Friday 5 November 2010

Automated Fixing is good practice, good change control

I've been singing the praises of automation (hey, I am a computer guy) for several years now and in many instances it has been focussed on the application migration arena .  However, in more and more discussions with organisations the whole BAU (Business as Usual) topic pops up when we’re looking at application compatibility and maintaining that gold standard across the enterprise once the deployment is complete. Meaning, keeping the applications working while the organization changes above and below the application stack.

So this got me thinking about organizational Change Control and how automation fits in. Here’s my "50,000 Application"  view of the benefits of automation for Change Control within an organization;
  1. Automation is good for change control –because of its orderly, process driven fashion it makes it easy for system administrators to achieve consistency across all changes with the application estate.
  2. Automation by its very nature will have some form of log files build it. This puts more than a tick in the box for the auditing process and makes referring back to issues /process simple, quick and cost effective. Auditing tracks user actions and with good logging, you get the logic of the reporting and remediation process as well.
  3. Consistency – already mentioned in part 1 – the removal of human error is key here. When it comes to migrating an application estate of native, web, browsers and portals, consistency is king. Automation enables organisations to achieve this.
  4. It’s quick, it’s fast and it’s cheap. Automation frees up resource to focus on the bigger issues, it saves time and money both things the enterprise is short of in today’s economic climate. Computers are cheap, people are great, but not cheap.
  5. Automation is trustworthy. This is a big leap for some. You trust your calculator because you have used it enough times and it has been right enough times to earn that trust. Automation algorithms (I prefer the term recipes) are generated by humans, performed by computers but generally tested by humans. When you trust an algorithm, you are trusting the humans who tested the outcome. Automation outcomes get tested by more people, more often and generally under more conditions than a manually performed process. Once you get automation right, it stays right, for longer.

So, if you are playing chess, calculating Pi or fixing application compatibility issues, I would place my bets on the  organic/fleshy coach, and the silicon player any time.

See you in Berlin next week!

No comments: