The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Unemployed
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Smoke
The Lighter Side Of The Cloud – Stuff
Four Key Steps To Prepare Your IT Staff For Automation

Four Key Steps To Prepare Your IT Staff For Automation

Four Key Steps To Prepare Your IT Staff For Automation

Mind the gap between the vision of automation and the reality

Automation of IT procedures and services holds the promise of bringing tremendous efficiencies to the organization. Being able to deploy automatically, update, and repair your IT infrastructure according to approved and consistently applied procedures is key to realizing the full potential of cloud computing. Without functioning automation and orchestration procedures on the back end, all the innovation on the front end with software-as-a-service and agile, cloud-enabled applications is like trying to implement a state of the art command center supported by a bunch of frantic IT guys in the back room running on ever-accelerating treadmills.

A better long-term strategy would be to implement automation aligned with effective IT service management. This is the path you will need to navigate, but, don’t assume it’s going to be a walk in the park. Unless you tightly integrate your technology with associated processes and procedures, automation can set loose any number of devils from the details within your IT environment.

I know this from experience. Within every IT infrastructure, there are so many layers accessible by so many people with a wide range of skills and intentions that you need to approach automation very carefully.

automation

Here are four key steps you need to take to prepare your IT environment and your staff for automation:

Learn to walk before you run

  • The best way to get hands-on experience with automation is to begin with purpose-built tools that are easy to deploy, access and use. Don’t rush into the assortment of one-size-fits-all tools in the market. Without the experience, the wide array of capabilities of big tools can be overwhelming. Give yourself time to develop some understanding of what automation can do for your IT organization before you commit to a more systemic automation approach implicit in a comprehensive toolset. Start by implementing automation on a small scale, and use that direct experience to help you evaluate which capabilities you really need. Before you throw the harness over a big toolset, you need to understand strategically what you want to accomplish.

Avoid Obstacles 

  • Look for firewalls and other obstructions that could prevent automation from reaching specific areas of your IT environment. If you access a multi-tenant cloud, you have the advantage of separate environments running on shared resources, but you have also walled off each of those environments from the reach of automation. Automation has the potential to give your systems an intelligent way to respond to changing demands and capacities, but the intelligence has to come from you. Automation can’t think for itself. If you don’t tell it about the firewall, or any other impediment, the best automation script will run right into the wall.

Centralize Information

  • Look for existing processes that have built in inefficiencies. A classic example is the necessity of faxing documents for non-electronic approvals. It may be great for controls but it’s very clunky to use. If the process isn’t efficient, it isn’t going to be much improved by automation. It’s often not a technical issue. You may have a contract that requires some manual process between steps. Or you may have billing information that is isolated from the system you are automating. Automation can do a lot of things, but it can’t walk over to your accounting office and ask for data that only lives on your CFO’s laptop. You need to centralize information and have one source for the truth.

Untie The Knot

  • Look for existing controls that would conflict with automated procedures. Controls are great, but they can also be problems that need to be worked around. A good example is monitoring. You may automate a procedure for the user to turn off a Windows server, but, if you have monitoring in place, you will end up sending high-urgency alerts when the server is shut down unless you have a way to suspend monitoring as part of the automation. Basically, the left hand has to know what the right hand is trying to do, or it will have a tendency to undo it…or worse. As the scope of your automation effort expands, you have to carefully untie the knots of processes within your IT environment. Eventually, you’ll need to know everything about everything.

All these things I say with great pain because I have bumped into each one of them. Automation is an adventure. Prepare to run into the unexpected somewhere along the way.

And that’s just looking at the technical issues. Automation has to take into account all the technical complexities within your IT environment. It also has to be rolled out with a high degree of diplomacy if it is to earn the support of your IT team. Automation has the potential to free technologists and others from repetitive and/or mundane aspects of their jobs—which seems like a good thing. Eliminating aspects of what employees do for a living, however, can also make them very uneasy.

My next column will provide some guidelines to help you navigate the challenges you will encounter on your automation journey. As with any journey, setting out is not without risks, but it’s not as if you can decide to stay safe at home with the status quo. Ever increasing demands on the performance, flexibility, responsiveness, security and financial accountability of your IT environment leave you no realistic choice but to set out from wherever you are on an IT transformation journey toward the goal of a fully-realized, self-service cloud environment for your organization. It needs to be in your future.

By Brian Day

As Senior Director of Cloud Dev/Ops and Solution Development for Logicalis, Brian is responsible for managing the Logicalis Cloud and the development of new solutions.

Follow Us!

CloudTweaks

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks.com is recognized as one of the leading authorities in cloud computing information. Most of the excellent CloudTweaks articles are provided by our own paid writers, with a small percentage provided by guest authors from around the globe, including CEOs, CIOs, Technology bloggers and Cloud enthusiasts. Our goal is to continue to build a growing community offering the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more...
Follow Us!

One Response to Four Key Steps To Prepare Your IT Staff For Automation

  1. The age of automation is upon us! The capabilities of some of the latest automation technologies are incredible. Ensuring you have the right team in place will be key to ensure you’re making the most of it.

Recent

The E-Learning Market – Cloud Computing Adoption

The E-Learning Market – Cloud Computing Adoption

The E-Learning Market  We’ve talked a fair bit about e-Learning and MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) technologies here on CloudTweaks over the past number of years. The industry is expected to continue to grow at a brisk pace as more and more firms and educational institutions start to adopt cloud based services.  Docebo has an excellent…

Big Data, Business Intelligence And The Programming Language “R”

Big Data, Business Intelligence And The Programming Language “R”

Why Your Next Business Intelligence Hire Will Use R As anyone working in the field knows, business intelligence is an evolving landscape. New technologies, combined with a rapidly expanding marketplace, are disrupting legacy solutions and established platforms. Despite such growth, however, there have been a few constants, such as the R programming language. As other…

Beyond Gaming: Three Practical Applications For Oculus Rift

Beyond Gaming: Three Practical Applications For Oculus Rift

Three Practical Applications For Oculus Rift  Since the announcement of the Oculus Rift in 2012 gamers and game developers alike have been frenzied trying to both get their hands on the unit or build their own proprietary VR machine. The VR gold rush has since lead to the announcement of Project Morpheus from Sony and…

Popular

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

2014 Future Of Cloud Computing Survey Results

Engine Yard Joins North Bridge Venture Partners, Gigaom Research and Industry Collaborators to Unveil 2014 Future of Cloud Computing Survey Results SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwired – Jun 25, 2014) – Engine Yard, the leading cloud application management platform, today announced its role as a collaborator in releasing the results of the fourth annual Future of Cloud Computing Survey,…

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

Five Cloud Questions Every CIO Needs To Know How To Answer

The Hot Seat Five cloud questions every CIO needs to know how to answer The cloud is a powerful thing, but here in the CloudTweaks community, we already know that. The challenge we have is validating the value it brings to today’s enterprise. Below, let’s review five questions we need to be ready to address…

The Cloud Above Our Home

The Cloud Above Our Home

Our Home – Moving All Things Into The Cloud The promise of a smart home had excited the imagination of the movie makers long ago. If you have seen any TV shows in the nineties or before, the interpretation presented itself to us as a computerized personal assistant or a robot housekeeper. It was smart,…

The Cloud In 2015: Eight Trends To Look For

The Cloud In 2015: Eight Trends To Look For

The Cloud In 2015 For organizations of all sizes, in 2014 the cloud emerged as a critical part of the default consideration set when implementing any new application – in large part due to the cloud’s proven ability to handle data storage and processing demands in an elastic manner, improved verifiable standards around data security and…

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid: Which Cloud Is Right for Your Business?

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid: Which Cloud Is Right for Your Business?

Public vs. Private vs. Hybrid The debate surrounding the deliverability of cloud computing is coming to a close. Businesses have begun to rapidly adopt the use of cloud services, courtesy the ROI this disruptive technology brings to the table. They have finally realized they cannot afford to ignore the cloud. A Forrester study found that…

Sponsored Posts

Skin Based Technology – The Intelligent Tattoo

Skin Based Technology – The Intelligent Tattoo

The Intelligent Tattoo I’ve got you under my skin: the rise of the intelligent tattoo As the Internet of Everything expands its reach to embrace many new areas of life, the race continues to develop more robust and accessible tools. Wearables are being whittled down from clunky watches to smart clothes and wrist bands, but…

Cloud Logo Sponsors

hp Logo CityCloud-PoweredByOpenstack-Bluesquare_logo_100x100-01
cisco_logo_100x100 vmware citrix100
Site 24x7


Contributor Spotlight

Established in 2009, CloudTweaks is recognized as one of the leading influencers in cloud computing, big data and internet of things (IoT) information. Our goal is to continue to build our growing information portal, by providing the best in-depth articles, interviews, event listings, whitepapers, infographics and much more.

Branded Content Programs

Advertising