As companies around the globe look for ways to weather the rocky economy, many IT leaders are looking to optimize their budgets. But before considering cuts, leaders should take another look at optimizing their automation software.
Every enterprise tech stack contains a diverse mix of software and systems designed to handle financial and business tasks, complicated analytics and industry-specific functionality. From ERPs and legacy software to workload automation and schedulers, an organization’s tech stack is complex, requiring skilled IT resources to execute business-critical tasks.
To drive greater operational efficiency and agility, many IT leaders have implemented workload automation platforms. These platforms offer easily-realized benefits — saving the valuable time of your IT team from manual tasks while giving you the ability to create end-to-end workflows, improve visibility and control over workflows, reduce lag time in processes and more.
But for many reasons, many organizations have ended up with multiple workload automation platforms and schedulers — reducing the efficiency gains they originally sought. Now is the time to identify these duplicate systems and consolidate them into one robust, comprehensive platform. The improved productivity, efficiency and control this delivers will become your next competitive advantage.
Understanding Your Automation Footprint
With the business-critical processes that workload automation platforms run, considering a major consolidation project requires some research and planning. Identifying all the schedulers running across the departments, divisions and companies within a global organization is a major task.
Driven by mergers, different preferences of IT leaders, a lack of integrations, and function-specific requirements, organizations may have at least eight tools being used for automation, according to Gartner.
These disparate systems bring with them several key challenges — requiring multiple IT teams with different skill sets to manage each platform, incompatible processes that may not meet company standards or best practices, an inability to automate across multiple systems, and the lack of a business-wide picture of automation reach and efficacy.
Building a clear, complete picture of the current state of your automation will help you determine exactly what you can gain by consolidation — for your people, infrastructure, available resources and end results.
Selecting An Automation Solution
When evaluating which workload automation platform to consolidate your processes on, there are a number of questions to consider:
Will it support full-stack automation?
It is critical that whatever platform you choose offers the ability to automate all your enterprise applications — from legacy systems to modern platforms. You need a robust platform that can handle the processes across your current and future organization. Also validate that there are either pre-built connectors or an API adapter that can be used to connect with your current and future applications.
Would you benefit from a SaaS solution?
Choosing a cloud native platform delivers considerable benefits, especially when it comes to migration, setup and maintenance. Cloud-based solutions support automated migrations with specially-designed tools. SaaS platforms are also easier to set up, streamlining your environment and speeding up deployment. And ongoing maintenance is handled instantly with seamless updates that don’t require your IT team’s intervention.
How easy is it to create new workflows?
Look for a solution that uses a no-code/low-code approach to process creation. Using shortcuts like job steps, repeatable variables and templates are all ways to put automation into the hands of more junior IT team members so your senior staff can expand your automation initiatives.
Does it offer predictive monitoring?
Beyond an intuitive user interface, also look for features like proactive monitoring and alerting. With the ability to use predictive analytics to identify process issues before they occur, they can be remediated before impacting the business. Alerting can be set up in multiple channels so that admins are immediately notified, giving them 24/7 visibility into processes business-wide.
Are customer success services offered?
In addition to a robust feature set and an easy-to-use interface, ask about what customer success services are offered. With access to product experts that not only know automation best practices but are also invested in learning about your business, they can help provide guidance as you plan new automation initiatives and ensure you’re getting the most from new features and services.
How are migrations and onboarding handled?
The difference between a successful and unsuccessful migration can come down to the tools and the vendor resources working on it with your team. Ask about both the technology used to migrate processes as well as the strategy and support the migration team offers. Understand exactly what their team will handle and what you’re responsible for. Get a clear timeline and know the key milestones of the project.
Centralization Is the Future
This move to consolidate workload automation is endorsed by Gartner’s recent research. Gartner analysts are forecasting existing workload automation platforms will continue to evolve to align with today’s cloud infrastructure and event-driven business models.
This advanced functionality will give IT leaders more agility while reducing complexity and making automation more accessible to business users. This will help leaders achieve their digital transformation goals and better position themselves for emerging technology and business needs.
A consolidated approach is also supported by EMA, an automation industry research group. Their most recent survey from winter 2022 found that nearly 60 percent believe their organization has too many scheduling and automation tools in place. A vast majority — 80 percent — believe that their organization would be more efficient if they consolidated their existing scheduling and automation tools.
Benefits of Workload Automation Consolidation
Organizations that invest in a workload automation consolidation project realize a range of benefits, from improved efficiency and simplified management to the ability to redeploy valuable IT resources into other, more business-critical areas.
Executing a cohesive automation initiative across an organization is nearly impossible when multiple systems are being used. With no consistent processes, monitoring or reporting, there is no reliable way to get a clear picture of all your automation. Moving to a single workload automation platform gives IT leaders the ability to implement end-to-end processes, have visibility and control over all workflows and ensure all workloads are in compliance with regulations and security requirements.
Reporting across the organization is also improved, with all metrics being measured the same way and issues being identified and remediated consistently. Trends are easier to spot and IT teams aren’t spending hours correlating reporting.
Using one platform also simplifies ongoing maintenance and updates. Any issues can be handled with one vendor, with no conflicting issues or need to consult multiple support teams. Using a SaaS-based solution makes updates even more seamless, as they are rolled out without the need for hours of your team’s time to test and deploy.
When working with one workload automation vendor, organizations are able to deepen their relationship with their chosen supplier. Stronger partnerships give automation leaders the ability to invest in additional training, building skills in your in-house team. This not only benefits your organization’s ability to execute more advanced automation initiatives, it also frees up your IT team from manual tasks and allows them to focus on more impactful projects.
Investing the time and resources into consolidating your workload automation tools will help organizations realize benefits across all layers of the business. From scaling quickly with new acquisitions and having complete visibility to redeploying IT resources to more valuable projects, consolidating into one platform will deliver significant efficiencies, deeper automation capabilities and a more effective IT team.
To learn more about selecting a workload automation platform, check out our new blog about Redwood RunMyJobs.
Is it time to consolidate your workload automation? Set up a call with our team to learn more.