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The following is an excerpt from my AnsibleFest keynote at Red Hat Summit today.

Organizations have been turning to Ansible for well over a decade now. I’ve spent the past few months ramping up on the automation business, talking to industry experts, meeting with our customers and working with the Ansible team. I’d like to share observations from a new “automator”:

Automation is being taken for granted

The value of automation is easy to understand; but lasting, tangible progress too often fails to materialize.

Automation seems to be one of those interesting things where people and teams assume others within their organization are doing it, so they don’t prioritize it for themselves. This is a pretty understandable phenomenon given the pace of innovation many organizations face and is only compounded by the tech silos, tool sprawl and complexity teams have to deal with.  And it is a real barrier to progress!

Ultimately - despite clearly providing benefits to individuals, teams, and enterprises - effective automation is not a given. It takes strategic commitment, organizational discipline…and the right platform.

Ansible has come a long way

From its inception, Ansible gained traction quickly-because it made automation more accessible by making it possible for domain subject matter experts say in networking, storage or security read and write playbooks-without requiring Python expertise. 

Well, that same level of ease, ubiquity and accessibility also makes Ansible shareable. For example, it helps take the knowledge of one network engineer, and make it available to every application developer in the enterprise so all applications follow the same network configuration. This shareability helps teams build real culture around automation. 

Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform represents the next logical step in that progression - making Ansible, and automation, consumable in an organizational setting across individuals and teams. Ansible Automation Platform helps businesses trust automation at scale by delivering control, security and governance.

We can now aspire to connect infrastructure, workflows and disparate tools by leveraging the Ansible ecosystem and take Day 2 ops to the next level. Our simple, powerful and agentless automation framework has indeed come a long way.

AI is a natural progression of automation

The AI era is upon us. In speaking to customers, it is clear that every organization wants to embrace AI, or at the very least minimize the disruption it might bring. 

In many ways, AI is the final stage of the automation adoption journey. In the context of enterprise IT ops, AI means machines automating processes, machines connecting infrastructure and tools to make them more efficient, and machines making decisions to improve resiliency and reduce costs.

In addition to this paradigm shift in how IT ops is conducted, nearly every tool or platform in your environment is introducing new AI capabilities. The upshot? This will provide you with vast new amounts of data, insights and intelligence. But to make it all actionable, you need to be able to orchestrate it all - and you need to be able to harness the new intelligence to optimize your stack. For any organization looking to ride the AI wave, automation is mission-critical.

The idea of a “mission-critical” mindset for automation is defined by three key themes:

  1. Aligning your teams on a unified solution that enables truly strategic automation across domains.

  2. An automation solution that is a force multiplier for your organization: Maximizing the ROI of all of the other tools you pay for, taking advantage of the insights that they generate, making them actionable and making it possible to scale the subject matter expertise of your teams across your organization.

  3. The importance of automation as the foundation of AI adoption: To meet the ever growing needs of your business, to position your teams and organization for operational success and to really be ready for AI. Organizations that fail to take automation seriously risk being left seriously behind.

Ansible Automation Platform customers like ADP, JPMorgan Chase and Southwest Airlines have pioneered the adoption of a mission-critical automation mindset to tackle operational challenges and position themselves for success in the AI era. No IT automation journey is exactly the same, but we all share the same challenges and the same belief that technology is the key to driving business forward. So let’s learn from the choices our peers have made, so we can all take advantage of the mission-critical mindset.

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