IT Management

You don’t need to travel to the Galapagos Islands to experience the wonders of evolution. You’re living through evolution right now, as technology keeps adapting from your data center to your end users.

Take workload automation solutions, for example. They’ve reached a major inflection point because of the emergence of cloud computing. And as an IT executive, you can have more influence than Darwin in determining what comes next. 

The origins of the workload automation “species” can be found in batch processing, with operators feeding in punch cards to run jobs manually, under operator control. 

Next on the evolutionary scale, new programs automated the steps documented in hard copy “run books,” and grew to include features such as calendar, predecessor/successor, and resource dependency control, and tracking of historical run-times. The members of this new species, known as “job schedulers,” ruled the batch ecosystem in both the mainframe and distributed environment for almost 30 years.

Today, as IT leaders respond to changing customer priorities, a new species is emerging: Workload solutions are expanding from distributed and mainframe solutions focused on automating batch work to multi-platform solutions (mainframe, distributed, and cloud) that are becoming integrated with business processes. This transformation is taking shape as a result of the rapid growth of cloud computing to support Software as a Service (SaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). 

Let’s say that, as CIO at a large enterprise, you decide to outsource your human resources function to a business partner. The core application that supports the HR team is cloud-based and focused on supporting the onboarding of your new employees. 

When you hire an employee, that event is captured internally by the cloud-based application and is not shared with other private or legacy applications. In the next wave of advancement, the workload solutions will receive and capture that event (new employee hired) from the cloud-based application and automatically initiate other IT applications, such as creating user credentials and requesting a workstation. 

So without any human intervention, your on-premise payroll system will be updated to reflect that your company recently hired a new employee. Key information about the new employee will be obtained from the HR system: name, address, salary data, etc. And, twice a month, that employee will be paid via electronic deposit through your firm’s traditional workload automation solution. The linking of these mainframe, distributed, and cloud systems is an emerging area in workload automation that promises to reduce costs and improve service levels. 

As evolution continues, workload automation solutions will be able to leverage the cloud infrastructure in even more new ways. 

Let’s say that when a new employee is hired, the system knows what to do, but your in-house server resources are at full capacity. Next-generation solutions will detect this problem and link to an external cloud infrastructure and supply additional processing capacity. Let’s call this new capability dynamic service delivery.

With dynamic service delivery, key business services such as bringing a new employee onboard are automated and optimized. Costs are reduced because you no longer need to permanently provision hardware, software, and services to set up, maintain, and expand your HR IT infrastructure to meet future demand. The elasticity of the cloud gives you flexibility: You can provide a higher level of service because additional capacity is available when you need it.

To avoid the high costs and poor levels of service associated with the fossils of the workload automation species, ask other CIOs in your industry and your vendors about their emerging capabilities in the area of dynamic service delivery.  See what they can already do and what they envision on the horizon. Who knows, maybe you will save enough time and money to take that trip around the world you’ve always dreamed of—and visit the Galapagos Islands after all.