MADISON, Wis. (10/17/11)--A new white paper from the CUNA Technology Council discusses the costs and the benefits of implementing automation in information technology. “Automating the Enterprise: IT Operations and the Data Center--The Last Frontier of Enterprise Automation” is based on information and experiences gathered from data center managers, operations managers and chief information officers/chief technology officers worldwide, including many from the credit union industry. The paper, by Neville Kroeger, also identifies barriers to the adoption of automation, describes the evolution of automated management tools, offers examples of forward-thinking organizations implementing automation in their data centers, and outlines the benefits achieved from their investment. In any information technology organization any manual process should be evaluated to determine if it is a good candidate for automation, says the paper. The attributes of a manual processes that make a good candidate for automation include:
* It is a high-risk process. If something goes wrong during the process, there is a significant negative impact to the organization. * It is a complex process with multiple parallel threads of execution. Humans don’t cope well with managing complex, multi-threaded or parallel processes. Typically they will execute these processes sequentially instead of in parallel and use a checklist to help them keep track of the process. This results in the process taking much longer to complete than if it were automated to run in the most efficient manner. * It is a process that requires manual keyboard input. Keying in information is both error prone and time-consuming when compared with using an automated solution. * It is triggered by an ad-hoc event, such as a file arrival or a display on a console. If the organization doesn’t know when or how often an event will occur that initiates a particular workflow, efficiency is severely compromised by having to manually check to see if the triggering event has occurred. * It is a process that requires specialized knowledge. Credit unions can’t always rely on the required specialized knowledge being available. Embedding that knowledge in an automated system provides insurance against employees being out sick, on vacation or no longer available to the organization.