The Enterprisers Project asked top IT executives to provide the areas all modern CIOs should have automated by now, if they haven't already. Here's what they said:
1. Technology Operational Environment
John Marcante, CIO and managing director of Vanguard's Information Technology Division, Vanguard
"Automating the technology operational environment is key in enabling rapid, continuous delivery and lowering costs. Adopting a cloud management platform and orchestrating the creation of environments at the push of a button can go a long way in shortening the delivery cycle. It sounds easy, but in reality there is often huge people and process changes along with this transformation. The services that IT operations groups provide must be overhauled, requiring changes in roles, mindsets, and skill sets of the workforce. Having effective leadership to drive comprehensive change is just as critical as automating the technology."
2. Deliver to mobile devices
Curt Carver, vice chancellor and chief information officer for the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
"I think a lot of today’s manual processes that are paper bound should be moving to completely electronic ones. Within the Board of Regents I serve, the move to electronic signatures has had breathtaking effect, and people are really pleased. We’ve taken six-week processes and made them one-hour processes. Our FedEx bill has plummeted.
3. Focus on manual processes
Stuart Kippelman, corporate vice president and chief information officer, Covanta
You could apply automation to many different places in your enterprise, but if I’m given a choice of where to automate, I focus on the most manual processes. When you ask someone the question of where in the enterprise you should automate, “the most manual processes” doesn’t always come up. For me, I want the least number of people touching things so they can focus on their jobs and on driving value for the company.
4. Ask customers and watch them work
Ron Webb, executive director of Open Standards Benchmarking, Stats Hub, and Information System, The American Productivity & Quality Center
"It depends on the organization, for sure. But, one thing I’ve learned over time is that every time I ask the customer this question, they always get it right. If a machine can do it and do it correctly, a machine should be doing it. Some good-old-down-home technical anthropology work (asking customers and watching them work), always leads me in the right direction."
5. IT on demand
Uri Sarid, chief technology officer, MuleSoft
"Why choose just one area? The credo for IT should be, 'Work yourself out of your job.' Ideally, you want to automate everything by making IT a self-service PaaS or iPaaS. There’s no reason IT should have to stand up every new app or integration. You don’t want IT creating a new environment or sandbox every time developers start a project. It should focus on creating services that enable everyone else to do their work. The way to do that is with IT on demand."
6. Data archiving
Ty Rollin, chief technology officer, Mobiquity
"Automation has eliminated the human in the loop for moving data across the entire fleet of systems to near real-time backups, and then cost effective archives. Data archiving must be automated across all tiers of storage, including all databases, file systems, web servers, and big data sets."
Dr. Nicko van Someren, chief technology officer, Good Technology
"Automating the analysis of all the log data created by various systems can save IT a fortune. This sort of log management can find issues with both security and service more quickly than manual analysis, not only shutting down attacks more swiftly but delivering better up-time and reducing costly support calls."
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