Automation strategies take shape

A combination of older and newer technologies is making a difference in managing IT workload. Here are six areas of IT automation that are working today.

Over the past 18 months, the IT department has used automation strategies such as robotic process automation and various centralized and decentralized automations. What types of automation work best in which use cases?

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The answer is that a combination of older and newer technology is making a difference in managing IT workload. These technologies save staff time, prevent printing errors, and deliver fast, reliable results.

Here are six areas of IT automation that are working:

1. Low code, no code, flexible code

Since the 1970s, report generators have moved away from application development so that end users with little or no programming knowledge can generate their own reports without having to ask the IT department. The downsides were that these self-generated reports added so much unnecessary code to the process that run times were lengthened and compute resources were wasted.

Today, an assortment of no-code and low-code tools still adds overhead, but the compute cost is lower. Add to that a new “flexible code” capability that really extends the scope of what these automated code generators can produce, because flexible code also allows computer programmers to create raw code in the programming languages ​​of their choice.

This range of automated code generation – from no to low to high – is now available on a single platform.

2. Security detection and alerts

Automated intrusion detection and security alerting systems are now used on virtually all types of networks and systems. They are regularly used by IT, not only to respond to the alerts they generate, but also for active monitoring of user access points and locations where specific types of networks, systems and applications are. used.

By reviewing the logs automatically generated by these systems on a daily basis, IT has a good idea of ​​who is accessing what applications and data, and when. This knowledge assists in safety oversight. It also provides advice on which users and apps get the most access and at what times of the day. This helps IT and end users to ensure popular applications are available when employees need them, while infrequently used applications and data are designated for retirement.

3. Software updates and device locks

Edge intrusions are one of the most serious security vulnerabilities because edge devices like smartphones are more difficult to monitor and their users do not always secure them.

This is why many businesses have now switched to automated software updates that are run from their networks whenever users log in with a smartphone and there is a security or software update. The update is automatically transmitted to the smartphone.

IT uses this automation to ensure that all security and software versions on all devices are in sync. Additionally, automation software can track mobile devices in the field and lock a device if it is lost or misplaced.

4. Automation of robotic processes

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is still in its infancy in many businesses, but it is already solving some of the age-old data entry challenges that have cost organizations years of frustration and lost productivity. Frustration arises when a user has to update three separate systems with billing data because the systems cannot communicate with each other.

With RPA automation, user data entry can be emulated. RPA automatically populates all different data entry points and systems with the same data, so the user does not have to enter it multiple times. Since RPA does this repeatedly and without change, there is also no risk of human error.

5. Extract, transform, load the software

As a systems integration solution, more and more organizations are using Extract, Transform, and Load (ETL) software to automate interfaces and data exchange between systems. These ETL systems operate on a set of business rules that are initially defined by the IT department. Using this predefined set of rules, the ETL software automatically extracts data fields from a system, transforms the data fields into the formats needed for the target system, and then loads the resulting data fields into the target system. .

Many ETL tools come with hundreds of pre-built Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) so IT doesn’t have to code them manually. System integration remains a major IT challenge, but with ETL automation, the job is easier.

6. Automatic configuration of the test environment

It is painstaking work to set up test operating systems for the purpose of testing computer applications. Then there is the problem of deprovisioning these test environments when the tests are complete.

Both are unwanted tasks in IT, where hand-coded scripts to load operating system test environments can introduce errors, and system resources are unnecessarily consumed by older test environments than the computer forgets to deprovision.

Now, for Linux and other operating systems, there is automated operating system provisioning that an application programmer can trigger with the push of a button. The same auto-provisioned operating system can be set with a time when the operating system will be automatically deprovisioned. This takes the burden of setting up the test environment off the hands of highly paid system programmers and database administrators so they can spend more time on IT planning and production optimization.

Content / Associated events

The Definitive Guide to an Effective IT Automation Strategy
How to achieve automation
IT automation: still improvements to be made in some places
Automate and educate business processes with RPA, AI and ML

Mary E. Shacklett is an internationally renowned technology commentator and President of Transworld Data, a marketing and technology services company. Prior to founding her own company, she was Vice President of Product Research and Software Development for Summit Information … See the full bio

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