Windward Insights

The Last Magic Arrow in IT: Automation

Published Aug. 11, 2014
Written by Sean McDermott

Arrows hitting the center of a target

Looking back at the evolution of IT innovation in the recent past reveals a punch-list of familiar buzzwords: agility, transformation, cost-cutting, etc. The promise of IT has always been in its ability to effect genuine change in organizations — the kind of impact that translates to the bottom-line benefit (think ROI) sought by every business.

Now that these buzzwords are part of our everyday IT vocabulary, what’s left? We’ve identified and implemented all the advantages — we’ve streamlined team interaction, outsourced resources and been the catalyst for slash costs across the board. It seems like we have shot all the arrows in our quiver.

So, how do you innovate and provide services going forward? What’s the next area of influence for IT? The “Magic Arrow” has to be automation.

In the same way that the automotive industry was transformed by automation in the 80s, IT needs to be revolutionized by automation today. Automation is driving the move to the cloud, and will become the root of all “Next Gen” value propositions.

Automation will be the force behind organizations ability to streamline processes, promise faster delivery, justify appropriate staffing levels, and confirm which vendors are critical to an overall service automation strategy. It means you can confidently keep what’s essential, and jettison what is unnecessary.

The challenge now is to determine whether or not there is a right approach to automation for your organization. The answer is a qualified yes — yet it will be different for everyone. The way to approach finding that solution is consistent: begin with a solid automation strategy.

Platforms such as Windward’sAutoLaunchare tailored to help identify and implement an ideal automation strategy. These types of approaches are ideally suited for companies that recognize the advantages of automation, but lack the internal resources they can dedicate to finding the best way forward. Everyone recognizes the automation imperative, but everyone is also busy with their “day jobs”; this means working up an automation plan seldom gets past the whiteboard stage if it’s left in purely internal hands. IT organizations currently lack someone dedicated to “automation strategy,” thus help is needed to transfer “potential” energy into “kinetic” energy. Once released, the power of the automation “Magic Arrow” delivers tremendous force to the target.

Where we’ve seen real success is when customers meet with us to help lock down their automation vision, find the specific projects and processes that will best benefit from implementation, prioritize these areas and begin taking them on one at a time. That becomes our job.

To really realize and capitalize on the advantages of automation all but demands working with a capable vendor — one that can help take a hard look at what’s going to work, help plan accordingly, and then manage the automation phase-in in a way that introduces its advantages while preserving a client’s ability to focus on their core business functionality.

That’s the approach that delivers automation at its most effective, and on target.

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- Sean McDermott

  • Automation
  • Strategy
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