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While automation continues to gain traction across industries, many of our clients still struggle to solidify an organization-wide automation strategy. 

The difficulty lies in the fact that automation usually starts at lower levels within an organization. Grassroots efforts grow, teams begin to experience wins and leadership starts to take notice. Suddenly, there's talk of automating everything.

But the secret to automation isn't to automate everything. Rather, it's to get to a place where you can automate everything right. Prioritize the right things to automate and then automate those things correctly.

We've identified six principles to help organizations on the journey to automating everything right. By taking these principles into consideration, we've found our clients can keep making progress with existing automation projects while developing a scalable automation strategy that maximizes a return to the business. 

Principle 1: Visibility

We like to say that automation starts with a clear line of sight into everything and everyone. The problem is that critical data and processes are often scattered across an organization.

Achieving observability, then, is the first step to pulling actionable data from different organizational silos via automation. Observability solutions are designed to cut across technology domains, teams and business processes to uncover metrics at the application level. 

For example, full-stack observability solutions can track metrics, events, trace data and logs related to the performance of applications, networks, cloud environments, supporting services, potential vulnerabilities and even individual end-user experiences.

This level of visibility will help organizations immensely as they start to identify automations that deliver business value. Additionally, it helps organizations ensure they're getting the most ROI on their automation investments.

Principle 2: Accuracy 

Building on the benefits of visibility made possible by a foundation of observability, we can reap another benefit of automation: accuracy.

IT operations can use automation to correlate siloed data in real- or near-real time, painting an accurate picture of system and application health. By contrast, trying to correlate data manually introduces the likelihood of human error and puts IT at risk of taking misguided actions when resolving incidents.

For example, one area where we've seen automation pay dividends for clients in terms of improving accuracy is security operations.

Automated security operations solutions can reduce false-positive security alerts and improve event logging. They can also eliminate steps in compliance reporting for a clearer picture of an organization's security risk profile at any point in time.

It's important to note that improving accuracy through automation is predicated on automation solutions using mature data.

Principle 3: Simplicity 

Sometimes it can seem like automation only adds complexity to already confusing technology and business environments. However, we believe that when done right, automation delivers a return to simplicity.

An automation strategy that considers the needs of multiple stakeholders can collapse disparate toolsets, bring together data into a single view and get everyone speaking the language of automation. 

Scale is key. Automation must occur across operations, platforms and infrastructure. When it does, islands of automation can eventually grow into repeatable processes, integrated investments and ultimately a self-healing IT ecosystem that's simple to manage.  

Principle 4: Efficiency

For organizations seeking to combat outages and degraded performance, automation areas such as service management and orchestration, observability, AIOps and RPA are game changers.

With these technologies in hand, IT staff can more efficiently see, react to and resolve incidents before they impact the business. In an intelligently automated architecture, organizations can even prevent incidents entirely by using machine learning and AI to detect and resolve problems before they have time to escalate. 

Our clients who have focused on automating operations have seen remarkable gains in operational efficiency. They've realized significant reductions in network outages, and in the time required to observe, detect, repair and prevent issues.

Further, by automating configuration management, we're seeing clients increase staff availability and reduce the number of incidents requiring manual intervention.

Principle 5: Speed

We see clients who prioritize automation consistently get new products and services to market faster than their competitors.

A strong automation platform that uses DevOps and container platforms can substantially collapse lead times for application developer services. Employing self-service also minimizes engineering involvement. 

Developers don't have to wait on IT for deployment environments. They can get to testing in production-similar environments before deploying to production with zero unnecessary downtime.

Our clients are consistently surprised by the number of new applications in production and new applications under development when their automation platform is up and running. 

Principle 6: Experience 

A poor application experience is one of the fastest ways to erode customer loyalty and employee satisfaction. Luckily, automation can ensure top-notch digital experiences for your users. 

For example, automated infrastructure can scale up to meet traffic demands, so users can always access their favorite applications. A strong DevOps environment can catch bad code before it makes its way into production. And chatbots can ease the burden of users calling a customer service center or IT department for assistance. 

We've found that making the connection between experience and automation is one of the best ways to align business and technical stakeholders around automation projects and strategy. 

Getting started 

Chances are that automation is already going on in different areas of your organization. In fact, your organization might have realized wins related to one of our automation principles. Wherever you are in your automation journey, we can help you take it to the next level. 

Automating everything right requires strategy, enablement and execution. We can help you build a strategy that aligns business value streams with technology, put your IT teams on guided learning paths and get stalled automation projects back on track. 

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