An Introduction to IT Automation: The How and Why

20 August 2019

An important aspect of digital transformation, IT automation is as innovative as it is necessary in today’s technological age. Effective and efficient, it’s key to organisational agility, helping to reduce costs, improve IT assets, and transform the customer experience along with a whole host of other benefits.

Ensuring the completion of large workloads without the need to make new hires, IT automation meets the demands of growing organisations with ease. By freeing up the talents and skills of employees, it allows all personnel to prioritise the important organisational tasks that require a nuanced human touch.

Here, we’ll delve into the strategic benefits of using IT automation and the kinds of processes that can be efficiently and easily automated.

A brief definition of IT automation

Sometimes referred to as infrastructure automation, IT automation is the use of software to create repeatable instructions and processes to replace or at least reduce human interaction with IT systems. Through these instructions, automation software works within the parameters of tools and frameworks to carry on a business’ tasks with little to no human intervention.

The benefits of IT automation

Automating IT processes

Cost reduction

Automation can deal with large workloads in a way that doesn’t require a workforce of equivalent size. That means an organisation can reduce the cost of making the necessary hires to complete these workloads. When organisations are looking to reduce costs wherever they can, automation can help to facilitate these savings, and with fewer errors to boot, too.

An added benefit of this cost-saving is that automation can function when you are physically incapable of managing operations, such as when you’re asleep. Automated systems simply don’t need to rest and can be configured to work day and night.

Enhanced productivity

Since the need for manual work has been eliminated, or at least reduced, IT automation improves output, while also freeing up employees to put their skills to a variety of important tasks and projects. And because turnaround time has been slashed, it allows more work to be done on a daily basis.

Greater availability

When a system goes down, the cost to an organisation can be devastating, in terms of both revenue and reputation. A high level of availability is achievable through IT automation, making things such as automated save and recovery, 24-hour system monitoring and remote communication possible. These all help to reduce network downtime significantly, and if the network does go down, recovery can be carried out in a much quicker manner and with minimal damage.

Greater reliability

IT tasks on the more repetitive side of things can sometimes be prone to errors when carried out by humans. When these duties are automated, the mistakes are eliminated, which, in a larger network that features multiple operating systems, is incredibly beneficial. It also has the added advantage of employees no longer having to carry out these tedious and mundane tasks. Additionally, the creative and innovative ways that humans can use their skills are something that automated systems simply cannot replicate.

workplace stresses

Optimised performance

The demand for IT professionals to work faster, more efficiently and through bigger workloads can pose a challenge if they fall behind. Automation avoids over-burdening employees with work while maintaining the performance demands previously asked of them.

Reduce paper documents

Going digital means you can store information without the need to print and store paper documents, and reduce the time spent having to physically locate them.

IT processes that can be automated

Provisioning

In running business systems, the infrastructure required to carry this out properly can be time-consuming and laborious to set up. Though the software used nowadays certainly makes this easier compared to physically building an infrastructure consisting of racks, boxes and cables in a data-centre, it still takes time to manually set up templates on a computer.

Automation can help here through codification, allowing for the creation of templates without the need for human involvement; an automated system can follow rules within your existing infrastructure to do the legwork for you.

Configuration management

Different applications require different settings, files, systems, ports and users. After automating provisioning, you need to be able to tell those resources what they need to do. As you gain more files and users, you’ll need a better way of recording what systems look like so you’re able to manage them effectively.

Completing the IT process

A configuration management solution can be automated in such a way that it lets developers define the infrastructure (bare metal, cloud, virtualised, containers) in a way that can be understood by everyone on your IT team.

Orchestration

The likelihood that you’re deploying a single service on a single machine is fairly slim; IT is more complex than that. It requires managing and servicing multiple apps across multiple datacentres and infrastructures. And the more complex an IT system is, the more complex managing its moving parts becomes. As a result of this complexity, there’s an increased need to combine multiple automated tasks and their configurations across groups of systems or machines. The process we just described is essentially what orchestration is.

These orchestrations can be controlled with automated solutions that allow you to keep track of them, connect them together and run more advanced, autonomous systems easily.

Application deployment

Traditionally, application deployment would involve a host of human involvement throughout the entire process. App deployment can be easily automated, allowing for a smoother process from commit and build to testing and deployment in a proven, trusted way.

As a result, efficiency and throughput are improved, while the opportunity for human error is significantly reduced.

Great customer service

IT automation makes the deployment of applications more of a certainty, can configure the necessary services from the start, and can kickstart your app deployment via a common, transparent approach that everyone on your IT staff can understand.

Security and compliance

Automation can move your security to the centre stage of your IT’s processes, defining security and compliance policies, enforcing them, and remediating issues by building them as automated steps throughout the infrastructure.

A standardised security process and workflow makes for easier compliance and auditing; it adds certainty to how everything is enforced, and it can be verified consistently.

Whatever it is, our dedicated team can effectively dispose of your old hardware. So if you’re in the process of overhauling your IT systems, visit our homepage to find out about our IT disposals services or call us today on 0333 060 2260. 


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