6 Pitfalls to Avoid During IT Automation

IT departments are under increasing pressure to keep up with the pace of business innovation. As data volumes rise, automation looms as a light at the end of the complex-process tunnel. The ability to leverage software, framework, and application tools to generate automated sequences based on various trigger events has become critical to the IT industry. But, it doesn’t come without its challenges. When well-executed, IT automation can increase efficiency and productivity, reduce cost, and speed time to value. However,  poorly crafted automated sequences and lack of integration between applications can make a lasting impact on application deployment and management, causing a ripple effect across the entire IT landscape.

Deploying faulty automated sequences quickly builds a backlog of errors and makes it extremely difficult to effectively manage architecture down the road. Challenges throughout the IT automation process—from planning and implementation to maintenance and repairs—range from technical to organizational. It’s crucial to pinpoint these obstacles before launching new sequences.

1-Rushing the Automation Process

Implementing DevOps and Agile methodologies is for critical future-proofing an IT infrastructure. It enables the organization to be reliable and scalable in the long run. Before kicking off a software automation project, managers need to get a bird’s-eye view of how the end result will impact every line of business to ensure that the project is broad enough to be an effective, long-term solution for the organization as a whole. Once overall objectives are established, process methodology should be selected and optimized. Developers, testers, and managers should take multiple automation tools into consideration and become highly efficient in navigating various software applications through leveraging multiple technologies and techniques on scalable platforms—from analysis to testing—prior to launching an automation project.

2-Failure to Identify Areas of High Risk

Risk mitigation is a cornerstone of enterprise IT automation. Rolling out new automated systems within a large enterprise presents multiple potential points of failure. A lack of consideration for potential risk at the outset almost always leads to pain down the road.

Software automation testers need to create a thorough execution plan that includes a list of all potential risks. Execution plans should include efforts for risk management and mitigation, ranking the threat of the risk at stake, a plan of action for unidentified risk, and risk treatment upon notification. Firewall restrictions, antivirus sequences, and other security measures should also be taken into account throughout the development of the risk execution plan. Testers should become fluent in the security of their products and highly efficient in testing the framework from one step to the next throughout the entire automation process.

3-Automating Inaccurate Sequences

Testing and vetting of processes are crucial to the success and efficiency of IT automation. It is vital that developers be attentive to critically examining details throughout the process of automating a complex sequence of events to verify that there are no overlooked morsels of information. Missing one key element or error within the sequence ensures it is endlessly duplicated until it is identified and repaired. Flawed algorithms result in repeated error, ultimately having the potential to harm the business as a whole and, in some cases, even harming customers’ reputations. Automating complex processes is incredibly time-consuming, but failing to check and double-check sequences leaves room for potentially fatal undetected errors in the future.

4-Failure to Actively Maintain Your Automation Process

Once an IT automation initiative is executed, it’s not complete. Rolling out an automated sequence isn’t a one-and-done business effort. It is necessary to actively tweak the system, develop predictive maintenance techniques that capture and combine data, and use machine learning to identify failure before it occurs. Systems should be optimally programmed to automatically trigger a maintenance request, send a notification to a technician, place an order for a replacement part, and more. It’s imperative that organizations identify how to most effectively execute system repairs, conduct proper analyses, and identify additional repairs that should be made simultaneously in order to reduce spending. Before automation deployment begins, ensure project managers compare maintenance strategies to determine optimal cost savings and identify the most efficient processes.

5-Investing in the Wrong Tools

From planning to maintenance, the wrong tools can wreak havoc on the automation process. Automation tools are used to identify and deploy a series of intricate actions that are prompted by a manual action or by trigger events previously specified in the development of the automation sequence. Failing to invest in optimized, future-forward platforms that support overall automation processes—and aren’t limited to one developer group or solving one problem—introduces the potential for easy error. Selected tools should be broad enough to impact daily activities, aid Agile initiatives, and enable teams to manage all software and application tools effectively and efficiently. Before an IT automation project is executed, teams should consider how selected tools will amplify the right processes for the organization, what benefits the organization will gain as a result of leveraging specific tools during the automation process, and how the automated software will affect the organization long term.

6-Poor Organizational Vision

In addition to technical considerations, there are also challenges in how IT automation will fit organizational processes. IT is no longer seen as a mostly independent technology business unit—now, sales, marketing, and even HR are involved. When deploying organization-wide changes such as automation, executives must take steps toward company-wide transparency and collaboration—as well as ensure alignment throughout the entire organization’s business model. Consider adopting a comprehensive, data-first culture that increases communication. The use of multiple training methods that support various learning preferences ensures all employees across all units are aligned with the organization’s overall IT architecture.

Most importantly, build your projects around the needs of your team, instead of around the tools themselves. The goal of IT automation is to streamline processes and enable the entire organization to be more productive and efficient.  Automation is meant to assist employees, not replace them.

Despite the many challenges of deploying complex automation processes to various systems and software tools within large organizations, if done correctly, automation has the potential to alleviate cross-departmental pain points and time spent on routine tasks. Effectively deployed automated systems will increase productivity, cost effectiveness, collaboration, and transparency in the long run.


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