Automation is often mentioned in conjunction with efficiency. Common thinking is that automating something makes a process more efficient, whether it’s how people perform their jobs, processes and procedures, or a whole company and its day-to-day operations. But automation should also be linked with another term: simplicity.
Technology has played an enormous role in simplifying people's work, improving how procedures generate the desired results, and innovating how a company operates. In the context of information technology, this increasingly implies simplifying ever-more-complex systems and settings. Automation is critical to keeping things as simple as possible when both internal business environments and the world (think of the COVID-19 pandemic) have become increasingly complex.
As such, IT executives and practitioners are highly focused on automation and how it can benefit and improve business practices. Keep reading as we dive into just a few of the ways that automation can simplify how people, processes, and tools work.
To put it simply, 2020 was a challenging year for many people and organizations as we adjusted to remote working and learning, social distancing, and much more. But, these challenges have undoubtedly driven automation initiatives in the past year and will only continue to accelerate them. There will be a significant effort to implement automation to reduce complexity wherever possible - to both meet the ongoing reality of remote work and the continuing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. And lastly, because IT is inherently more complicated than ever before.
Taking a page from the Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) playbook, 2021 is about decreasing complexity rather than just shifting it from one stack to another, emphasizing simplicity, repeatability, and automation. There is no point to enduring unnecessary complications and the blood, sweat, and tears that go along with it.
With all of this complexity and uncertainty, new technologies and ways of working will have to be deployed to meet these challenges. And along with that will be the need for the simplification of operational processes such as how to deploy, how to roll back when there is an issue, and how to validate and observe for continuous improvement.
Emphasis on Orchestration
2021 has become the year of automated workflow orchestration, meaning, the automated configuration, management, and coordination of computer systems, applications, and service.
Automation and orchestration are concepts that are distinct from each other but are still related. The former increases the efficiency of your company by minimizing or eliminating human contact with IT systems and instead utilizing software to execute activities to minimize cost, complexity, and mistakes. Orchestration is a higher-level function that is intended to make choices depending on changing circumstances and needs.
Expansion of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Use
The buzz around the use of software bots to execute specific rule-driven, computer-based activities - or RPA - will not be going away any time soon. RPA and other types of process automation will continue to pique the attention of executives throughout organizations and will likely be joined by overlapping or complementary technologies that will augment RPA's fundamental capabilities.
What We’ve Learned from Painful Automation Lessons
While automation processes will ultimately benefit businesses, there have been some tough lessons, especially around pandemic-fueled initiatives. The pandemic became a driving force for many automation initiatives in IT and throughout corporate processes and operations, which was good for some groups, but may have introduced new challenges for others that were harder to overcome.
Additionally, most types of automation do not enhance processes on their own but instead assist them in running faster and more often. If the fundamental process is broken, automation will not solve that and could make things worse (making a flawed process work faster is not necessarily a good thing). We will likely see an automation gap between companies that recognized this before starting a large-scale automation project and others that will learn the hard way.
The capacity to streamline business complexity, ensure employee flexibility, and automate processes to improve efficiency will be essential for success in the remaining months of 2021 and beyond. Increased simplicity, better orchestration, and the expansion of different automation tools will serve to enhance business processes and keep them competitive.
If you’re curious about how automation could benefit your business, reach out to Everestek. We help businesses create, modernize, and accelerate digital initiatives. Our automation services include automating builds, tests, deployments, scaling up in the cloud and even monitoring your application so that you’re proactively aware of any issues. We take every effort to automate even the smallest task possible and every software piece we deliver is automated end to end using well known CI/CD frameworks which gives complete visibility into the process.