IT automation is the process of creating software and systems to replace repeatable processes and reduce manual intervention. It accelerates the delivery of IT infrastructure and applications by automating manual processes that previously required a human touch. With IT automation, software is used to set up and repeat instructions, processes, or policies that save time and free up IT staff for more strategic work. With the rise of virtualized networks and cloud services that require rapid, complex provisioning, automation is an indispensable strategy for helping IT teams deliver services with improved speed, consistency, and security.
IT automation is a powerful tool that can scale a business, provide significant cost savings, and allow IT staff to focus on strategic rather than administrative work. A wide range of data center and cloud operations can be automated, resulting in faster operations. Thanks to automation, IT environments can scale more quickly with fewer errors and are more responsive to business needs. A fully automated environment can reduce the time to delivery for production-ready resources from weeks to less than a day.
IT automation is useful to replace time-consuming tasks and allow IT staff to keep up with the increasing scale and complexity of IT operations and cloud infrastructure. In a modern IT environment, the speed and scale of services are too much for even a large and dedicated team to manage. IT automation allows teams to operate in a setting where it’s not uncommon to need to (for example) set up and configure thousands of servers.
The potential applications of automation are nearly infinite, but some of the most common ones include:
IT automation software can perform a range of IT tasks and processes, from simple to complex. For example, automation can be used to create networking or security templates and blueprints and to configure applications and provision production-ready infrastructure.
Recent IT automation trends include the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning (two different but related technologies) to create smarter processes that deal with more unpredictable situations. These technologies are still in their early stages, but they could allow automated processes to learn and improve as they go. Automation tools themselves are also becoming more powerful, allowing IT staff to build workflows more quickly.
Increasingly, IT automation is becoming a necessity for enterprises to navigate and manage the complex modern technological landscape. It also has several concrete benefits:
Although automation has many advantages, there are a few important things to watch out for:
In all these cases, the key to avoiding problems is to be thoughtful about your IT automation strategy and deployment. Automation is a powerful tool, but it is only as good as the team that implements it.
IT automation can result in significant cost savings—in both straightforward and less obvious ways. Enterprise IT automation reduces the number of labor hours required to complete tasks, and it can increase IT staff productivity, which is what most people are thinking of when they talk about automation cost savings. But beyond that, it also ensures consistency, reduces errors (saving additional IT staff time that would normally be spent on damage control), improves resource utilization (helping to save on infrastructure costs), and even helps save on security costs by preventing costly data breaches.