Automation: 5 ways it can change lives

IT automation is more than just a workplace tool – it has the power to improve people’s professional and personal lives. Consider these real-life examples from former bankers
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Sometimes technology goes beyond boosting business returns and productivity and directly impacts people's lives. For me, it was artificial intelligence: My young daughter requires medical devices to stay alive. A few months ago, she started using a new pump that stops delivering insulin when it predicts low blood glucose and delivers more insulin when it predicts high levels (both situations are dangerous and can lead to death).

This was life-changing and got me thinking about other similar examples. I talked to former bankers, who shared stories of how IT automation had also personally and professionally changed their lives. Here are five examples:

1. More sleep

Previously, bankers had to be available for maintenance windows, 2 a.m. emergency calls, on weekends, and anytime there was a problem. With automation, that’s no longer necessary. While they might still get an occasional call, they can now check an automated report, perform the fix, and resume their lives. No more sleepless hours figuring out problems (search “sleep and health” to understand why this is so critical).

[ Also read 3 automation trends happening right now. ]

“Before automation, an issue could come in at 2 a.m., and I’d get the call simply saying, ‘System or application has failed; please fix it ASAP,’” recalls Phil Avery, financial services solutions architect at Red Hat. “I’d be half asleep, trying to figure out what happened for the next 45 minutes before I knew where to start – and it would be worse if I needed an application owner.

“Once we implemented automation, issues would resolve themselves. On the rare occasion when they couldn’t, I’d get a report with all the data I would have previously wasted my time on. This would greatly reduce the resolution time and allow me to get back to sleep. Laying down a foundation with consistent precision automation was so impactful.”

2. More creativity

Automation frees bankers from two time-consuming factors: Repetitive tasks that don’t tap their most valuable skills; and time spent troubleshooting or performing tasks that deplete their creativity. IT automation gives them time to find new ways to improve their work and deliver more business value.

“There were many repetitive tasks, like daily health checks, that, when automated, freed up so much time for the team,” explains Joon Paik, financial services senior solutions architect at Red Hat. “The repetitive part of the job was not fun; it was mind-numbing. After automation, we got to do more interesting things for the company, and morale was much higher.”

"After automation, we got to do more interesting things for the company, and morale was much higher."

3. A new mindset

Automation changes users’ thinking as teams work together to document and share processes to determine the best way to automate them. This shifts mindsets from “job security based on knowledge that no one else has” to becoming a part of the team and building together.

“We manually developed by ourselves, which made us a single point of failure. No one else understood the scripts,” says Thomas McGinnis, senior cloud consultant at Red Hat. “When we implemented automation, we were no longer the sole support person, allowing us to create code that made a difference. We felt more valued because we created impactful applications.”

4. Better work/life balance

When employees have time off to relax and do what they enjoy, it helps foster new ideas and increase innovation. Plus, they come back to work refreshed and recharged.

“IT automation allowed us to leave work on a Friday and enjoy time with family, get out to see friends, travel, whatever we wanted to do on a weekend,” says Tim Hunt, principal solutions architect at Red Hat. “Previously, manual tasks required us to miss out."

5. Stronger relationships

Automation increases job satisfaction by enabling team members to work on more exciting projects. They might respect artisanal builds, but it creates more friction when something goes wrong – more wasted time and frustration and less job satisfaction. Automation changes that by creating new collaboration opportunities.

“A junior or a new employee can look at code or a process for solving a problem and say, ‘Hey, maybe we can make it more efficient by doing X, Y, Z,’ which allows new ideas to be heard and the best ideas implemented,” notes Peter Magnaye, financial services solutions architect at Red Hat. “It reduces unnecessary hierarchy.”

What's the impact on your business? 

How has automation benefitted your organization and your employees? Ask. Skip the management layer and go straight to your teams – you might learn more about your business than you ever knew. Here are some questions to start the conversation:

  • What were the challenges you faced before we implemented IT automation?
  • How did IT automation change those challenges?
  • How has it impacted the team you are on?
  • Has automation impacted you personally? How so?
  • What are some other ways we could use IT automation?

[ Want insights on talent and innovation from former financial services IT leaders? Get the ebook: Meet the Bankers.]

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Emily Curley
Emily Curley is the director of financial services programs at Red Hat. Emily has spent over 10 years helping launch cloud technologies, building the Red Hat Developer program, and growing the financial services vertical. Emily is known for creating innovative programs, pushing the status quo, and piloting new ideas to benefit customers and stakeholders.