When it comes to choosing orchestration software for your organization, the choices certainly are many. What are the most fundamental, foundational features and functions to help narrow down your search selection? Well, it starts with an internal audit to determine what your goals and needs are, both presently as well as in the future. From there, it can be helpful to establish some specific guidelines, which can help you avoid becoming overwhelmed by all of your available options. That being said, here are the basics to begin the evaluation process.
Integration with Automation
The driving force behind a successful orchestration software solution is its ability to be integrated with automation. This creates a more robust and highly functional platform that effectively carries out workflows. Without this marriage, these workflows simply cannot exist. There are various options for this, including selecting a standalone product that can be integrated with existing automation tools, or a comprehensive platform that has automation built in.
An overarching goal of most IT teams implementing a new orchestration tool is to deploy its services as quickly and efficiently as possible. In order to facilitate this fast, streamlined deployment, the solution chosen must be user-friendly. If creating a new workflow involves a significant amount of time and effort, the value of the orchestration tool is naturally diminished. Likewise, if the tool cannot be rolled out broadly to the entire organization due to the need for extensive training and in-depth knowledge, the overall benefits will no longer outweigh the time, money and efforts invested in the process.
Workflow Creation with Reusable Components
In order for a workflow to be effective, it must be robust, flexible and scalable. The process of creating an initial workflow can be somewhat laborious, but with the right tools and platform in place, this work should pay off by way of a number of benefits that can be realized down the road. The goal should be, over time, to be able to reuse certain parts of existing workflows in order to facilitate faster, easier and more efficient creation of new workflows. As such, the orchestration software you select should have the capability to duplicate, reuse and repurpose workflow components.
It should be noted, however, that while this strategy will save time and money, it will also pose certain challenges once the task of tying in additional more complex workflow components, such as alerts and automated response. This requires a degree of built-in intelligence that will allow the orchestration to handle and react to events as they occur during a workflow, including events-based alerts or adjustments to correct workflow problems based on existing policies.
Enhanced Reporting Functionality
Reporting may not be as glamorous as other aspects of a high quality orchestration software solution, but it’s an absolutely critical function that must be considered when evaluating your options. Reports are important from an internal perspective, to help identify what users need to do their jobs more efficiently and pinpoint areas where problems exist. They’re also essential in demonstrating to those outside IT the work being done and its overall value. To that end, they must be flexible enough to be useful to a wide variety of audiences.
Ultimately, when you are evaluating orchestration software, it’s important not to focus on any one individual feature, but rather look for a platform that will be comprehensive, flexible and agile enough to provide value across the board, both now and well into the future. And, whenever possible, take advantage of trial options that will allow you to test-drive a particular solution to determine for yourself whether it’s a fit for your needs.