TOPIC

Understanding automation

Automation is the use of technology to perform tasks without human assistance. This could refer to manufacturing, robotics, vehicle control, and so on. Or it could be in reference to the IT world, software, and business processes.

What's IT and business process automation?

Today’s IT architectures are continually changing and must be infinitely flexible. Automation in software helps with efficiency, delivering value faster, and solving IT and business workflow challenges. This directly affects customers—whether internal or external.

In these areas, 2 primary categories emerge:

IT automation

I.T. automation

IT automation is the use of a system of instructions to carry out a repeated set of processes which replaces manual work done to IT systems.

As an example, you could automate the provisioning of new systems or virtual machines. This could be done manually, but becomes much more efficient when automated, especially in large-scale instances.

Business process automation

Business process automation

Business process automation is the use of software and apps to automate activities and services used to accomplish a business workflow.

For example, paper invoices go through multiple steps, people, and systems to payment. An automated, electronic form can route, approve, pay, and file invoices with much less human intervention—in a fraction of the time.

Why automate?

Automation helps businesses on their path to digital transformation. Organizations today are dealing with major disruption—think Airbnb, Amazon, etc. They’re challenged with supporting their employees and partners, reaching new customers, and providing new, innovative products and services faster.

They want and need to be the ones disrupting their own industries.

Automation is critical to managing, changing, and adapting not only your IT infrastructure, but the way your business operates through its processes. By simplifying change through automation, you gain the time and energy to focus on innovation. The automated enterprise's goal is to get work done faster. This frees up IT staff to focus on bigger issues, resolving them, and—in turn—making them routine and eligible for automation.

To break it down further:

  • IT operations is hard work. It's even harder to keep up with legacy systems and processes while adopting new ones.
  • Requirements and demand are growing exponentially faster than IT and business capabilities.
  • New methodologies like DevOps are forcing cultural changes.
  • The scale of technology (virtualization, cloud, containers, etc.) is too great to do manually.
  • Automation gets you there.

Advantages of automation

Automation isn’t necessarily meant to replace people. Some of that will happen as a result of removing steps that require human interaction, but the focus and advantages are found in productivity, consistency, and efficiency. This is the paradox of automation—as you become efficient using automation, human involvement becomes both more important and less frequent.

Instead of seeing automation as a tool that eliminates jobs, the reality is that it allows more experienced IT staff to focus on bigger problems and their solutions, rather than mundane, day-to-day, repeated tasks.

Advantages

  • Greater productivity. Your staff can spend more time making a bigger impact on your business. Leave the repetition to software.
  • Better reliability. By reducing the amount of human intervention, you run into less oversights and issues. All of the same things happen the same way—every time. That way you know exactly when processes, tests, updates, workflows, etc. are going to happen, how long they’ll take, and that you can trust the outcomes.
  • Easier governance. More people means more potential for knowledge gaps. More knowledge gaps means one side of your business might not know what, or who, is involved on the other side. Codifying everything means better control.

Challenges

  • Cost. Building an effective automation solutions takes time and energy. Work with a trusted partner like Red Hat—who is able to handle the heavy lifting for you—to help you save and get running faster.
  • Scope. Automation doesn’t mean intelligence. Depending on what’s automated and how it’s constructed, some parts may be vulnerable outside of that scope. Limiting automation in some aspects or functions can mitigate this concern. Your automation is only as smart and safe as how it’s implemented, so keep that in mind.

Red Hat is your answer for business and IT automation

Red Hat® works with the greater open source community, on automation technologies. Our engineers help improve features, reliability, and security to make sure your business and IT performs and remains stable and secure. As with all open source projects, Red Hat contributes code and improvements back to the upstream codebase—sharing advancements along the way.

Our solutions and services give you the control you need to automate your business so you can focus on innovation and moving forward.

Want to automate? Red Hat has you covered.

Management

Ansible Automation Logo

Red Hat Ansible Automation is simple, agentless IT automation technology that can improve your current processes, migrate applications for better optimization, and provide a single language for DevOps practices across your organization.

Middleware

Red Hat JBoss BPM Suite logo

Red Hat JBoss® BPM Suite enables enterprise business and IT users to document, simulate, manage, automate, and monitor business processes and policies. It combines decision management and event processing capabilities of Red Hat JBoss BRMS with advanced BPM tools and runtime.

Cloud computing

Red Hat Cloudforms

Red Hat CloudForms simplifies your complex, hybrid IT environment with unified management and operations, automatic provisioning, and compliance and governance through automated policy enforcement and remediation.

Middleware

Red Hat JBoss BRMS

Red Hat JBoss BRMS is a comprehensive platform for business rules management, business resource optimization, and complex event processing. With algorithms and support for both forward- and backward-chaining, JBoss BRMS supports a wide range of decision automation solutions.

There's a lot more to Red Hat and automation