Trekking through IT’s Automation Transformation

By Marc Goldner

July 26, 2021 | min

To cut through the ubiquitous noise of automation hype, let’s briefly talk at a high-level about the Information Technology (IT) infrastructure industry’s automation journey and provide applicable guidance regardless of where you may be along your unique journey.

With recent advances in automation, machine learning, data analytics, and cloud computing, we are all expected to achieve more with less. Even the most technologically savvy departments in our organizations have had challenges adapting. Almost every organization is trying to find the right balance and approach to incorporate automation in its processes. In order to get a sense of how the IT industry is thinking about automation, we surveyed 500+ IT professionals as part of the Automation Coffee chat in Nov 2020. From this survey, we gained insights into:

  • Where are practitioners today?
  • What challenges lie ahead?
  • Where is the industry headed?

Below describes the breakdown of the IT infrastructure industry’s automation journey in more detail.

Current-State of Automation

Most organizations are near the beginning of their automation transformation.

  1. 70%+ of IT departments have automated less than half of their routine tasks. As such, there is an extraordinary amount of potential savings available to IT professionals.
  2. There is a smorgasbord of tools available to drive automation. For IT generalists and admins trying to automate routine tasks, X-Play (cross-play) easily allows for “codeless” automation. Even complex application lifecycle management can be automated with Blueprints. The untapped potential of these tools could change our manual-intensive, fire-drill ridden cultures to one-click deployment and trigger-based automation notifying us of resolved issues.

Understanding automation throughout your organization today will help frame your transformation approach.

Roadblocks to Automation

Most organizations are struggling to implement their automation transformation.

  1. 40%+ of IT departments pursuing an automation strategy face age-old challenges of constrained budgets and resources. With worldwide spending on IT expected to reach an all-time high of 4 Trillion+ USD in 2021, it can be difficult to prioritize any investment beyond maintenance of the status quo.
  2. Corporate culture can be one of the biggest challenges to adopting automation, as leaders need the freedom to take risks and learn from mistakes. Furthermore, organizations need to openly discuss and pragmatically allay fears of job displacement in order to align front-line stakeholders. Automation is shifting from a luxury capability to a competitive requirement; as such, skepticism and inaction are the path to becoming a laggard.
  3. Complexity is the newest challenge introduced by the exponential growth of data and advances in automation technology. Training is paramount to avoid “Fool with a Tool” traps that can render automation ineffective or worse.

As most organizations’ challenges range from training, and complexity to just getting started, it is paramount to identify your organization’s roadblocks to accelerate your automation transformation.

Roadmap to Greater Automation

If IT departments are to shift from value preservation to value creation, it is critical to have a strategy that provides greater productivity with less resources at every level of the organization. After stakeholders buy-in to begin an automation transformation, there is debate as to where the most value-add lies. Within the next 18 months, organizations will be focused on driving a handful of major IT projects.

  1. Automation and productivity can affect everyone in the organization, minimizing manual tasks and overreliance on spreadsheets. Scaling automation begins with making automation easy for individual contributors to use as part of their day-to-day routines.
  2. As IT is becoming software-defined, upfront capital expenditures in DevOps capabilities and data center modernization will pay dividends in the long-run. Increasing complexity of infrastructure necessitates making automation easier for IT administrators to manage the lifecycle of their applications.

These multifaceted approaches reflect investment across the IT value chain. Now is the time to invest in new solutions needed for any successful IT automation strategy.

No matter where you are along your automation journey, you are likely in good company. Nutanix offers helpful automation tools for IT practitioners ranging from those who don’t know how to get started to those optimizing at scale. To learn more about Nutanix’s AIOps & Automation solutions, please check out the following resources:

You can also get hands-on experience with the Nutanix AIOps & Automation Test Drive.

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