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A Strategy to Accelerate Adaptability Through Infrastructure Automation

Today we feature a sponsored post on best practices in automation from leading open source solution provider Red Hat.

While many things have changed over the past six months, the need remains for financial services companies to increase speed and efficiency, and deliver a differentiated customer experience, all whilst complying with complex regulations and requirements.

To overcome current and future challenges, IT organizations are working to increase the flexibility of their infrastructure and operations. With security at the forefront, regulatory and compliance controls adherence requirements, digital products, and services must be efficiently developed, deployed, and managed. Often this means that infrastructure and processes require updates to support digital offerings and protect against costly security breaches and cybercrime-related risks. 

An automation framework can help organizations achieve this transformation, improving agility, flexibility, and speed to adapt to changing requirements. Optimization of resources and increased efficiency to control costs allows not only innovation but also the delivery of digital customer experiences with less risk. Organizations seeking to automate infrastructure to should consider the following best practices.

Deliver Results with People, Tools, and Processes

An effective approach to automation includes people, processes, and tools.

Start with your people

All initiatives, including automation, start with people. Begin with the following actions:

  • Build consensus to gain cultural buy-in. Ensure a successful start to your project by building consensus among all stakeholders. Failure to do so can result in well-intentioned, but isolated activities, or the continuation of time-consuming manual activities which would reduce the benefits possible with a standardized automation approach. 
  • Define the scope. Determine the extent of your automation and explain the strategy, IT benefits, and business benefits at both the organizational and individual job levels. 
  • Encourage participation. Solicit technical advice from staff who will implement, administer, and use the automation technology from the start. People will avoid using a solution if they believe it to be inadequate, regardless of its actual capabilities. 
  • Inspire collaboration. Create a culture of automation by unifying teams and technical domains for tooling that can be used by the entire organization.

Select appropriate processes

Not all processes are candidates for automation. When planning automation projects:

  • Be instinctive. Prioritize automation use cases that involve repeatable, time-intensive processes with predictable outcomes. If automating a process requires significant customization or is a single delivery to an external team, automation may not be at the top of this list, or even appropriate. 
  • Focus on benefits. Automate processes that provide benefits that scale as your adoption and scope increases. 
  • Plan for maintenance. Plan for quick and efficient ongoing maintenance of your automation activity to keep up with the business, process, and technical changes.

Choose the right tools

The right – or wrong – tools can greatly impact the success of your automation project. Look for the following capabilities:

  • Adaptability. Needs and services will not remain static. Choose tools that can adapt to change and prepare you for the future. 
  • Flexibility. Use tools that can automate infrastructure and IT processes without complex configuration or customization. Find tools that easily integrate and operate with other automation and management solutions. 
  • Simplicity. Look for tools that are easy to install, configure, manage, and maintain at scale. Analyzing and understanding the results of an automated process should be simple and straightforward. 
  • Usability. Select tools that are easy to learn. Hard-to-use tools will not be adopted by most of your team and can result in a small, segmented group of subject matter experts. 
  • Accessibility. Adopt tools that feature simple, human-readable syntax and graphical user interfaces (GUIs) to help users without advanced coding skills contribute to automation projects.

Automate for success with Red Hat

Red Hat helps financial services organizations move forward with higher performance and advanced automation. In a recent study*, Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform was shown to increase the efficiency of application environment management teams by 41%, and IT security teams by 21%.

  • Gain business and IT agility and speed through cross-organizational automation and collaboration. 
  • Boost efficiency and focus on new initiatives by eliminating manual, repetitive tasks. 
  • Innovate and deliver digital customer experiences with less risk and at a lower cost by using modern platforms that meet today’s needs and easily adapt to tomorrow’s requirements.

* Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform Improves IT Agility and Time to Market – An IDC White Paper, Sponsored by Red Hat, June 2019.