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Automation-as-a-Service: A new way to reap the benefits of automation without building it yourself



By Hartmut Wagner

Enterprises today face intense competitive pressure. More and more industries are being disrupted, to the point where there’s a saying: “You are either being a disruptor or you are being disrupted.” To survive, you must innovate. But that’s easier said than done. Innovation takes money and resources. Where do you find them if IT is already maxed out just keeping core systems running?

The need to shift resources to innovation is driving many companies to find new ways of managing traditional IT functions. In search of efficiencies, companies are turning to automation in IT operations management (ITOM). At the same time, there’s an imperative to shift spending from CapEx to OpEx and look at new ways of consuming these ITOM functions.

These two trends are coming together in inventive ways to increase efficiency in the data center. Automation-as-a-Service is one way companies can reap the benefits of automation, but do so with a flexible, consumption-based SaaS delivery. 

Automation made easier

Imagine you have 20,000 servers, and there’s a new patch out. Instead of running a manual process to patch 20,000 servers, you simply develop a script which will then use server automation to run the patch without any manual interaction.

Or maybe a customer or an employee wants a new PC. You can automate provisioning, so that all the changes—from ordering the new PC to providing the new PC to the person—would also take place without any manual steps.

These are just a couple of the use cases in which automation can make a significant difference. And most IT organizations already have some automated processes. Where they are missing greater efficiency, however, is in connecting these isolated processes end-to-end. That’s harder to do. Now imagine that instead of buying the technology, license fees, and services you would need for this end-to-end automation, you contract with a vendor who is able to deliver the platform with the necessary licenses, along with Services that are based on clear, value-based KPIs for a monthly fee. That’s Automation-as-a-Service.

Driving greater value from software

When you think about the old approach to software, the onus has traditionally been on the customer to get value out of the technology purchase. The customer buys the software licenses and gets them implemented. Then it’s the customer’s responsibility to change their processes so that they are getting the outcome they’ve paid for. But with new consumption models, Hewlett Packard Enterprise goes in with the responsibility to provide the right set of services and products and drive the value for the customer in an agreed-upon way.

At HPE, we’ve been working with customers on new ways to consume software and pay for value, rather than just technology. We’ve derived a set of best practices based on our experience. If you’re considering Automation-as-a-Service, here is some advice for having a successful relationship with your vendor:

  • Discuss upfront how Automation-as-a-Service will work in your environment, what the delivery process looks like, and which use cases will generate value.
  • Have your vendor identify the main processes, build the platform that enables this automation, and implement the use cases.
  • Make sure there’s a governance structure with you and your vendor, with regular meetings so that you can ensure they’re aligning with the service levels and delivering the benefits that you’ve agreed upon.

We expect Automation-as-a-Service to grow as more enterprises realize they can get the efficiencies of automation in a convenient, flexible package that frees them up to innovate. If you’re interested in learning more, please take a look at our service brief for HPE Automation-as-a-Service

Hartmut Wagner is VP, WW, Automation-as-a-Service for HPE Software Services.


Related links:

HPE Cloud and Automation Services

Blog post: The next SaaS evolution: Are you ready to stop buying functionality and start buying value?

Blog post: Why automation can help IT get out of the ITIL straightjacket

Blog post: Stop making this mistake if you really want value from automation

Blog post: Goodbye, plain vanilla software services

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