4 Ways Integrating Automation Can Expedite Agility and Improve Efficiency

CIOs can accelerate productivity with these four cloud-based IT process automation techniques.

Many CIOs are being asked to do more with the same – or fewer – resources. As a result, achieving efficiency gains is more challenging than ever. But IT automation can help CIOs address the demand for greater productivity and efficiency by making IT processes less expensive, faster, and more reliable. By automating IT processes, enterprises can create consistency and predictability while freeing staff from time-consuming, error-prone activities. 

While IT automation can be a broad topic, there are four core techniques that will allow CIOs to quickly integrate automation to both rid their organization of technical debt and create a positive cycle where teams are freed from manual tasks to deliver more strategic, business-impacting work.

1. Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

Cloud computing allows enterprises to do more with less human intervention. When paired with IaC – the automated provisioning of new virtual machines, and everything below them with components, containers, and templates – IT leaders can streamline the process of provisioning and managing infrastructure for greater reliability and consistency. 
Managing systems with IaC increases consistency and repeatability while greatly reducing human error, and the downtime and problem resolution investment that comes with it. IaC allows for quick, easy, and safe IT change management through templates that simultaneously ensure regulatory, security, and other compliance policies are uniformly followed.

2. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) of Code
CI/CD of code enables the easy, efficient delivery of quality software with orchestrated pipelines that streamline automated processes. Take for example a process that moves a piece of code from a developer’s laptop to production. Taking it one step further, when paired with IaC, and server configuration as code, enterprises can build CI/CD of code, server configuration, and infrastructure. 

CI/CD of code offers several benefits to enterprises looking to maximize resources while driving innovation. Specifically, it helps optimize developer resources, reducing overall system resources, and costs. CI/CD also allows developers to autonomously try new ideas, in turn accelerating innovation. At the same time, it promotes software quality by reducing the cost of failure, decreasing iteration time, and improving continuity.

3. Automated Compliance Checks
When security is defined as code, enterprises can achieve CI/CD of security rules, thereby increasing compliance and reducing risk. Automation can ensure compliance to regulatory and security policies by automatically conducting security and audit checks on elements as they move through the system. These guardrails operate like the brakes on a car, allowing developers to move faster with the knowledge that they can operate safely. This lets them increase their speed and grow overall business agility. In addition, automated compliance checks ensure consistency while baking governance into the system.

4. Cloud Configuration Management
Cloud configuration management streamlines the provisioning of software required by applications, thereby helping with the delivery of server configuration components. Automated configuration management processes keep systems in a known, good state, reducing security issues and increasing agility. For example, when you know the state of your systems, it’s faster and easier to detect and repair any issues that may arise. This, in turn, saves troubleshooting resources while increasing customer satisfaction.

In addition, when systems are treated as replaceable,  rather than indispensable, configuration management allows every asset to be built to the same standards, meeting corporate operational, security, and regulatory criteria. IT can quickly, consistently, and repeatably provision assets, decreasing operational overhead as the ability to remove an asset from the environment and spin up a replacement becomes remarkably easy. For example, the Mongo team at a Fortune 500 manufacturer implemented automation for Mongo cluster deployment in their AWS environment. The result: a process which previously took the DB admin days was reduced to 15 minutes.

As technology becomes a business driver, IT organizations are increasingly seen as revenue contributors. As a result, they must learn how to apply IT process automation within their organization. Doing so can increase standardization, decrease time spent on tactical tasks, reduce the number of problems to resolve, and create greater agility, all of which free-up resources for strategic, bottom line-impact work.

Download the white paper, Driving Agility Through IT Process Automation to learn more.

This story, "4 Ways Integrating Automation Can Expedite Agility and Improve Efficiency" was originally published by CIO.

  
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