It’s that time of year – when fears come to life; the season when enterprise IT and network managers look at their budgets to plan next year’s programs and shriek! Why? Because their interest in automation brings out their worst fears about ghosts of automation past and zombie programs that will to eat up their budget and could cost them their jobs.

Fear not! We can set the record straight and bring automation fears into the light of day.

End-to-End Automation: A Gory History

We talk to enterprise IT and network operators every day about automation, and they express real fears about end-to-end automation. Their experience with these “automation goblins” gives them the creepy-crawlies:

  • What if an automated process made a mess of a critical system??
  • With so many technologies and tools already in place, wouldn’t adding a new automation tool just worsen the mess??
  • Without standardized processes, aren’t you just automating random, inefficient workflows??

We’re in the automation business, but we agree end-to-end automation can be scary. After all, it’s a lights-out process that runs without any human supervision, and it could “go rogue” under the wrong circumstances if it’s poorly designed. That’s enough to make you want to see some expert tips for successful automation.

Protect Your Team from Zombie Automation Monsters

While operations pros are nervous about time- and money-gobbling end-to-end automation systems, they do have a silver bullet with human-guided automation. It combines the efficiency of technology with the judgement and expertise of a live person, not unlike a troubleshooter or set-up wizard. We just apply this same methodology for technical IT operations or network operations staff. Human-guided automation automates component tasks within a larger, human-driven workflow. The automation’s results (such as diagnostics) appear right manual procedures to help the person involved know what to do.

Taking a Bite

Don’t worry! Rather than letting automation gobble you up, you can nibble your way to automation. What we mean by that is that you don’t need to automate everything at once. Pick repetitive tasks that aren’t mission critical and use them as a proof of concept. By doing so, you can show the value of automation before tackling larger, more complex initiatives.

By adding human-automated automation to a bite-size approach, you can prove your concept while more quickly providing resolution to issues, regardless of which operational silo they belong to.

Learn how to approach automation incrementally in our recent webinar with 451 Research, “Incident Resolution Automation: Success Doesn’t Require Boiling the Ocean.”

There you have it! Your automation fears can be popped in the coffin and buried forever. Enjoy Halloween and don’t worry about the automation Zombies. Instead, embrace human-guided automation and an iterative approach to it and you’ll be back from the dead in no time.