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It is no surprise to anyone that IT is a complex world across both development and operations. As a result, many organizations have adopted some level of automation to handle everything from “point tasks” that make a single team member’s job easier… all the way up to full cross-domain workflow automation, such as deploying a cloud application to production. The goals are often speed, efficiency, consistency and accuracy in managing the necessary IT services. Automation typically results in “hours to minutes” time savings benefits, and the more jobs you automate –as well as the more times you do that specific job– the bigger the ROI and operational efficiency benefits. 

 

Automation is now mission-critical

Most companies have moved business applications and services to the hybrid or multi-cloud so they can move faster and be increasingly agile. At the same time, they grapple with skills gaps, environment complexity and the need to act fast, consistently and accurately. Now AI applications and a multitude of edge devices enter the scene, bringing with them great business benefits but also adding yet more complexity and demands on the infrastructure. It is a lot.

How can you handle all of this?  The answer is treating automation as a mission-critical capability so you can:

  • Be more agile especially in Day 2 operations
  • Do more with the same resources to meet growing demands
  • Enable everyone to act consistently and accurately regardless of whether they are experts or new to your organization
  • Minimize the “noise” of high volume routine tasks so teams are free to focus on key priorities that matter to the business
  • Excel at building and operating new AI applications 

Imagine your organization with an automation-first mindset where the normal course of business is to ask how automation can make things faster.

 

Improve agility, efficiency and ROI

While all this is happening, you still have to continually improve on efficiency and financial metrics, where Red Hat Ansible Automation platform can help. IDC has just completed a business value study which was commissioned by Red Hat. IDC interviewed decision makers at 15 companies across a variety of regions and industries, where the goal was to understand the value and impact automation has on their environments. Top level findings are summarized in the chart below and the study includes even more results and findings. At the very top level, the report has found a 668% 3-year ROI for customers using Ansible Automation Platform1.   

 

Source: IDC White Paper, sponsored by Red Hat, "The Business Value of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform", doc #US51839824, March 2024.

 

In this study, IDC concluded that customers interviewed achieved significant operational efficiencies and improvements in business agility. They found efficiency benefits for both operations and development teams, and that higher quality applications with fewer outages were the result. They concluded that businesses that can act more readily to address new and latent customer demand, which can contribute to higher revenue.   

 

Start small, think big across your automation journey

Does this all sound great? Are you wondering how you will get there? By design, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform is a highly flexible solution to handle a continuum of needs – from simple jobs to full processes and for any IT use case. Ansible Automation Platform can meet you where you are, and help you extend from there. 

We recommend a start small, think big approach to adopting automation. For example you may begin automation in a new area by gathering facts or collecting inventory.  Once you understand the basics, you can expand use cases sophistication (such as managing configurations and upgrades). You can also expand the number of automation jobs available, or scale of how many resources are targeted by an automation job.

You can become even more advanced by adding event-driven automation techniques to automate a full end-to-end response to changing IT conditions, such as automating response to web certificate errors, or reducing the number of service tickets generated through self-service or solving problems proactively. And finally, you can automate a full multi-domain workflow such as an application deployment to the cloud. All of this is what you are automating and you see in this example how you can grow from simple to sophisticated workflows.

Now let’s take a look at how you can generate this automation content. Red Hat Ansible Lightspeed helps expedite the creation of quality automation content. Teams can combine their domain expertise with human-readable YAML to create automation jobs, using generative AI to automate more of your Day 0, Day 1 and Day 2 processes faster.  

Now as you roll out automation more extensively, consider automation for your complex multicloud environment, your new AI applications and initiatives, your essential network and even your proliferating edge devices. Your teams will be equipped with the right automation to get the job done. See how Discover approached the idea of enterprise automation, saving 800,000 annualized hours in the process. 

Take key steps to expand automation

Let’s get more specific about steps along this automation journey. Below are seven different options you can choose to help advance automation and foster culture change. Pick those that work for your team.

  1. Foster a community of practice. This technique can help you expand team skills, identify new automation opportunities and generally build an “automation-first” mindset across your organization. This Automation Architect’s Handbook can help you generate ideas.  

     
  2. Move beyond simply configuration management and patching. If you are at this point, great! But think about what more can be automated. Which processes are slow, cumbersome and frustrating to your teams? Can the processes be streamlined and then codified in automation? 

     
  3. Expand in a single domain. Are you automating Red Hat Enterprise Linux management today? Which other infrastructure platforms (Windows, storage, other Linux architectures, etc.) can benefit from what you have learned and achieved? 

     
  4. Expand across domains. Let’s say you adopted Ansible Automation Platform for network automation because it is agentless and works best with your network devices. Think about the next team that can benefit, thus automating a broader workflow, for example cloud, security or infrastructure work along with network automation work. 

     
  5. Get to “as Code” and implement a single source of truth. What if you had a single repository to store your desired operational details and you were able to consistently call upon them in automation jobs? This could reduce security and compliance risks, minimize human error, control drift and more.  

     
  6. Think about compliance and security. As the volume and sophistication of attacks increase, it’s worth implementing your own operational policies. Think about ways and places you can add policy checks into your complex operation. 

     
  7. Become an event-driven automation enthusiast. This form of automation can help you reduce the scope and duration of outages, expedite ITSM processes, automatically handle routine tasks (like web link checking, or certificate management) and even address configuration drift immediately. 

These areas and more can help you make automation mission-critical so you can handle today’s hybrid cloud complexity, as well as AI-driven solutions. Ansible Automation Platform provides the flexible automation you need to deliver operational efficiency results.

 

Learn more

Interested in learning more about Ansible Automation Platform? Explore these resources:

 
 
Footnotes:

1  IDC White Paper, sponsored by Red Hat, "The Business Value of Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform", doc #US51839824, March 2024.


About the author

Cindy Russell is a Senior Principal Product Marketing Manager for Ansible Automation Platform.

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