Discover Performance

HP Software's community for IT leaders // March 2013

Automation first, better cloud second

Know what to automate before implementing the cloud—so you can make sure the cloud actually delivers later.

The cloud promises that it can make IT more agile, efficient, and cheaper to operate. That sounds like what all ops leaders need, but they also know they can’t implement this kind of change overnight. Ops teams need a ladder—a step-by-step process—for transforming the cloud’s potential into real results. In this case, the ladder is automation.

Forward-looking companies are realizing that automation is an absolute prerequisite for migration to the cloud—and the key to a smooth, non-disruptive transition to hybrid service delivery. But how do you get started? What’s the right way to implement automation projects, and when can you start moving toward a cloud model?

There are three key phases to this transformation, and they build on each other: automating operational tasks, automating IT processes, and automating service delivery.

Automate operational tasks

The first step is to ask your staff to identify the most time-consuming, repetitive tasks in their day-to-day routines. Focus on four key groups: the server team, the database team, the storage team, and the network team. Ask them to consider four key use cases: provisioning, patching, configuration, and compliance. For most organizations, these operational tasks are the low-hanging fruit—the stuff that’s easiest and most critical to automate first.

In many cases, one team will already have automated one or more key operational tasks with good results. Make sure to share that learning with the other groups.

Automate IT processes

The next phase is to extend the benefits of automation from the element level to the IT process level. Start by asking your teams which processes are bogging them down, taking too much time and effort. One common example might be incident management: too many events and not enough people to handle them.

In this case, one possible first step would be to automate your troubleshooting process and eliminate repetitive tasks. Then think about automating the process of requesting services from IT. For example, instead of requiring tickets to be submitted to the help desk, you could transition to a self-service catalog with an automated request submission process. The multiple steps that were previously required would be automated and would execute in the background, so the request would be fulfilled faster with less inconvenience for the end user.

Automate service delivery

Once you’ve automated IT processes, you can automate the service lifecycle or closed-loop incident process from initial provisioning to updates, change management, and continuous monitoring. That lets IT support self-service environments and provide faster response times.

In the help desk example, the self-service catalog—and the automation behind it—could serve as the precursor to developing a private cloud that hosts and executes complete IT services for internal customers. You could also then take advantage of public or managed cloud offerings from third-party providers with specific expertise, such as SaaS, IaaS, and PaaS. Or IT can build hybrid clouds that combine the advantages of private cloud, public cloud, and on-premise service delivery. Regardless, you’ve laid the groundwork for hybrid service delivery, where you can deliver the right service from the right place at the right time.

Don’t rush it—but don’t delay, either

No matter how much your organization needs the promises of the cloud, you can’t get there until you’ve thought through and implemented a data center automation strategy. But the key is to get started. Success breeds success, and ROI builds over time as you automate more processes.

For a more in-depth look at why automation must come first—and practical advice from experts and IT managers who have been thereread the full white paper,  “Enlightened Data Center Automation in the Cloud Age” (reg. req’d).


IT leader assessment

This tool evaluates the correlation between IT attributes and business success and, based on how your answers compare with average scores, will advise you where to invest in IT.

It is based on data HP collected from 650 global companies about a range of IT characteristics (server capacities, approach to information management, security, BYOD, etc.) and how they correlate to revenue gain. This assessment will compare your answers to the average scores in that study.

There are 12 questions that will require an estimated 10 minutes of your time. You'll receive a summary of your rating upon completion.

Let's get started

Please select an answer.


Your answer:
Your score:
Average score:
Revenue leaders' score:


Please select an answer.



Your score:
Average score:
Revenue leaders' score:

Get detailed results:


Popular tags


Discover Performance Weekly

HP Software’s Paul Muller hosts a weekly video digging into the hottest IT issues. Check out the latest episodes.

Automation + analytics = connected intelligence

Learn how IT leaders can accelerate service delivery, make their businesses self-sufficient, and better control their IT economics.

DevOps: Teams, not silos

Discover Performance’s Paul Muller and DevOps guru Damon Edwards discuss what DevOps brings to a business’s bottom line, and how to get your people out of their silos. Feb. 24.

Enterprise 20/20

IT Operations 20/20

How can you achieve the data center of the future?

Introduction to Enterprise 20/20

What will a successful enterprise look like in the future?

CIO 20/20

Challenges and opportunities for the CIO of the future.

Dev Center 20/20

How will we organize development centers for the apps that will power our enterprises?

Marketing 20/20

Welcome to a new reality of split-second decisions and marketing by the numbers.

Employee 20/20

What the workforce of 2020 can expect from IT, and what IT can expect from the workforce.

Security 20/20

Preparing today for tomorrow’s threats.

Mobility 20/20

Looking toward the era when everyone — and everything — is connected.

Data Center 20/20

The innovation and revenue engine of the enterprise.

Read more

HP Software related

Most read articles

Discover Performance


Tweets @ HPITperformance