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

August 22, 2019

Recent EMA research explored the state of ESM. One of the many conclusions is that ESM is mainstream. Fully 87% have some level of ESM deployment. Not surprisingly, there is a significant divide between mature and relatively new deployments in terms of benefits derived, use of AI and automation, adoption levels, and number of non-IT areas being served from established ITSM implementations ...

August 21, 2019

For the first time, a majority of companies are putting mission critical apps in the cloud, according to the latest report by Cloud Foundry Foundation ...

August 20, 2019

The cloud continues to transform IT in every industry. But in order to migrate to the cloud, embrace these new technologies and truly evolve their business, organizations need an underlying network that can support digital transformation ...

August 19, 2019

One common infrastructure challenge arises with virtual private networks (VPNs). VPNs have long been relied upon to deliver the network connectivity and security enterprises required at a price they could afford. Organizations still routinely turn to them to provide internal and trusted third-parties with "secure" remote access to isolated networks. However, with the rise in mobile, IoT, multi- and hybrid-cloud, as well as edge computing, traditional enterprise perimeters are extending and becoming blurred ...

August 15, 2019

The configuration management database (CMDB), along with its more federated companion, the configuration management system (CMS), has been bathed in a deluge of negative opinions from all fronts — industry experts, vendors, and IT professionals. But from what recent EMA research on analytics, ITSM performance and other areas is indicating, those negative views seem to be missing out on a real undercurrent of truth — that CMDB/CMS alignments, whatever their defects, strongly skew to success in terms of overall IT progressiveness and effectiveness ...

August 14, 2019

The on-demand economy has transformed the way we move around, eat, learn, travel and connect at a massive scale. However, with disruption and big aspirations comes big, complex challenges. To take these challenges head-on, on-demand economy companies are finding new ways to deliver their services and products to an audience with ever-increasing expectations, and that's what we'll look at in this blog ...

August 13, 2019

To thrive in today's highly competitive digital business landscape, organizations must harness their "digital DNA." In other words, they need to connect all of their systems and databases — including various business applications, devices, big data and any instances of IoT and hybrid cloud environments — so they're accessible and actionable. By integrating all existing components and new technologies, organizations can gain a comprehensive, trusted view of their business functions, thereby enabling more agile deployment processes and ensuring scalable growth and relevance over the long-term ...

August 12, 2019

Advancements in technology innovation are happening so quickly, the decision of where and when to transform can be a moving target for businesses. When done well, digital transformation improves the customer experience while optimizing operational efficiency. To get there, enterprises must encourage experimentation to overcome organizational obstacles. In other words ...

August 08, 2019

IoT adoption is growing rapidly, and respondents believe 30% of their company’s revenue two years from now will be due to IoT, according to the new IoT Signals report from Microsoft Corp ...

August 07, 2019

It's been all over the news the last few months. After two fatal crashes, Boeing was forced to ground its 737. The doomed model is now undergoing extensive testing to get it back into service and production. Large organizations often tell stakeholders that even though all software goes through extensive testing, this type of thing “just happens.” But that is exactly the problem. While the human component of application development and testing won't go away, it can be eased and supplemented by far more efficient and automated methods to proactively determine software health and identify flaws ...