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A leading Spanish bank was having problems adopting automation across the breadth of its IT portfolio. Partnering with Red Hat Consulting and Intel, the bank initiated a program to redefine its automation practice, focusing on common business objectives and cultural transformation. By prioritizing use cases aligned with strategic goals and fostering collaboration and learning, the bank aimed to accelerate adoption while maintaining alignment with business objectives around productivity and cost savings as well as other strategic imperatives.

Automation practice faces departmental barriers

Over the past 4 years, the bank worked with their outsourcing provider and successfully implemented server, networking and security automation across their data centers that were built with Intel hardware. Adoption was not widespread, however, as teams were fragmented and a lack of coordination inhibited the platform’s ability to meet rapidly evolving needs.

As automation crosses the traditional boundaries of departments and functions, gaining consensus on how to move forward was easier said than done as each department had their own goals. To achieve widespread automation, they realized they would have to rethink their automation strategy and practices at the highest level.

Red Hat Consulting and Intel collaborated with the bank to define and drive their automation strategy and helped them to execute it.

Start with the end in mind: Strategic and business objectives

Red Hat Consulting teams and key participants from the business, infrastructure, architecture, operations, security and networking teams spent the initial sessions focusing on the common objectives that spanned not only defining use cases for a minimum viable product (MVP) but also cultural and organizational themes:

  • Ease collaboration between infrastructure and platform teams by introducing a common automation framework.
  • Introduced modern ways of working that could also lead to an increased control over the infrastructure, security and comms teams, improving the quality of life of the teams maintaining it.
  • Enable and empower infrastructure and platform teams to walk the path of automation and continuous improvement on their own.
  • Make sure there are auditing capabilities (visibility and traceability) on configuration changes made to relevant systems.
  • Provide a model to manage end-to-end processes through task delegation between teams in a way that will help reduce errors, time and human interactions.

By doing this, the participants were able to focus on shared goals before diving into the details of which use cases were most important for achieving widespread adoption and cross-functional agility. This also allowed for prioritization across the use cases based on the business objectives.

Top 3 use cases for the MVP

The cross-departmental team listed and prioritized  needs, use cases and initiatives for an initial MVP by using the MoSCoW method of prioritization (Must have, Should have, Could have and Will not have). After much debate, they agreed that the following use cases would be the most critical in order to meet their business objectives while covering automation needs in their infrastructure.

  1. Device automation
  2. Network automation
  3. Cloud automation

They also evaluated how each of these use cases addressed the defined business objectives to make sure there was a clear link between project scope and strategic objectives

Accelerating adoption with a community of practice

After prioritizing automation use cases, the team needed to address community development issues, such as creating a new operating model and  embracing a culture of collaboration and empowerment.

To do this, the team decided to develop a community of practice to help foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement. Automation teams from different departments will contribute to and learn from this community of practice, helping the different teams work together and break down the silos of the past.

  • Shared knowledge: Best practices and experience
  • Collaboration: Joint project and common challenges
  • Continuous learning: Skill development and latest updates
  • Shared identity: Purpose and mission

Connecting the dots: From strategic objective to technology enablers

By embracing the latest capabilities of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform, such as  Event-Driven Ansible, GitOps, network and security automation, Intel's Server Information Retrieval Utility and Intel’s Xeon latest generation of scalable processors, the bank will be able to retrieve information from servers and tune performance to achieve higher scalability across their application and infrastructure platform.

Going forward, the team seeks to apply the “Diffusion of Innovations” theory to apply insights to its automation practice. From customized communication, to showcasing pilot success and adapting to industry trends, different approaches will be critical to the future adoption of these technologies to meet the bank's strategic objectives.

Widespread adoption of automation can have a significant impact on the bank’s bottom line by improving productivity and helping drive cost savings.

Learn more about how other banks have achieved similar success and how Red Hat Consulting services can help your organization get the most out of IT automation.

About the author

Richard is the Tech Sales leader for Spain and Portugal and has been with Red Hat since 2016. He manages a team of presales professionals working closely with sales teams, marketing, product management, partners, consulting services and support focusing on customer success. Prior to Red Hat, Richard held different roles in presales, business value management and consulting for software vendors and system integrators across Europe. Originally from the US, he possesses an MBA from the University of Washington and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

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