Automation helps organisations address both sides of the change dilemma - it accelerates speed in making changes to the IT environment with the latest technology, lowers costs and makes more efficient use of resources. It helps minimise change-related risk and improves the productivity of personnel and technologies.
Along with speed, automation also increases efficiency and frees up much of the staff time currently spent on mundane, repetitive tasks. It provides the ability to ensure process consistency by enforcing standardised, best-practice processes. Consistency reduces the number of change errors that could cause outages, interrupting the delivery of critical business services. These are the key benefits of automation, a trend that is growing in importance and will especially be critical to businesses in 2012.
Recent IDC cloud research shows that worldwide revenue from public IT cloud services will reach US$55.5 billion in 2014, representing a compound annual growth rate of 27.4 percent. With such a large amount of revenue at stake, it is critical for businesses to make the most efficient use of their resources, and automation will be a large part of the solution.
Based on the trends I've seen in our customers' organisations and the marketplace, here are the top three ways that automation will drive businesses in 2012.
Streamlining workflow and driving efficiency
Automation is increasing efficiency so that people spend less time on day-to-day maintenance and more time on projects that drive revenue. The traditional approach to delivering better IT services has been to increase staff numbers, but automation means that mundane and repetitive tasks can now be handled by well-run back-end processes. The cost savings and additional resources from improved automation services will allow organisations to focus their resources on where they deliver the most value to their customers, in the shortest time possible.
Businesses in industries other than the usual suspects - heavy manufacturing and logistics - have started to see the value in automation. The maturity of customer requirements and increasingly sophisticated customer demands mean that companies now need to step up their services, and have them up and running in as little time as possible. Since the introduction of automation in IT, servers no longer need weeks to build - with the right structure in place, it is now possible to build a server within days, or even minutes. The ability to deliver services in a reduced timeframe means that businesses can now expand more rapidly than ever before, by taking on more projects in a shorter time.
Creating new business models
In the past year, we have seen an increasing number of telecommunications companies delivering infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) in addition to their bread-and-butter services to their customers. In the Philippines, we also have telecommunications companies hosting servers for provincial government applications. Companies can also now use Amazon Web services, without having to set up their own business centres.
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