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3 success factors you need for automation

MichaelGarrett on ‎02-27-2014 03:00 AM

michael-garrett2.jpgI was talking with a customer the other day about a technology implementation that would save them considerable time and money: automation. But whenever they would present to the technical staff the comment that kept coming back was ‘Well, the problem with that is …’


To me this is a great quote, because it shows you the barriers that get put up, especially around automation projects. It almost doesn’t matter what ‘the problem’ is: ‘Our environment is different…’ or ‘We don’t do things that way…’ When it comes to automation, resistance can be significant.


But automation brings so many benefits—for one thing, the returns are huge—it’s almost a magic story. The question is, why are some IT organisations slow to implement it? From what I see as head of HP Software Professional Services, customers do understand the value, and many are pursuing automation projects. But they may be missing a key success factor.


Benefits of automation

Automation is essentially a foundation for IaaS cloud. Many of our customers are implementing server automation and operations orchestration—two technology areas that can give you massive reduction in time to value. The time it takes to go from saying ‘I need a server’ to having one be available has gone from several weeks to hours. They’re seeing phenomenal results in terms of:


  • Standardization
  • Cost reduction
  • Agility to respond to business demands


But automation often gets treated simply as a technology issue. And if you treat it as just a set of technology, the people who implement that technology can become barriers. You sometimes find  a ‘hero mentality’ in IT, where IT prides itself on saving the day yet again due to some last-minute, hand-crafted solution. Automation can feel threatening to IT for this reason. Yet the hero mentality can hold your business back from becoming more efficient and implementing truly innovative ways of operating.


3 elements of your automation strategy

Standardization, cost savings and agility are all real benefits. But they need to be part of a strategic direction for an organisation. When we work with customers, we shift the conversation around automation so that it goes from being purely about technology to the strategic opportunity from a business point of view. The CIOs and executives who understand the value automation can deliver consciously put a strategic program around it. Then they’re able to go and execute—and that’s when they can reap significant benefits.


To put together your strategic program, ask yourself:

  • In what way will this automation initiative improve our business?
  • How am I going to drive the change?
  • What can we focus on next after the automation is in place (for instance, innovation)?

We’ve had a lot of experience helping customers through technology transformations. People don’t mind driving a change if they know what it will mean for them in the end. But if that’s not clear, then they become barriers to change. So from the beginning you need to be absolutely clear about the strategy and the opportunities: It’s going to save this much time, it will save this many people, and here is what we’re going to do with them. Part of that might be a people impact. But you’ve got to be clear about the strategy and the opportunity, otherwise you won’t be able to bring people on the journey. You can read more about automation in this business white paper, ‘From futile to agile.’


Learn more about HP Software Professional Services.


Related links:

Blog post: 6 months after your software project is finished, will this mistake come back to haunt you?

Blog post: The top 3 conversations from HP Discover

Blog post: 3 key factors for successful software adoption

Blog post: You want to implement out of the box? Here’s how

Blog post: Are you setting your IT transformation up for success?

Blog post: 3 challenges that can keep you from maximising cloud benefits

Blog post: How vendor management can bring cloud success

About the Author


on ‎03-09-2014 03:30 PM

With the shift in the use of technology focused more on Speed and Agility the real Hero will be the provider that can meet the demand with quality and consistency.  IT will be left behind as the loser instead of the hero if they don't Automate Tasks, Orchestrate Processes and Transform the way they deliver services.  It is time for Automation to take a front seat in IT's strategic plan to drive and maintain their customer's  systems of record and support their users  of systems of engagement.

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