Over-automation not the way to deliver business value

Johannesburg, 14 Oct 2021
Read time 3min 20sec
Andrew Hewitt-Coleman, automation sales leader - FSS, IBM Southern Africa.
Andrew Hewitt-Coleman, automation sales leader - FSS, IBM Southern Africa.

Automation should not be carried out just for the sake of it: it should be deployed where it matters, and where it delivers the most business impact. This is according to IBM automation experts, who were addressing a virtual summit on AI-powered automation this week.

Andrew Hewitt-Coleman, automation sales leader – FSS at IBM Southern Africa, said: “One silver lining of the pandemic is that it has greatly accelerated how much automation has been pushed out to organisations. We have seen in some IBM Institute for Business Value studies that around two-thirds of executives feel the pandemic enabled them to accelerate their automation agendas. We also see that companies that had invested in digitisation before the pandemic were able to drive an increase in revenue during the pandemic far in excess of what digital beginners achieved. They were able to adjust to the pandemic and the changes that were forced much faster and more easily.”

Mohammed Noorodien, Thought Leader for Hybrid Multicloud Computing at IBM, said: “Every industry and every organisation is in search of business value, so automation transcends boundaries as it enables more value from processes and better value from employees. But we shouldn’t automate just for the sake of it, we want to make sure we automate where we have the highest impact. Over automating can lead to additional problems. Organisations need to start their automation journey in areas that have the biggest impact for the business and deliver maximum business value returns.”

Donald Seymour, business automation sales leader at IBM EMEA, said: “To understand what areas will deliver the most business value, IBM now has process mining as a core capability in our Cloud Pak for Automation. It’s both a tool and a discipline to understand the work currently taking place in the organisation, and its analysis then tells you what work is being done, what is being done in a repetitive fashion, and possibly also work being done that shouldn’t be part of the process. It then makes recommendations on what should be automated, what capabilities the business needs, and provides a roadmap for automation.”

Speaking in a session on AIOps, Robert Barron, SRE & AIOps Solution Engineer at IBM, said: “There is often friction between developers and IT Operations and administrators. Both have to meet business demands and despite them both having the best interests of the organisation at heart, they have opposite goals. Developers must have the flexibility they need and a platform to deliver change, and operations needs stability and confidence to support this.”

He said observability, automation and the AI in Watson AIOps reduces the risk of change. AIOps solutions deliver application impact avoidance and observability, he said, elaborating on how to achieve observability with Instana, dynamically optimise resources with Turbonomic, and add a digital SRE to the team with Watson AIOps.

In a discussion on AIOps: The Future in Assuring Application Performance, Barron noted that Instana is very simple to use, does self-discovery and implements all updates, upgrades and plugins automatically.

Maela Matlapu, System and Application Performance Monitoring Administrator at Telesure Investment Holdings outlined the use of Instana at her organisation, saying processes were straightforward: “It’s seamless and saves me a lot of work.”

Alec Kemp Field CTO/ VP Technical Services EMEA & APAC at Turbonomic said Turbonomic built on Instana observability to model for context about components and infrastructure, and enabled organisations to leverage that data to take action. “You can very quickly see where to improve efficiency and performance in your environment,” he said.

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