There are multiple aspects of automation. The problems that require digital business automation are very diverse, being influenced by multiple factors. Echoing the diversity of automation problems, there are numerous software products that are using the concept of workflow to automate and execute IT activities. These applications are spread through a wide spectrum, from being narrowly specialized and allowing the users to define various execution paths of activities that are related to their narrow business concern (e.g., Jira’s Workflow) to being generalized and capable from an enterprise standpoint (e.g., Workload Automation products, Business Process Automation products).
Why not choose only one extremely generalized “silver bullet” workflow product, and avoid dealing with a, potentially confusing, variety of automation tools?
The reality is that there are no extremely generalized good-for-all-situations automation products. Software vendors designed and created automation applications that are focused on a relatively specific scope, resolving a set of interrelated problems. Even products that are designed to have generalized capabilities, which are in the family of Workload Automation and Business Process Automation, are not executing everything possible, natively.
What would be a good selection criterion for selecting one or more automation products?
Common to all of these types of products, the narrow specialized and generalized workflow-oriented automation software/applications, is that they are designed to resolve related concerns that correspond to a set of related requirements. It makes more sense that the specific automation requirements are being identified first, then looking into the market offering spectrum for the right fit.
What if in future I’ll have to broaden my automation capabilities, beyond the narrowly specialized workflow automation products that satisfy my needs currently?
If you know for sure that you are going to outgrow your current automation needs both from a capacity and from the type of automation standpoints, then you should plan now for growth, in a just-enough manner.
I already have multiple automation solutions, some of which are narrowly specialized but very useful in my existing environment. For areas where I need to take a broader and more integrated perspective would I have to throw away my existing automation products and reimplement all those procedures within a new generalized automation application?
No, that is one of the great strengths of generalized automation solutions; you can keep the automation products that you have and integrate them with the generalized automation solution that can orchestrate activities among multiple narrowly-specialized automation products.
Why would I need a Workload Automation product to resolve my digital business automation needs when I already have a Business Process Automation solution or the other way around?
As mentioned above, these products are designed to tackle different aspects of automation. On the one hand, Workload Automation workflows would suffer changes when the low-level, services development and deployment, day-to-day operations, and IT Infrastructure improvements are changing. On the other hand, a Business Process Automation based workflow would change when the company is updating functional procedures, due to company readjustments (e.g., company transformation, organizational/business growth, optimizations, mergers and acquisitions), or adjusting to the macroeconomic forces (e.g., regulations, taxes, market fluctuations, economic recession/recovery).
When you design and modularize workflows have functionality in mind, but also consider their propensity of change and separate what could suffer change due to the various factors on their own workflows and implement them in the proper location. An example of this could be design workflows that might be impacted by macroeconomic forces on the Business Process Automation side, and workflows that might need to be adjusted due to the day-to-day operations of a Workload Automation product.
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These postings are my own and do not necessarily represent BMC's position, strategies, or opinion.
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