By Neil Kinson, Chief of Staff, Redwood Software
In the final post of this three-part series, we examine the problems that can arise from a lack of key skills. Don’t miss parts one and two, which looked at sustainability and complexity issues associated with ageing automation technology and the costs of relying on outdated workload automation (WLA), respectively.
Any company that relies on outdated automation and scheduling tools runs a plethora of different risks, some of which we’ve looked at previously. But they all face the same ultimate problem, however different in scale, sector or operation: A diminishing pool of staff with the appropriate skills for legacy automation and scheduling technology.
It’s not just that the clunky interfaces of old batch scheduling tools, for example, require significant operator training, but rather that – at a more fundamental level – they’re based on old, obtuse code and programming languages that require specialist knowledge that simply isn’t being taught anymore. These aren’t like modern tools with a simple, centralized dashboard that non-developers within the business can easily get to grips with.
As time passes and the people responsible for these tools retire, that doesn’t remove the (often vital) functions they perform for a business. Of course, replacing infrastructure and migrating to new systems is the only long-term answer, but digital transformation is a journey, not a destination. And it’s one that can take years.
In the interim, businesses need to find a way to manage these legacy tools while implementing new ones. Robust, flexible options, such as RunMyJobs® scheduling, can provide the ‘digital glue’ required to bring together siloed and outdated systems in a scalable, cost-efficient way. Bimodal IT (the phrase coined by Gartner to describe two separate but coherent styles of IT essential for digital transformation – one slow and methodical, one fast-moving and exploratory), can be more than just an aspiration – through appropriate automation it’s a reality.
Relying on outdated automation software that is itself based on ageing technologies is a recipe for disaster in the long term – but the employees that do still hold these skills remain a valuable part of your organization, for both their technical and institutional knowledge.
By using automation to bridge the technological gap, these people can still perform their jobs, putting those skills to use in a new way. And the entire organization can devote fewer resources to time-consuming activities like managing batch scheduling, and instead spend more time focusing on innovation.
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