Reduced time to automate compared to past solutions
Once all WWT’s IT departments were unified under a single automation solution, as opposed to a collection of products, Hull began seeing not-so-surprising results. “We were used to automating 10 processes a month, which isn’t much. Eighteen months later, we’re seeing 900 processes automated per week.” Ansible Content Collections have been crucial to WWT’s automation efforts. It allows the team to create solutions within OEM modules without deploying a product update, and it helps showcase the platform to potential clients in the Advanced Technology Center.
Like many of its clients, WWT transitioned from a conventional IT model to one that took advantage of cloud technology. Using Ansible Automation Platform helped it to optimize that shift, and reduced time spent on troubleshooting. “Ansible Automation Platform is a tool that helps you scale up the cloud without having to forklift an IT organization completely, or outsource it,” said Hull. “People in network operations aren’t as familiar with cloud scale, and getting them in the ‘Ansible’ mindset enables them to see the elastic capacity of how cloud development works. You upskill your teams, so they are enabled to deliver that cloud scale and do so in a way that meets with your clients’ expectations.”
A major contributor to WWT’s success with Ansible Automation Platform was its use of the Red Hat Partner Training Portal, which it has been able to easily access through Red Hat Partner Connect. “It helped everyone overcome their fear of learning a new platform,” said Hull. “People came away feeling empowered.” More than 50 WWT employees have since become accredited as Red Hat IT Automation and Management Sales Specialists or accredited Red Hat Automation Sales Engineer Specialists, which has been a benefit not only to WWT but also to its clients looking at Red Hat solutions.
Improved working environment for IT staff by eliminating manual work
One of the most common complaints from IT team members was that they were often needed on days off, or had to stay late to fix repetitive problems. Once Ansible Automation Platform was in place system-wide, the complaints stopped. “Those nagging jobs that could be automated with Ansible Automation Platform were, so no one had to worry about them anymore,” said Hull. “It made our jobs more enjoyable.”
“From a business standpoint, if you look at the evolution of where we are today, Ansible Automation Platform allows us to do more with less and go faster without making errors. Change at a whim, scale at a whim,” said Schoen. “It’s opened the door to the groups in storage, networking or the data center that might be working in silos.”
Realized greater efficiencies, allowing more time for innovation and high-value tasks
By automating more manual tasks, WWT found that it also had a selling point when recruiting IT talent. “We’re able to tell people: ‘You’re not doing the boring work with us because Ansible Automation Platform has that under control.’” said Hull. “We can say: ‘When you work for us, you’re on some interesting projects.’”
The time savings extend to other parts of the company as well. Onboarding new employees typically took three to four tasks for human resources staff. With Ansible Automation Platform in control, those rote tasks are automated and staff are on the job faster.
WWT’s IT team promotes Ansible Automation Platform as integral and transformative to its culture, meaning staff are taught to think differently, like a developer, that if something isn’t automated, how can it be? And the simplicity of its language means it’s not necessary to have a programming background to work with it. The tech that WWT layers on top of the Ansible Automation Platform has helped to enable cultural transformation. “It’s organizing your work a little differently, whether that’s in deploying systems or building configurations, and it’s all written in a human-readable language,” said Hull.
Consolidated from multiple single-task tools to one automation platform
WWT has several IT teams working throughout the organization. In the past, when a project required an automation solution, the team member would choose one they were familiar with and continue their work. “As a result, we had about 10 different automation solutions, which of course complicated things because not everyone was proficient in them all,” said Hull. “We realized we needed a common solution.”
WWT found Ansible Automation Platform was the answer because of its simplicity. “It speaks the language of all the other technology solutions we work with, so it can be our centerpiece. Plus, the development community around it is a big help to us and our clients,” said Hull.