Become the "Automator," Not the "Automated"
June 23, 2017

Mark Levy
Micro Focus

Share this

"Become the Automator, Not the Automated." This is a phrase that has been used by many throughout the last several years and was first coined by Glenn O'Donnell, an analyst for Forrester Research.

While it's a simple enough phrase, it speaks directly to how today's organizations and IT teams must innovate to remain competitive. A critical aspect of innovation is acknowledging the digital transformation of businesses. The move to digitalization enables organizations to more effectively unlock the power of information technology (IT) to fuel and accelerate business innovation. It is a competitive weapon and a survival imperative. According to Forrester, by 2020, every business will become a digital predator or prey (The 2016 Guide To Digital Predators, Transformers, And Dinosaurs Benchmark: The CIO Digital Business Transformation Playbook by Nigel Fenwick, May 10, 2016). This same theory applies for those working on IT teams.

With digital transformation, IT has become the deployment pipeline that delivers digital assets to the customer. The faster IT teams can deliver these assets, the bigger the competitive edge the business has over rivals. However, it's important to note that this new role for IT is causing major changes. Organizational structures, processes, and technology are all going through a major transformation to support this "Need for Speed." Modern IT practices such as DevOps are redefining how organizations and teams are structured, and automation is redefining the types of skills and jobs needed to support the deployment pipeline. For those on IT teams, take notice and be aware of the changes as they will certainly impact your career. Understanding and embracing this change will give you a better path to future employment in this new world of IT.

The deployment pipeline is the end-to-end process of taking a business idea and delivering it as value to the customer. Long lead times, waste, and inefficiencies are obstacles to delivering at the speed the business requires. Most jobs that provide manual services within the deployment pipeline are prime candidates to be automated. Some tasks can't be automated but most tasks can and will be automated.

Losing jobs to automation is nothing new. Jobs have been lost to machines in the past, but as old jobs are destroyed, there is potential for new jobs and roles to emerge. Believe it or not, workers are more likely to benefit if they perform tasks that are complemented by automation.

For example, if you are a system administrator, learn how to design and develop the automation policies and scripts that support the deployment pipeline. If you are a quality assurance test engineer, start working with the developer to design and deliver the automated test scripts. Leverage your domain expertise by updating your skills to support the automation of IT. Automation will replace people in performing routine, codifiable tasks, however, when problem-solving skills, adaptability, and creativity are required, people will still have the advantage.

Automation also enables lower-skilled IT workers to perform complex tasks. Software delivery was once the bailiwick of highly skilled experts, however, with automation, those experts can be redeployed to create actual customer value. Lower skilled, less costly resources can be leveraged to deploy the software.

For example, one of the largest general insurers in the UK was deploying three releases a day for their main retail application. Highly paid and highly skilled Oracle DBAs and software developers were spending up to 50 percent of their time deploying releases into pre-production environments. The demand for releases kept growing and the team was reaching the point where the frequency of releases would not be manageable under the current process. To solve this problem, the IT delivery team acquired and implemented an application release automation solution and created a "single click" automated deployment which enabled release managers, and not Oracle DBAs, to perform all release deployments. In this case, automation freed up valuable development resources to focus full-time on creating customer value for the business.

The digital transformation of IT is in progress and rapidly advancing. Organizations must automate across the deployment pipeline to deliver velocity. Take the initiative, embrace this change, and accept the challenge. And remember, become the "Automator" and not the "Automated".

Mark Levy is Director of Strategy, Software Delivery, at Micro Focus
Share this

The Latest

June 25, 2019

Employees at British businesses rate computer downtime as the most significant irritant at their current workplace (41 percent) when asked to pick their top three ...

June 24, 2019

The modern enterprise network is an entirely different beast today than the network environments IT and ops teams were tasked with managing just a few years ago. With the rise of SaaS, widespread cloud migration across industries and the trend of enterprise decentralization all playing a part, the challenges IT faces in adapting their management and monitoring techniques continue to mount ...

June 20, 2019

Almost two-thirds (63%) of organizations now allow technology to be managed outside the IT department, a shift that brings both significant business advantages and increased privacy and security risks, according to the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey ...

June 19, 2019

In a post-apocalyptic world, shopping carts filled with items sit motionless in aisles, left abandoned by the humans who have mysteriously disappeared. At least that’s the cliche scene depicted by sci-fi filmmakers over the past two decades. The audience is left to wonder what happened to force people to stop what they were doing and leave everything behind. If this past weekend was any indication, Armageddon begins when Target's cash registers shut down ...

June 18, 2019

Three-quarters of organizations surveyed by Gartner increased customer experience (CX) technology investments in 2018 ...

June 17, 2019

Users today expect a more consumer-like experience and many self-service web sites are too focused on automating the submission of tickets and presenting long, technically written knowledge articles with little to no focus on UX. Understanding the need for a more modern experience, a newer concept called "self-help" now dominates the conversation in its ability to provide a more deliberate knowledge experience approach that better engages the user and dramatically improves the odds of them finding an answer ...

June 13, 2019

Establishing a digital business is top-of-mind, even more so than last year, as 91% of organizations have adopted or have plans to adopt a digital-first strategy, according to IDG Communications Digital Business Research ...

June 12, 2019

If digital transformation is to succeed at the pace enterprises demand, IT teams, the CIOs who lead them, and the boardroom must forge a far greater alignment than presently exists. That is the over-arching sentiment expressed by IT professionals in a recent survey on the state of IT infrastructure and roadblocks to digital success ...

June 11, 2019

Given the incredible amount of traffic traversing corporate WANs, it's not surprising that businesses are seeing performance issues. If anything, it's amazing applications work as well as they do ...

June 10, 2019

Are your business applications sluggish? Choppy? Prone to getting hung up or crashing at the most inopportune times? If these symptoms sound familiar, you might be suffering from the heartache of … poor application performance. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar ...