Workload automation management has never been more important. As organizations integrate applications in and beyond the enterprise, workload automation managers must master the complexity of simply and securely managing this complex set of disparate services. But it goes beyond that. Workloads are becoming more intertwined with business services, increasing the need for dynamic scheduling and self-service capabilities at the consumer level. These new requirements drive the need for underlying tools that dynamically manage these workloads. Clearly, these tools must embrace what already works today—while accommodating what’s needed tomorrow—without disrupting operations.
A Look Back
The history of job scheduling has mirrored the history of corporate computing. As time progressed, “batch” processes became increasingly interdependent. Processing one part of a workload or job is now dependent on the completion and results of a different, previously run job or workload.
Adding to the complexity is the growing number of information technology processes required to support the increasing volume of business services that need to be delivered. A simple credit approval process, for instance, requires executing and managing several IT processes and workloads. Organizations need a single point of control or management for all the business services at a macro level and the underlying IT processes and workload. We need to manage the work holistically to deliver the services that business relies on. The IT department must be able to dynamically deliver business services that meet Service Level Agreement (SLA) requirements and be able to adjust to meet unexpected and expanding volumes of service needs based on changing market and customer requirements.
Delivering Business Service Dynamics
As workloads increasingly become intertwined with the delivery of services, several things must happen:
• Organizations must fully understand the scope of their workloads (across the entire enterprise) to fully grasp what they’re delivering and what business services the workloads are enabling.
• Workload tools must accommodate changes in schedules in real-time, responding to shifts in demand, technology resource availability, and triggers from various sources.
• Workload products must be able to schedule and manage processes across mainframe, distributed, and cloud-based resources. In doing so, the workload product should offer flexible management, enabling the work to move across platforms to accommodate outages, errors, and unplanned needs.
• Workloads must be self-service-enabled so users can quickly and easily schedule work to address evolving business needs without contacting the IT organization.
• As workloads deliver more business services, they must be managed within easily understood SLAs; the IT department should be notified promptly (ideally automatically) if things aren’t trending well and SLAs are at risk.
Taking It to the Next Level
Workload automation capabilities must become more tightly intertwined with the broader set of organizational business processes. Workload automation solutions must be flexible; they can no longer dictate a business process through rigid, rule-based structures.
Consider a business such as a neighborhood bank branch. Customer-facing bank personnel manage everything from customer deposits and withdrawal services such as insurance, brokerage services, and investment advice. The customer-facing bank branch is backed by the same IT infrastructure tasked with providing services such as payroll and cash management to corporate customers. These activities, whether direct customer-facing or occurring in a business-to-business relationship, are intertwined; they all affect the same back-office resources and data. This creates a need for real-time coordination and management within the parameters of the technologies and delivery platforms. Customer service as well as legal and regulatory responsibilities must be addressed, too. Handling all that is a tall order. It can best be achieved with a highly available, reliable workload automation solution that provides a single system of record and control—one that can simply and predictably coordinate all the various tasks and work.