2014 – The Year of IT Automation

2014- -The-Year-of-IT-Automation

I wanted to take a look back at the trends our company saw in 2013 and forward to what IT departments should employ to efficiently and effectively deliver results and add value to the business in 2014, which is set to be the Year of IT Automation.

With more than 24 million licenses across 1700 organizations of which many figure in the top 2000 global firms, 1E has found a number of trends – albeit anecdotal – that are common to many. Here are five of the most common trends we’ve noticed:

1. The rise of mobile

This is the first year that large companies are spending more money on mobile devices (including tablets) than they are on PCs.

2. The growing adoption of cloud applications

Cloud applications are increasingly being bought by individual departments rather than centrally. We’ve seen this trend before, when PCs were first introduced. This behavior creates inconsistencies such that business units can’t talk to each other with incompatible software, which means streamlining processes and automation is less possible – resulting in less agility and flexibility for the organization. Another consideration here is that the organization is not getting scalable benefits of corporate buying power, as they will likely be paying over the odds for the technology. Issues such as security and data leakage are also important to consider.

3. Windows Migration

Many large companies have gone through a Windows Migration exercise at some point during the past year and discovered that an OS upgrade is more costly than ever before. It’s clearly a thorough lack of IT automation, and a too great a dependence on manual intervention.

4. Software Licenses

Many companies have found that the cost of software licensing has increased yet again. This surge has occurred based on the fact that many vendors have changed their licensing rules, they’ve increased pricing and have also been more aggressive in the number of audits they conduct. As a result, customers are suffering at a time where clearly costs shouldn’t be rising.

5. Energy

Overall, IT has forgotten about energy savings. Although that climate change is still happening, even with large companies that employ successful energy management practices, we have found a general shift in focus away from ‘Green IT’. However, energy management isn’t just about reducing the carbon footprint and its contribution to the environment, but also about how the organization can make considerable cost savings.

While we don’t have a magic wand to improve these massive trends that IT departments are not fighting or controlling, there are ways to free up money and resources to support new initiatives.

For example, IT can reduce the spend on maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure (hardware, software, manual labor) by using tools than can automate many of the tasks. Windows Migration is a perfect example of where computers are simply better than people at completing an entire migration task. Companies such as Google and Amazon have automated many processes, and IT should learn from such examples where they can see how automation scales in a way that people could never have imagined before. Through IT automation, we’ve seen a company complete their Windows Migration on 80,000 desktops in just three and a half months.

Where software licensing is concerned, we believe old SAM is dead. Compliance is now the responsibility of the software vendors. The real job for the CIO is to focus on paying only for what software is being used. And, by compiling a dossier of evidence based on usage, you should be able to negotiate more effectively with software vendors when they request to audit.

As for energy, we pioneered PC power management 15 years ago and since have saved $1.1 billion in energy costs, but still IT has stopped caring about Green IT. However, the great part about power managing an estate is that they there are myriad benefits. Over and above the obvious benefits of saving money and CO2 through powering down PC, for example, by monitoring hardware utilization you can identify unused PCs which provides you the ability to safely decommission them. In addition, it gives visibility into locations of those PCs, enabling organizations to not only reallocate unused PCs, but also the associated desk space. This can result in cost avoidance of building a whole new facility.

In general in 2014, the Year of IT Automation, IT organizations will need to become more efficient and spend more on what the business needs. Don’t fight it, automate it.

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