How Automation Makes IT Sexy
IT holds many surprises in the years ahead, as part of our remaking of the IT organization and culture. One of these surprises will be bringing "sexy" to IT for the first time. Expect this makeover to occur in the next 10 years, and not because we are simply trying to be sexy, but rather because automation plays a key role in the transformation of IT.
Through this IT transformation, one of the many benefits that come along with the dramatic realignment is a new flair—what we could safely call sex appeal—that will emerge in the world of IT. Unlikely for sure, but it will become part of our new reality.
While many might think that IT is anything but sexy, we will shatter any long-standing biases and perceptions about that. Automation is one of the valuable initiatives and resources that will reshape the future.
Automation tools for IT, ITSM, and security have made a quantum leap in capability in the past 10 years. An ambitious team looking to implement automation 10 years ago would likely need to do a lot of custom work, including some script development or coding in order to build great automation. No more; commercial tools today have improved significantly, especially among the leading ITSM and security products. Be sure to focus on highly configurable automation tools that enable changes on-the-fly including building business rules and workflow models.
Let’s look at a few of the benefits automation can bring us and how "sexy" arrives in IT.
Speed is an important part of the new IT, and improving the daily motion of IT helps to get us there. Fast is compelling, speed is strategic, and yes, speed is sexy. Speed created within IT then becomes a powerful engine to the business. Never underestimate the benefits of raw speed. With quality and content being equal, speed wins. Speed creates precious time for the people of IT to think—to think about how we can work smarter, to think about how we can better serve our customers. To think about how we help every person in the business to do their job better every day. Fast gives us the precious time we need to consider the possibilities and to then make these improvements a reality.
Fast gives the IT organization more oxygen.
Everybody loves easy. Easy is fun, easy is fast, and easy saves us time. Easy is naturally attractive, easy makes us want to come back again. The good news is that easy is an important part of our future in IT because we recognize how making our daily work easier to perform then translates into a better and easier customer experience. Easy is an unstoppable force of good and its influence, once begun in IT, will quickly move forward until it reaches the customer and every person in this chain of actions will benefit from "easy".
The ability of an organization to provide an easy and convenient user experience is central to the success of the business. This is very much about IT as this chain of change begins in IT, at the heartbeat of the business, with a strategy to make all systems easier to use, and by beginning this chain internally, we then empower all employees with a better systems experience and then this momentum continues all the way to the experience of the customer. IT can be a leader in this regard—commit to "easy" as a design goal for the systems managed by IT today and in the future.
When we commit to innovation, our customer focus naturally grows. And when we focus on the customer, we create an engine of creative thought that spawns improvement in everything we do. Each needs the other; each provides for the other.
One of the widely underestimated benefits of automation is the wonderful consistency automation brings us. Once configured correctly, automated business rules and automated workflows perform the same way, every day, every week, every month, without fail. No bad days, no sick days, no holidays. Once in place, the automation tools are running around the clock and delivering consistently accurate results. This increases the capacity of the organization and supports scalability. We should not overlook the synergies of this consistent performance along with speed of execution and the ability to give some precious time in the day back to our people to focus on more strategic activities and planning.
Automation has the unique ability to make humanity better. This comes in many forms, including the automation of highly repetitive or routine tasks that are now performed manually in most cases. Lifting this burden from our people then allows our people to reclaim some of their day and work on new and more strategic activities. This begins a cycle of giving more focus to innovation, more focus to customers, and more focus to strategic planning and business alignment. This shift is critical to the future of IT. And this future is very much about a more proactive and a more strategic IT. Automation can bring this within our reach for the first time.
We should not and cannot stand idly by and delay pushing for big strides with automation today. The tools are up to the challenge, we know the business processes well, and in particular, the more routine and highly manual work product that occurs every day across the IT organization. But this is not just about automation for automation’s sake. Automation done well brings us immediate performance improvements and enables a shift to a more innovation and customer experience focused IT. This is only possible with the time savings and assist automation can give our good people. Automation and people working as a team—a beautiful thing to behold.
Keep the faith my friends.
Check out Kevin’s book on Amazon: The Practical Guide To World-Class IT Service Management and follow him on Twitter @kevinjsmith4IT.