Flooding and far too many natural disasters have been front and centre of the recent news.
Investments in Automation need protecting and maintenance like the rest of IT.
Monitoring of Automation execution.
Once an automation for a business process has been created it will be executed many times. Basic monitoring to verify that the automation is completing execution on each iteration is standard.
If the automation is well designed it will cope with some types of errors, such as connection issues, so that such issues may impact the current execution but subsequent iterations when a connection is back working will be not be effected.
A more advanced monitoring process would verify that the work which is expected to be completed by the automation has actually been achieved. This type of detailed results checking is a process that could be independently automated and is often a secondary phase of development activity.
For the on-going operation of an automation activity there needs to be the provision for Software upgrades and the application of any software patches.
The general expectation is that any existing automation should function the same after the application of the software upgrade / patch, as it operated before the software change.
For confidence in the result of a software change, the usual scenario is for the execution of “Base line” tests. During the development of the automation, run time parameters may have been created to enable automation to execute in such a “Test mode”.
There is an important separation between the on-going usage of existing automations and the work which may be required to enable the automation to exploit / benefit from new features within the new software.
When automation is initially used in a business, consideration will have been given to the requirement for technical skills to be available in-house.
Once an initial wave of automations have been created, there is often a reduction in development. This can lead to technical skills not being used.
With the continual change in software, the need for training and experience with the new features, does require on-going investment if the technical skills used for automation are to be maintained.
A plan to maintain technical skills, or to obtain the technical skills from a specialist consultancy are important element of maintaining the automation investment.
Business Benefit Review
Before commencing the development of an automation a business case is normally developed to verify that the investment is going to deliver an appropriate return.
Once an automation is being operated in production, it can be easy to forget that the business case may have changed.
Inflation and higher interest rates may make the value from the automation increase or decrease. Of course, the development cost of the automation is fixed, but alterations in the financial situation may impact whether additional enhancements are justified.
Voting for Progress
2024 will have many elections, but for business, voting for progress is important.
By deciding to use automation to progress the ability of a business to execute its processes more productively, the business will be in a better position to meet challenges and grasp opportunities.
Where automations exist, there needs to be positive vote for actions to maintain the investment as doing nothing will see an increase in the risk of failure.
Managing Director, Ether Solutions