Automation was always there in IT from the beginning. Recently, automation has taken the center stage, driving innovation and agility. It also help companies with cost reduction by improving processes, eliminating manual effort. When it comes to IT Process Automation (ITPA), this segment offers a complex mix of tools and solutions. However, it is necessary to understand key areas in IT Process Automation in a bid to make the right adoption/ decision, especially with the availability of numerous categories and varieties of automation solutions & tools.
Let’s take look at the broader categories of IT Process Automation Solutions. Below is an attempt to provide broad categories of automation solution segments to make it easy to understand the ever-evolving IT Process Automation space.
ITPA tools & technologies can be grouped under two major categories:
- Specialized Functional Tools and
- Generalist Toolset: Applicable across multiple functions.
Specialized Functional Tools
These tools primarily address a specific set of tasks related to a function such as Monitoring, IT Service Management, Configuration Management, Event Management, Testing, etc. In this specialized functional tools, the automation content depth is generally focused on addressing the unique pain points for specific functions. For example, Monitoring Automation tools primarily keep track of different servers or applications, collect usage data, and provide alert mechanism and so on. Various actions can be further mapped to alerts for performing automated resolution. Most of these tools have an ability to correlate various performance trends and system parameters to pin-point the root cause of events or incidents.
Toolsets pertinent to multiple functions are ‘Generalists’; these are with a broad applicability, but limited depth in a specific functional area. These tools can orchestrate workflows and accomplish several tasks that go beyond functional silos, to ensure the processes are completed in an end-to-end manner. For example RPA (Robotic Process Automation) is a generalist solution for accomplishing automation for multiple IT functional areas. Most of the RPA tools use a non-intrusive automation approach that does not need to tweak or change the underlying application layers.
Task Automation Generalist Toolset enables use of various systems and technologies to minimize human intervention to complete the task or process, across the functions such as runbook automation.
Heuristic Generalist Toolset or the toolset that leverages AI (Artificial Intelligence), enables use of advanced rule models, pattern matching, machine learning, and natural language processing to go beyond deterministic approaches such as automatic ticket classification with machine learning algorithms and training data.
Given that IT operations costs dominate IT spending in a big way today, it is essential to bring in Automation. Deployment of superior Automation solutions can ensure enhanced services with better consistency. As ITPA tools continue to evolve, more solutions will be introduced to automate complex tasks, handle orchestration of multiple, function-based activities, and build capabilities such as self-learning and self-remediation.
It is interesting to watch how this space is shaping up, and how these solutions are getting adopted by the clients in the ITPA area.
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