Working in Operations can sometimes feel like walking up a down escalator. The business puts relentless pressure on your team to overcome bottlenecks, accelerate the overall delivery process and grow the volume and frequency of deployments. You’re also faced with a growing number of service level requirements and demand for higher release velocity—all stretched across different platforms and increasingly complex deployment scenarios, on premise or hybrid.
The answer to these challenges is IT automation. Scaling your automation not only secures continuous service delivery, it also frees your resources to focus on core activities and industrializes more service management processes, such as self-service portals for infrastructure provisioning.
However, many organizations are still on low automation maturity levels because of various barriers, including:
- Organizational inertia
- Lack of process capability maturity
- Lack of the right technology expertise
- Mistrust and fear of getting replaced
Do you recognize some of these barriers to automate faster, better and more in your organization?
Here’s the problem: You can determine how much and where that IT automation is needed only after you understand the current state of your automation. Are you still at the manual stage (level 0), copying new release files in the production environment, adjusting parameters and restarting the application service via a management console using manually entered parameters, for example?
Are you automating repetitive tasks through scripts, but need to do all the preparation work to run the script, frequently modify the scripts and script parameters based on changing context, start scripts manually, monitor their execution individually and look at the outputs each time a script runs? If so, you are on level 1—and you can do much better than that.
Are you connecting scripts into sequences and deploying new releases using a run book automation tool (level 2), where integration with other tools in the release chain is still manual and context-specific parameters have to be set individually for each execution?
Or have you scaled the heights of process automation (level 3), where you benefit from the automated deployment of the entire process, including automated retrieval of the right parameters at the right time and in the right context triggering of automated deployments (either using commands or driving run book automation tools), confirming completion and updating records? If so, you are doing very well and can reach the last (final) maturity level by adding dynamic composition and configuration of processes based on the real-time context.
Understanding your automation status and barriers helps you decide how and where to invest in the next automation steps. Having a baseline means you can build a business case, apply goals and targets to your organization, and measure your success as you progress.
An Automation Maturity Assessment Service can be applied to create this baseline, identify gaps and provide recommendations, which result in lowering the manual effort and increasing your IT automation maturity and operational efficiency. Consultants initially review your current IT infrastructure and your software delivery processes and release management processes. Next, they perform discovery interviews to gather information on core processes relevant for automation. Services are subsequently rated in terms of their automation maturity and their potential for automation. The qualitative results are then correlated with operational measurements and KPIs to understand the impacts of low maturity on service levels and competitiveness.
The assessment might find, for example, that your development team changed its deliverable for a particular application to a Docker container, which is currently not integrated in your automation release and deployment process. Your tool already supports Docker, the assessment finds, and it can be easily integrated. The benefit to do this is assessed as ‘medium,’ while the cost is ‘low.’
Based on the results, a business case can be created or a DevOps roadmap can be crafted.
You already know the benefits of IT automation. By allowing your automation to mature, you open the door to even greater cost savings, increased efficiency and lower risk.