For many organizations with mid-size IT groups, the question of how to automate poses a real dilemma. Most businesses recognize that automating routine tasks is essential to running an efficient operation, yet far too few realize the different options available to them. As a result, many businesses are wasting money on complex, expensive overkill tools, of which only 20% will be used.
We thought it would be helpful to take a moment and examine the difference between IT process automation (ITPA) and workload automation, or traditional job scheduling, to help identify areas of potential savings.
The terms IT process automation vs. workload automation are often erroneously used interchangeably. This is because there are certain similarities between the two – mainly that they are both valuable tools in saving time and improving efficiency and productivity of operations. But while they are both technically automation tools, that is where the similarities end.
Where ITPA and workload automation differ is in the scope of functionality. Job scheduling allows businesses to automate tasks across the entire organization. IT process automation, on the other hand, allows for the automation of specific IT tasks. In other words, IT Process Automation is a much more modular, scalable and robust tool, particularly for mid-size IT operations that don’t have the budget to employ both or just need to solve specific pain points. There are three key differences between IT process automation and job scheduling:
- Workflow – Workload automation doesn’t cover workflow, therefore it lacks the ability to handle the complex logic that is required for most IT processes. ITPA, on the other hand, is developed specifically to execute these complex workflows for dramatically improved efficiency levels.
- Integration – Job scheduling lacks the capacity for broad integration with datacenter IT tools. It can only be done through a complex and time-consuming layering of scripts and code. IT process automation resolves this by allowing full and deep integration with all IT functions, with task automation spanning across server infrastructure and systems management products, such as systems from BMC, CA, IBM, HP, Microsoft, and more.
- Data Handling – While job scheduling automates tasks, it does not facilitate the passing of data between jobs, tasks and processes. This is typically left up to an external file system or database. Because ITPA is based on automating entire workflows, the activities in between are seamlessly connected.
Why IT Process Automation Makes More Sense?
When it comes to getting more “bang for your buck”, so to speak, ITPA just makes more sense. With workload automation, there is so much scripting and coding involved in getting the system to work properly that it inevitably ends up becoming an incredible waste of time and resources. Additionally, the tools available through job scheduling are limited and are therefore used on a less frequent basis – typically only about 20% of the time.
This begs the question – why spend money on something that is used infrequently, and that takes so much time and effort to work?
IT process automation provides real cost-effective solutions through end-to-end workflows, simple IT integration, and seamless data transfer. The result is less work on the part of IT operations, which naturally results in improved efficiency – the ultimate goal of true automation.