Today’s businesses are challenged with moving faster than ever before and often with less resources, both in terms of budget and personnel. The tumultuous landscape and shifting global dynamics that organizations currently face with more workforces moving remote is leading many IT departments to evaluate how they can continue to support their customers and grow their business in uncertain times. 

To continue to scale, automation needs to be made a priority investment. Automation allows organizations to get the most “bang for their buck” when it comes to IT investments, and not because it will eliminate jobs, but because it will free IT staff to focus on more important business initiatives. It also can be a make or break for companies as they move to smaller in-office teams managing vast networks and infrastructure.  

According to a new Forrester report commissioned by Red Hat, organizations are taking note of this, prioritizing automation initiatives over competing goals. The report, “Automation based in open source drives innovation,”1 looks at how organizations are turning to automation, where they are looking to go from here with the technology and how leadership and implementers can align their goals when it comes to implementing automation. 

Setting up to scale

For the study, Forrester surveyed 378 infrastructure automation decision makers -- all of which are currently using automation to varying degrees. The survey found that all firms are prioritizing automation initiatives over an array of competing goals, however leadership teams and implementers are often misaligned on ideal goals and use cases. The survey also found that while all of the firms have experimented with automation, most know they aren’t as automated as they could be.

In part, those two things go hand and hand. Without buy-in from leadership teams, it’s much more difficult for automation to scale across an organization. To see and grow business benefits in the future, automation implementers and their leadership teams need to align on priorities and expectations. Without making automation a priority from the top down, it won’t succeed. By starting with automating simple tasks, implementers can see quick wins and then will inevitably  want to tackle the more complex and variable ones from leadership.

Beyond misaligned goals, organizations also report that a problem they often face with automation is that in many cases, automation is incomplete - often just targeting low hanging fruit. However, scaling automation within your organization and spreading it across more areas of IT doesn’t need to be a complex mystery. By getting the correct tool in place - one that allows organizations to collaborate across teams and creates a consistent user experience - can greatly help teams to better embrace automation and help it organically grow to new domains. 

More than a tool

According to the study, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they’d like to see improvements in their current automation tools. On the whole, they are looking for automation platforms that go beyond the typical infrastructure day-to-day tasks, and when evaluating new tools, firms prioritize:

  • Security features (40%)
  • Ease of use (35%)
  • Data/reporting features (27%)

This is where Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform comes in. Unlike using an automation tool alone, Ansible Automation Platform provides a foundation for building and operating automation services at scale. Having a platform helps meet customers where they are in their automation journey, making it easy for organizations to use regardless of whether they are just beginning to automate or looking to expand it across teams and domains. 

Additionally, Ansible’s simple, easy-to-read automation language makes it easy for teams across an organization to share, vet and manage automation content. Ansible Automation Platform also helps create an ecosystem for sharing the best automation content and scaling it across the entire IT organization.

Getting started to realize benefits today

While the Forrester study showed that many organizations are experimenting with automation and looking to expand further, many of those initiatives may now be fast-tracked to help address some of the concerns brought about by recent global events. As the study points out, one of the first steps to take is aligning the goals of leadership with implementers to make sure everyone has bought into an automation strategy. A proper automation strategy should address business deliverables as well as technical benefits. 

From there, getting the correct tool in place can help organizations see benefits from the get-go. Ideally, firms should utilize a platform that could work across the organization and help meet the goals of both IT decision makers and implementers.

Automation can greatly help organizations scale their infrastructure and do more with less. In fact, Forrester finds that 99% of firms report a variety of technology and business benefits from their automation software investments, including improved security, improved integration and faster innovation. By starting with a tool that easily enables organizations to collaborate and reuse automation across teams, organizations can feel secure knowing that their investment will continue to pay off as their automation goals and priorities evolve.

Additional Resources

1 Automation based in open source drives innovation, A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By Red Hat, May 2020