An organization-wide infrastructure automation platform can make a big difference in improving the way your organization operates. Low-code automation allows you to maximize the value of your existing technology stack while introducing new technologies more seamlessly. However, the most game-changing, and immediate lift that comes with infrastructure automation is the savings of time and resources by eliminating high-value repetitive IT tasks. Now, you can spend more time focusing on tasks that are actually value-add parts of your job description rather than writing and rewriting lines of code. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? It is!
In this article, we’re highlighting the five most common use cases for infrastructure automation as well as how to approach a financial analysis as it relates to ROI — so you can take the idea to leadership with a solid understanding of the overall impact.
Pinpointing Your Organization’s Automation Use Cases
Before your automation journey begins, it’s critical to prioritize the key metrics your team will measure to assess ROI. Take a look below at the 5 different use cases to consider; all with their own definitive value, savings, and overall benefits.
1. Virtual Compute Provisioning
Organizations seek to quickly create all of the supporting infrastructure components in addition to their virtual compute to create “application” ready instances via an automated process that follows their IT Service Management guidelines. IT automation enables the provisioning of new virtual resources for team members on-demand. Now, IT teams can eliminate swivel chairing between systems and teams to ensure new assets are compliant, governed, monitored, and auditable.
2. Server Audit & Remediation
Servers that fall out of compliance are basically every IT worker’s worst nightmare — and if you don’t believe that to be true, you must be one of the lucky few who haven’t experienced it.
As the world continues to move workloads to the cloud, the risk of a business seeing a server fall out of compliance increases. Having the capability to set up regular, automated compliance checks of all servers — both on-premise and in the cloud — is a necessity. End-to-end infrastructure platforms, like Pliant, natively audit on-premise and cloud server configurations while remediating the issues based on a set of rules to ensure consistent and reliable compliance with internal and external standards.
3. Hybrid Network Configuration
Troubleshooting a network outage can be frustrating when there’s no indication of what changed. With IT automation, the operations center gets a trouble ticket associated with an outage that includes all of the configurations on the affected device. This provides a starting point for troubleshooting network performance or outage situations.
Ultimately, infrastructure automation minimizes human intervention when creating, configuring, and securing your on-premise and cloud network infrastructure.
4. Application Delivery & Security
IT automation eliminates manual error when creating, configuring, and deploying application delivery controllers like F5, A10, Citrix, and more. Centralized, end-to-end infrastructure automation platforms, like Pliant, simplify, streamline, and secure the IT workflow to give time back to IT team members so they can engage in value-add activities that benefit the customer.
“Pliant was able to save our development team a lot of time. By implementing Pliant’s low code automation our dev remained focused on improving our platform. Pliant has enabled us to speed up our delivery of new integrations by over 75%.”
—Dee Dellovo, VP of Product at HelloTeam
5. ITSM Orchestration
Modern enterprises who have started down the path of digital transformation are now relying on IT infrastructure automation to run smoothly. This evolution trickles all the way down to their customers who experience a streamlined, fast, frictionless customer experience. IT automation validates, diagnoses, and quickly resolves incidents without manual input. For example, Pliant reads and updates ticket data from your ITSM system in real time to enable automated incident resolution — before it costs the organization time and money. If there is a ticket that requires manual intervention, the automation software immediately alerts the proper people to address the issue.
Choosing a Revenue-First or Cost-Savings Approach
To achieve a high return on your investment, you need to adequately address people, processes, and technology. Additionally, you need to address how each of those elements intersect to impact efficiency, security, and overall transformation. Projecting the influence of infrastructure automation and its subsequent impact from a financial perspective, you need to look at each use case above to understand how each one applies to your current organization. Then, use one of the two approaches below to make a financial assumption around the impact to either revenue or cost for each of your use cases.
- Revenue-First Approach: Measure the incremental revenue increase or acceleration in time-to-revenue for each use case where the top-line is the focus.
- Cost-Savings Approach: Measure the cost savings or reduction in manual efforts for each use case where the bottom-line is the focus.
From here, we recommend organizing the financial benefits you could attain into three categories: human capital, processes, and technology.
1. Human Capital
On average, 30% of an IT department’s time is spent on easily automated, repetitive tasks. When manual tasks are automated, cost decreases expeditiously and employees are able to spend their time adding value to the customer experience.
When thinking about how to save on IT human capital, consider the following:
- Look at the high value repeatable tasks that are manual today, how many hours are spent per week, year, month on those tasks for one FTE?
- What does that fully-loaded FTE make in an hour?
- Look at the raw cost you pay an FTE per year to complete manual tasks that can be automated.
- If you want to get real granular here, then track the additional capacity/productivity for that high-value talent, deploy them on initiatives that have measurable business impact and combine the two results!
Essentially, automation moves human capital from menial to meaningful. Eliminating resource-intensive manual tasks improves employee efficiency by boosting morale, accelerating response times, and enabling employees to work on higher-value tasks. 92% of employees say having technology do the laborious part of their job increases their efficiency and positively affects their work satisfaction.
Measure time to completion by looking at the time it takes for a process to be completed today — from the point when the activity is requested to when it is finished. Make sure to include the time spent waiting on handoffs, approvals, and scheduling.
Consider the following:
- Is my team spending too much time on non-value-adding tasks that can be easily automated?
- In which aspects of the organization can we automate to streamline and simplify our processes?
Infrastructure automation makes managing the internal processes of your business a more intuitive and less error-prone experience. With repetitive tasks out of the way, IT departments can focus on resolving issues that ultimately impact the customer and surpass all expectations by launching new services faster than ever before.
To maximize extensibility and scalability, prioritize investing in a platform that gives you the ability to integrate across platforms, services, teams, and tools. From a single platform, like Pliant, citizen developers are able to build consistent and meaningful automation across platforms, services, and applications in minutes — maximizing value across the entire technology stack in one place.
When researching automation technology, consider the following:
- How many technologies can a given automation platform address?
- Does it address your specific use case(s)?
- Which software programs does the technology integrate with? And do they integrate with the software your team uses?
In a recent case study, Pliant’s low-code automation platform allowed WhyFly, an affordable internet provider, to pull data from platforms like Hubspot, Stripe, and Ubiquiti to streamline the auto-approval and billing process for new/existing customers. Overall, Pliant saved more than 20 hours per week by automating emails for late payments, shut-off notifications, and generating a report for management that highlights all customers that were late or shut-off the day before.
How to Build Your Analysis
Match each of your prioritized automation use cases that are most impactful for your team to how they’ll transform the optimization of Human Capital, Processes, and Technology within your organization. Then, apply a revenue-first approach or a cost-savings approach for measuring ROI to each of your use cases to develop a quantified outlook of how automation will deliver results.
An organized methodical approach to making decisions about implementing infrastructure automation is important for managing expectations across teams, securing leadership buy-in, and ultimately delivering on new efficiencies.
With Pliant, our customers experience:
- Accelerated mean time to resolution of business challenges
- Reduction in time to market for new service launches
- Centralized administrative control and transparency
Digital transformation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Pliant makes implementing infrastructure automation so easy, we’ve seen customers experience time-saving results on day one! To make things even simpler, we’ve compiled a 4-page automation ROI roadmap coming out of our direct experience partnering with our innovative enterprise customers. They are leading the way in how to digitally transform through operational efficiencies and redesigned processes.
Inside this resource, you’ll discover a value-packed step-by-step guide to bring clarity to what can be an all-too-often opaque process of measuring and assessing the ROI of automation. Gain access to the Financial Analysis for Infrastructure Automation: How to Measure & Assess ROI here.
If you would like to understand the ROI of your specific use case, feel free to reach out to us directly!