5 automation and RPA must-reads

Automation and RPA projects continue to pick up momentum in enterprise IT. Get up to speed with our round-up on these key trends for CIOs and IT leaders
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When you say "automation," some IT people picture job-stealing robots. IT leaders will need to know how to allay that worry in the months and years to come. But here's a piece of good news: Some forward-looking IT leaders are finding automation actually has talent retention benefits, as David Egts, chief technologist, North America Public Sector, Red Hat, recently wrote.

"Automation is an effective way to help businesses become more resilient, but it also helps retain the key talent you have and attract new talent to up-level your team," Egts notes. How? Teams that have made progress on the automation journey are seeing benefits including an increased sense of belonging, for example:

"Many organizations have gone from siloed automation to automation communities of practice that span these silos. Instead of tasks being manually executed or even automated in isolated pockets of an organization, an automation community of practice lets everyone share their best ideas and build on each other’s work.

So rather than belonging to the employee, the processes belong to the community of practice with authorship attribution back to the author. Plus, the community contributors identify with the community because their contributions and spans of influence visibly and positively impact the entire organization in ways they couldn’t do as individuals," said Egts.

Automation by the numbers

Given the intense, pandemic-fueled need for rapid transformation in 2020 and 2021, perhaps it's not surprising that automation initiatives appear to be speeding up: A 2020 global executive survey conducted by Deloitte found a 58 percent increase in intelligent automation initiatives underway compared with the previous year. 73 percent of respondents said they had an intelligent automation initiative in Deloitte’s 2020 survey.

"Intelligent automation" usually refers to a combination of technologies, including but not limited to robotic process automation (RPA), low-code or no-code tools, and AI technologies. As Kevin Casey recently explained, "The 'intelligent' part usually reflects that technologies like RPA can’t learn on their own like a machine learning algorithm, for example."

IT automation also includes infrastructure as code, configuration management, security automation, container orchestration, and more. Kubernetes is now an everyday IT tool for that very reason. In Red Hat's 2021 State of Kubernetes Security report, 88 percent of the IT pros surveyed said their organizations are using Kubernetes, with 74 percent using it in production.

5 must-read automation articles

Want to quickly get up to speed? We've rounded up some of our best recent coverage on automation, below:

1. Automation by the numbers: 11 stats to know

Automation's reach extends beyond any single business function or technology. Let’s dig into 11 statistics (and then some) that reflect the outsized influence of automation

2. Automation strategy: 5 questions CIOs should ask

Is your automation strategy future-focused? Consider these five questions to stay on the right track  

3. How automation strategy can help you retain IT talent

Automation strategy matters greatly right now because it helps IT leaders improve not only resiliency but also talent retention. Here's how - and how to get started

4. Top CI/CD misconceptions, explained

Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) can transform software delivery, but it's important to know the facts. Industry experts share common misunderstandings to help you avoid pitfalls

5. 6 Robotic Process Automation (RPA) interview questions for 2021

Preparing for an RPA job interview, as a candidate or hiring manager? Check out these RPA-related questions and guidance on developing strong answers

[ Need to explain RPA to colleagues, customers, or partners? Get our quick primer: How to explain RPA in plain English. ]

Laurianne McLaughlin is Editorial Director, Digital Communities for Red Hat, leading content strategy. Previously, she served as Content Director for The Enterprisers Project, Editor-in-Chief at InformationWeek.com, and Managing Editor at CIO.com.