Key to delivering self-regulating business and IT systems

The need for automation will increase as enterprises move towards an era of digital resiliency.

What do augmented, contactless, robotic process automation (RPA), and digital assistant technologies have in common? They are all essentially automation. And, automation is the foundation on which enterprises will build greater digital resiliency.

Automation is not a new concept, according to a recent IDC blog. The analyst firm has found automated IT operations, a key element in developing digital infrastructure strategy, is all about automation.

What’s different today is that enterprises recognise the need for automation at scale across the entire organization – essentially making automation part of a business’ DNA. As business and IT leaders strive to achieve that goal, they’ll need to overcome two broad sets of barriers – data and people.

Data barriers are associated with things like the ability to integrate data from many sources, including increasingly external ones. Even when companies have the data, they often can’t take advantage of it in real time, which is critical to making automation work.

The second set of barriers is people problems.

It is difficult to reach a common understanding across the organization about what the data means and what policies should be applied. In many cases, organizations don’t have processes to set standards and rules. In addition, many companies are realizing that they lack the skills – and the expertise – to apply automation at scale.

As organisations work to address these broad sets of challenges, they will also need to clear major hurdles. Avoiding silos is a major challenge when it comes to business automation. Areas where business leaders want to use automation, and where IT leaders need to support those efforts, include improving customer support and engagement, enhancing quality assurance processes/programs, and augmenting sales processes

Digitally resilient organisations must create their own enterprise-scale versions of an autonomic nervous system.

This Enterprise ANS must be built on four elements:

  • Companies need to agree on a common set of data and application definitions and rules, which can be applied across the entire enterprise. New initiatives like Open Telemetry will play a big role here, but there will be others that are more industry specific.
  • Organisations have to attack the real-time problem – creating digital infrastructure environments that ensure ubiquitous delivery of compute and memory resources to every location and every edge environment. These include new solutions like dedicated cloud as a service, mobile edge computing/multi access edge computing (MEC) and solutions that enable real time data analysis and analytics.
  • Enterprises must also adopt standard methods for moving data dynamically with assurances for security and reliability. The networking industry is going through a massive transformation right now and the concept of connectivity as a service will enable rapid, easy deployment of connectivity to support automation.
  • They need a platform for creating a consistent, collective governance model that enables orchestration, performance management, and configuration control. This platform will be built on a cloud control plane. My colleagues have published some great research on the future of control planes.

When the topic of cloud control planes comes up, many IT leaders brace themselves for the next “one control plane to rule them all” battle or the emergence of the next master control program (MCP).

But, that misses the point. This evolving cloud control plane discussion is not about control; it’s about creating an ecosystem where different developers who can leverage a standard control plane and set of services to create and deliver consistent, coherent, and cooperative automated services.




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