Whether we realize it or not, automation is starting to drive our world as we know it. While you are reading this, think about all the areas of your life that you already use automation. Do you have a Roomba that cleans your house? Does your car have adaptive cruise control or maybe even Pilot Assist? More than likely, you have a DVR to automatically record TV shows or use the automatic ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your cell phone. These are all types of automation, and it is no different for the mainframe. It also has different kinds and different levels of automation. Automation is all about saving us time. It is important to know what you can gain from using automation and what characteristics make automation most useful.
What can you gain from automation?
If done correctly, automation on the mainframe can help free you up to focus on the high value areas of your business. Areas like:
- Tuning and saving costs
- Helping roll out new apps
- Ensuring data integrity
- Being proactive
Being able to focus on these areas will ensure you are delivering the best solutions to your customers. When they go to check their balance on your applications, for example, they will have the newest, most modern features. When they go to check out at your stores, their transactions will be quick because your systems are kept in order. You should not have to worry about the day-to-day housekeeping work that no one ever likes to do. You should be able to spend your time where it really matters and where it makes the most difference.
Characteristics of automation
What should you be looking for in automation? You don’t just want to put something in your shop because it says it is automation, do you? You want to make sure that what you are implementing will actually let you focus on the previously discussed areas to improve your business. The top three characteristics that you should look for in automation are:
1.Very little to no human intervention required
This is the meat and bones of automation. If it requires you to intervene in the process at each step and make decisions or review what has been done, then it is not freeing up any of your time. Once you set it up, you should feel confident that it is going to make the decisions you need it to make. That way, you can walk away and focus on what is important to your business. If I have a Roomba to clean my house and every couple of minutes I must go move it to another section of the floor, I might as well vacuum the house myself.
2. You remain in control
Automation does not mean relinquishing control to computers. This isn’t Terminator where computers are taking over the world. Automation should help make sure that you have all the control you need without having to exert much energy. You input what you would do in different situations based on criteria and the computer will intelligently make those decisions. This way it is as if you were deep in the code at the time the computer is processing and making decisions right then and there. It’s the old “Set it and forget it” idea!
3. Ease of use
Automation should not be hard to use. If it is, then there is no way that it will meet the first two criteria above. Setup does not need to be complex and usage should be intuitive. If you struggle with what you should enter or how to let automation do the work, then maybe you should rethink what “automation” you are using and look for a better solution.
In summary, the idea of automation on the mainframe should not be so scary that you run from it. Automation should be embraced as critical in helping you manage the day-to-day activities that keep you from doing what is truly important. Given the current demands of digital business, the growing volumes of data, the contrasting increased pressure on availability, and the aging workforce, you don’t have the time or strength to spend on tasks that can be taken care of automatically.
Make the bold decision to embrace automation rather than run from it. You’ll be glad you did. BMC’s Next Generation Technology can help you implement an automation strategy that will ease your mind and return your focus to what truly matters to your business.
To learn more about BMC’s Next Generation Technology, please see www.bmc.com/ngt
These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.