I tried to gather the automation benefits specifically for IT Infrastructure. Benefits can be small or large depending on the organization and the implementation. Automation is an investment, which requires cost, effort and good planning. Returns are not immediate, or may never come if automation is not planned correctly.
The ultimate goal of automation is to eliminate human involvement. So, all benefits derive from reducing the human factor.
Why to avoid human involvement
Human involvement is not something which always has to avoided. Humans, of course, add numerous benefits in whatever they are working on. So, good plans to introduce automation must identify the human differentiators, and separate the activities, better suited to humans, from common and monotonous activities, better performed by machines.
Hopefully, humans will move their excellence to essential work, and contribute to improvement and progress. Ideally, with automation humans move their focus to the future, as autonomous machines will take care of the present. Automation brings in proactiveness.
As an IT industry average, we know that human errors account for roughly 32% of downtime and process errors for another 32% (see this post). So, the most obvious benefit of less human involvement is reducing downtime.
Here are the automation benefits for IT infrastructure:
a. Tactical Benefits
- Infrastructure stability – less downtime
- Service quality – higher infrastructure reliability, consistency, robustness, and predictability
- Less operational risks – less deviation from expectations
- Better efficiency (same infrastructure is capable of more throughput, less infrastructure)
- Reduced recurring costs for infrastructure, as it is used more efficiently
- Lower human costs for operations and support
b. Strategic Benefits
- Shorter time-to-production cycle (faster infrastructure deployment)
- Improved human productivity, as trivial tasks are handled by automation
- High skilled personnel, higher added value in services
- Easier compliance to policies and best practices
- Satisfying new challenges for distributed and complex systems
- Alignment to wider IT and business process automation
- Spin-off technologies and new opportunities can arise from developing automation
c. Social and macro-economic benefits
These are helpful if you work for a Not-For-Profit Organization, but nevertheless not to be underestimated.
- Environmental footprint – automation results in less resources used more efficiently and more efficient processes
- Ability to achieve – tasks demanding strong capabilities (e.g. speed, endurance) are more easily achieved by machines
- Macro-economic improvement – history has shown that investing in automation brings faster alignment to technology and economic growth
- Workforce improvement – Higher level jobs are directed to the development, deployment and operation of automated systems.