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Network World - This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.
It's commonly perceived that IT Process Automation (ITPA) costs too much and - after a painful implementation process - doesn't work. But enterprises taking a "crawl, walk, run" approach with Automation as a Service (AaaS) are realizing dividends.
These users avoid expensive and complex enterprise software platforms, upgrade tactical scripting approaches, and reject "Free" ITPA bundle offers from large software platform companies. Whether you are ready to adopt the unfortunately named, but high ROI, Automation as a Service (AaaS) approach, or pursue other ITPA models, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
One thing to keep in mind is you get what you pay for. Although ancient advice, it still makes sense, especially in today's confusing world of enterprise software applications and IT process automation. As you approach your "crawl, walk, run" to ITPA, consider selecting a platform that scales. Plan for success so when you start "running," your gear can carry you the distance.
Large vendors like Microsoft bundle ITPA solutions for free. If the bundled solution were truly valuable, they would be selling their ITPA solution and bundling something else. Conversely, by selecting the right automation software, the software cost pales in comparison to business benefits from the automations implemented.
In lieu of free software, consider a "pay for use" model rather than paying upfront fees for enterprise licensed software. Explore whether security and compliance requirements allow for a SaaS (software as a service) implementation so you can roll out your ITPA as a SaaS solution and bring it in-house later, if appropriate - and if your chosen vendor allows such flexibility.
Whatever platform, test and pilot first. You will learn what is most important for future scaling needs. If the POC works well and embeds the capabilities you will require for RUN-mode operations, then you're set for the future. If not, you are now informed as to what is needed and can make a better selection for your next implementation.
Success may not require an Automation as a Service (AaaS) approach, but the right choice, early on, helps enable efficient and effective scalability.
If an AaaS solution seems like a good fit, consider process complexity based on the number of steps involved and the number of system interfaces. Vendors may charge based on steps, interfaces, or a combination. Start with low-risk processes measured by end user perceived importance and use frequency. Get comfortable with how the platform works, then scale up.
During evaluation, check if the platform can be brought in-house in the future. This option may be required for compliance, cost or performance. Some vendors are adamant about only providing a SaaS solution; others are more accommodating. Sometimes, you'll never need to bring it in-house, but we've seen situations where global implementations with stringent performance requirements require behind-the-firewall deployment after the initial SaaS implementation proved successful.