Is your automation investment adding value to your business? Let’s start by asking ourselves the following questions:

1. Have you invested in an automation framework?
2. Are your operations teams happy?
3. Can you measure a significant improvement?

Depending on who you ask within an organization you will probably receive a  different answer. But at the end of the day, what matters most is that automation leads to  improvements in agility and quality at an operational level. Furthermore, this should be obvious to both clients and users of the services. Ordering and running PoCs is one thing, but deploying automation on a selected platform and making use of it in daily operations is another.

It is time to operationalize the automation platforms?

What do we mean by operationalize? At a very basic level, operationalize means to make use of  automation tools to gain benefits. To get a more holistic view we can use the definition from Wikipedia:

“In research design, especially in psychology, social sciences, life sciences, and physics, operationalization is a process of defining the measurement of a phenomenon that is not directly measurable, though its existence is indicated by other phenomena. Operationalization is thus the process of defining a fuzzy concept so as to make it clearly distinguishable, measurable, and understandable in terms of empirical observations.”

The latter part of this definition is the most relevant for operations. For instance, how can we measure the impact of the automation platform? By this I don’t just mean installation and  operation, but rather the effect of the automation project. Basically, to be be successful it must have a direct measurable impact on different parts of the organization:

1. Provisioning time is reduced from weeks to minutes.
2. Provisioning errors, including changes of services, are minimized.
3. Operations teams are happy with the solution and use it.
4. Customer relations have to deal with fewer problems caused by provisioned services.
5. New types of services can be introduced faster.
6. And more..

The success of the automation project can never be measured by the tools installed but the effect on other phenomena.

With the rise of SDN/NFV and automation a lot of emphasis has been put on selecting tools, presenting marketing results of PoCs etc. However, operations teams are still doing a lot of manual work and are therefore skeptical of product vendors. And this with all rights. If automation does not solve  operational problems it is just an unnecessary cost.

In order to be successful, operations teams need to be much more involved in automation projects: they have to be users, owners and developers of the solution. I will not use the word DevOps, because it is overused these days. But without the users taking ownership and actually developing part of the solution it will never become truly operationalized.

You need to be tough during the operational phase, if something does not prove to add value across the organization, then it is not relevant. also, if the operational people do not test and accept the features it will fail.

Can you measure your automation project without talking about the actual tool? We know how to get the most out of your automation investment – contact us today!

References
Wikipedia contributors. (2017, November 8). Operationalization. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 10:55, May 29, 2018, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Operationalization&oldid=809332909