Practical Steps and Best Practices for Automation Implementation

  • Automate to Innovate
  • Fail Early, Fail Fast
  • Obsess on Standards

The pace and scale of digital business innovation is increasing. Industries are experiencing widespread disruption. Digitally connected customers demand more, faster. New competition comes out of nowhere. Organizations are trying to optimize resources, accelerate development, and adapt faster to market changes.

AUTOMATE TO INNOVATE

All of these demands place an extra burden on IT teams. Automation Implementation can help.

An enterprise-wide automation strategy helps organizations improve existing processes and execute upon digital transformation. Ultimately, applying modern automation to your enterprise application environment helps your business better serve your customers—so you can be successful in the digital economy.

This high-level enterprise automation checklist can help you transition to a more automated, efficient environment.

Applying modern automation to your enterprise application environment helps your business better serve your customers—so you can be successful in the digital economy.

BECOME AGILE

The pre-requisite for successful automation implementation is the adoption of agile methodologies and scrum teams. Next, create an automation team within your operations department that is focused on automating deployments. This evolution can take more than a year, and even then, it will continue to grow and change.

PLANT SEEDS

As you begin your automation journey, it is important to evangelize the vision. Take time to share information and demos throughout the organization to create awareness about automation and prove its value.

START SMALL

Show small successes. Automate something, but do not try to automate many things in one release. It might be that not everyone wants to automate… at least not in the beginning. Practice patience.

FAIL EARLY, FAIL FAST

Failures can cost you time, money, and resources. The later they are discovered, the larger the cost. Manage these costs by continually moving tests as early in the process as possible. For example, force all new code commits to be tested using a continuous integration (CI) pipeline.

Also, make sure that upper management understands that failure is part of the agile process—they should not get nervous when they hear about things breaking. See our Command Line Heroes podcast on how to fail better.

Make sure that upper management understands that failure is part of the agile process—they should not get nervous when they hear about things breaking.

AUTOMATION TOOLS

Do not forget to automate the installation and upgrade of your automation tools—such as Red Hat® Ansible® Automation, Jenkins, and required plugins. Develop your Infrastructure as Code (IaC) so that it can be easily managed.

Manually installing automation tools creates the same problem that you have fixed with automation on your target hosts. If you do rely on manual installs, you will have unreliable and inconsistent environments for your automation tools, which is not a good foundation.

REFINE YOUR DEVOPS TOOLCHAIN

Wherever you are in the evolution from waterfall to agile methodologies and practices, pay attention to your DevOps toolchain. Make sure leaders in both development and operations are thinking in a consistent way and continue the ongoing process of fine tuning your DevOps toolchain.

OBSESS ON STANDARDS

Three things are important when it comes to automation: standards, standards, and standards. From day one, standardize your playbooks, roles, and other automation practices. It helps to maintain clean, readable, manageable, and stable code. Syntax and runtime errors mostly occur due to a lack of standards.

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