behind, and difficult to pull off, can be explained by a chain of attributes describing the typical large enterprise IT department.

Relentless Automation Defined

We identified five zones where relentless automation must apply, each including a continuum of task automation up to service orchestration. Each category is further comprised of components that deliver domain-specific services through automation.

Enterprise Cloud Infrastructure & DevOps Use of rules-based automation to provision infrastructure faster and more efficiently from a resource pool, plus the use of automation to align the Dev and Ops pipelines and support more continuous development on your infrastructure across public and private.

  • Environment provisioning and configuration management
  • DevOps pipeline automation and integration
  • Cloud services enablement and delivery

Monitoring & Operations Use of automation to improve general IT hygiene, for instance, reclaiming resources from development after a batch process or auto-scaling event has completed, or automatically deploying the most recent patches the next time a resource gets deployed for a developer.

  • Alert response, i.e. security patching
  • Incident identification, i.e. application performance
  • Logging remediation, i.e. server reboots

Workflow & Governance Use automation to ensure changes are audited, and services ranging from incident routing and response, to aspects of demand management and prioritization are supported by automation where possible.

  • Standard change approvals
  • CMDB adoption
  • Cost management

The AHEAD Approach

At AHEAD, we have a proven, structured process for identifying and implementing automation across key zones in your environment. The below is just an high-level introduction to this approach.

Establish a Vision

  • Understand existing pain points and relevant business initiatives.
  • Identify and correlate initiatives to IT capabilities including speed, cost, and quality with a focus on opportunities to automate critical services.

Map Requests and Workflows

  • Use AHEAD’s Relentless Automation taxonomy to chart existing automation capabilities.
  • Determine the high value areas within which to launch an automation journey.
  • Establish the current status along the automation maturity model to help determine next steps.

Define Gaps and Opportunities

  • Identify opportunities for technical investments, documenting any necessary foundational services.
  • Chart existing tools to integrate and identify gaps that need remediation.
  • Create a roadmap for developing initial services, each of which to be measured with a baseline metric.

Assemble Automation Team

  • Conduct a ‘formation’ sprint to align on tooling, coding practices, conduct value stream mapping and identify skills amongst the members.
  • Send work to focused teams based on the automation type, taking advantage of skills, scope and service frameworks.

Accelerate Automation

  • At the core of your automation strategy, establish an executive mandate, backed by clearly defined business goals.
  • Large, complex enterprises should consider establishing an Automation Center of Excellence with representation from across the three automation zones.

Five Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Where are you experiencing business issues as a result of a lack of automation?
  2. What is preventing your organization from automating more?
  3. Do you have the right foundation of standards, people, and process on which to automate? If not, why?
  4. What is your approach to managing Infrastructure as Code?
  5. Catalog your progress, potential, and barriers that you’re experiencing in these automation zones: infrastructure/system automation, operations, application development, service delivery, enterprise service management

Better Together

AHEAD partners with 60 technology providers, all geared toward optimizing the enterprise cloud.

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