Automation is for the best

OK I'm getting sick of writing tweets defending automation from social justice warriors (of which I'm one: check my tweets @theitskeptic) who want to shut it down or slow it down.

The business case for DevOps automation

In the past I have written sceptically about automation
I have learnt better now.

An important DevOps word: toolmakers

The word "toolmaker" has great explanatory power to help IT people understand how their world is changing. Those who come from the Run domain of IT (as compared to Build) are becoming toolsmiths.

Let's not underestimate the resilience of people and societies

Luddites react against technology because they lack vision. It's not their fault they can't foresee the future. Nobody can. But in every single other technology shift, entrepreneurs found a use for idle labour, and the efficiencies of technology meant there was new wealth to buy those new services. Don't fear the robot.

The ERP for IT fallacy

factoryThere is a school of thought that takes the idea of ERP systems (Enterprise Resource Planning: monolithic integrated systems for running all of a business from operations through to HR to financials) and applies it to IT. The suggestion is that these concepts are fractal: if they work for the organisation as a whole then they can also work on a smaller scale for the IT department and the IT systems and services.

Recently the idea of ERP for IT has had some attention again. We need to stamp it out. Tweet this

Knight Capital makes the point about the risks of automation

Knight Capital's disaster is a warning to us all in IT

IT operations must beware inappropriate automation

Being technical folk, we are far to quick to leap to technical solutions to non-technical problems. Automating operations tasks is one of those cases.

Keep the vendors and tech geeks away from business automation

Vendors sell technology (hardware and software) as silver bullets for business problems. Take a look at this fabulous case study from McKinsey Quarterly. Reading between the lines it seems to me the vendor's pitch was cobblers. The fancy aspects of the technology delivered nothing. The real gains came from process and culture change. When will IT folk ever lose our fixation on technical answers to non-technical problems? And when will the vendors ever step up and start delivering true solutions instead of boxes of crap?

Doubting that automation really reduces errors

Here's a personal reflection unsubstantiated by any research: I really doubt that automation reduces errors. And yet that is often the reason touted for automating processes. In our IT management world, we often hear automation pushed as the panacea for preventing outages, security lapses, and so on. I don't buy it.

Software automation won't necessarily lower staff costs

Automate to make systems more reliable. Automate to make them more effective. Even automate to make them more efficient. But don't automate to eliminate people, at least not if the system is mission critical. You need even more highly trained, professionally-alert staff, to step in when it all goes pear-shaped. And it will.

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