1. WHITE PAPER
Automation | January 2009
the IT process
Unleashing latent productivity, savings
and measurable business advantage through
end-to-end IT Process Automation
2. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
table of contents
executive summary 01
Where IT process traps
hold businesses back 02
A fresh look at IT Process
Automation opportunities 03
Case history: Unleashing IT to
drive business innovation 05
About the Author 08
3. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
Within even the most efficient Australian organisations, convoluted and inefficient IT processes still lurk
that not only dampen productivity – but also, more insidiously, hamper business and competitive agility.
Long-entrenched productivity traps in IT processes such as human dependencies, single points of
failure, and cumbersome workflow sequences lengthen delivery times and incur unnecessary cost.
Worse, they retard a business’ ability to respond quickly to market threats and opportunities.
In these circumstances, IT is viewed as a constraint rather than a contributor to achieving business
goals. Compounding these problems: unwieldy processes frustrate skilled staff by forcing them to
devote inordinate time to manual or mundane procedures that could be easily automated.
While IT Automation has existed in one form or another for decades, today a new level of IT Process
Automation offers potential to unleash unprecedented levels of productivity — and put IT front and
centre in achievement of business goals.
The greatest opportunity lies in examining business-critical IT processes from a fresh perspective
— evaluating their contribution to defined business goals — and then streamlining and automating
their operation end to end, to eliminate unnecessary duplication or delays.
With this higher level of IT Automation, even the most efficient enterprises can unleash substantial
”trapped” productivity and savings — transform IT’s reputation — help reinvigorate and retain skilled
technical staff — and contribute directly and measurably to business success.
CA has developed a new model for end-to-end analysis, redesign and automation of IT Processes that
reaps significant, immediate dividends. Working with a major financial organisation to redesign just
one technology supply process, CA has assisted the customer to:
• Slash human effort from more than a month to less than a day
• Reduce standard software installation time from 10 days to 5 hours
• Reduce the total average supply time from more than 100 days to just 10
In addition to these immediate benefits, the redesign has also:
• Given IT’s internal reputation a massive boost – enabling the business to plan new initiatives
confident that IT can deliver in a timely way
• Armed the enterprise with a replicable platform for addressing future automation projects and
quantifying IT’s contribution to achieving business goals
4. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
Where IT process traps hold businesses back
Despite ubiquitous computerisation, automation is far from fully leveraged
From corporate mainframes to iPhones, computer technology has transformed the way that business
works. However, while computerisation has streamlined or eliminated many business processes, it has
still, in many cases, delivered evolutionary rather than revolutionary change.
Many business-critical IT processes are a legacy of simpler times – often digital replication of paper-
based processes from long ago.
Why aren’t these processes automated?
The biggest trap of all: “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it”
Inertia and entrenched practices are the most common enemies of IT process efficiency.
Processes don’t get reviewed because they’re well understood, established and comfortable.
If a process isn’t explicitly linked to and measured against the business goals it’s tasked to achieve, it
won’t receive intense management attention — and will simply continue to be done “the way we’ve
always done it”.
And at an operational level, employees are prone to comply with established Service Level Agreements
(SLAs) or internal expectations, without any incentive to overhaul the basic services being delivered.
The implications of this go far beyond departmental inefficiency…
Undermining corporate responsiveness and business agility
In today’s commercial environment, business agility and innovation are critically dependent on
Inefficient or dysfunctional IT processes can severely limit the ability of an organisation to respond
rapidly and flexibly to opportunities or threats in the marketplace – and undermine the achievement of
Some of the most common IT process traps:
• Dependency on human initiation or intervention
• Single points of failure or congestion that can derail or delay an IT process
• Cumbersome workflow sequences
As well as frustrating specific business initiatives, inefficient IT processes can fuel a broader
organisational malaise: a lack of trust in the ability of IT to contribute to the achievement of business
IT is seen as a constraint rather than contributor
This can prevent the incubation of otherwise viable innovations because IT is seen as an
insurmountable barrier to their timely, successful delivery.
5. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
It can also encourage individual departments to bypass centralised IT for hardware and software
procurement — a trend with severe operational, financial and security implications.
Losing staff hearts and minds
Cumbersome IT processes may also contribute to high turnover of skilled and hard-to-recruit technical
employees. The tedium of managing manual or mundane business procedures saps employee
enthusiasm — and increases the attractiveness of roles elsewhere that may offer more direct IT
contribution to business achievement.
A fresh look at IT Process Automation opportunities
The many faces of IT Automation
IT Automation has existed for decades. Since the early days of IT batch automation and batch
scheduling, it has evolved into a number of distinct forms including:
1. Workflow automation such as ITIL-based incident reports and change requests — typically occurring at
a tactical level and at certain functional levels to achieve service fulfillment.
2. Data centre automation using virtualisation technology such as VMware to automate IT processes
within a data centre, making it more responsive to business needs. Monitoring tools track when an
application is running short of resources and reallocate resources on the fly to avoid disruption.
3. Run Book Automation, as coined by Gartner, which provides end-to-end automation for IT operations by
documenting and automating all the tasks that occur in an operations “Run Book”.
Beyond operations — the next level of end-to-end IT Process Automation
While Run Book addresses some process inefficiencies, most business-critical IT processes don’t reside
in operations alone. They cross organisation and IT silos, and involve tasks well beyond the typical IT
operations “Run Book”.
The next level of IT Process Automation requires granular evaluation of all the component tasks of a
major IT process across all silos and parts of the enterprise — to map the entire process, and identify
exactly why and how it contributes to achieving specific business goals.
True end-to-end IT Process Automation at this level produces significant benefits beyond Run Book
automation alone, including:
• Streamlining all aspects of a process to eliminate unnecessary duplication or delays
• Producing dramatically faster turnaround times and better SLAs
• Unleashing significant efficiency dividends and cost savings
• Improving business agility and time-to-market with new initiatives
• Transforming IT’s reputation from “constraint” to “contributor”
6. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
• Enriching the professional development experience of skilled employees
• And most significantly:
• Contributing directly and measurably to achievement of defined business goals
New methodology for the next level of automation
The CA-designed approach to end-to-end IT Process Automation examines IT processes from a fresh
and independent perspective, and draws on global resources and best-of-breed tools to:
The case history following provides dramatic proof of the immediate and longer-term benefits that can
be achieved through this higher level of IT Process Automation…
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Analyse steps to Evaluate steps to Re-engineer the
understand what identify which ones process using
the current process can be parallel automation, process
looks like in rather than engineering and
granular detail sequential standardisation
Step 4 Step 5 Step 6
Map and road Match the process Implement and
test the to the best available benchmark gain
new process tools such as from the
CA IT Process new process
7. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
Case history: Unleashing IT to drive business innovation
An inefficient process was undermining business agility
One major financial organisation in Australia learned the hard way that inefficiencies in business-
critical IT processes were undermining their ability to compete…
Innovative plans for an Australian-first product introduction were derailed by a technology delivery
time of nine months — allowing a competitor to introduce a rival product two months before they
could get theirs to market.
Recognising that technology procurement and deployment was fundamental to launching new
products and meeting business goals, the organisation and CA undertook a project to redesign the core
technology procurement system.
Overhauling the process from end to end
Initial analysis identified the average time to deliver and deploy technology from the date of order was
more than 100 days — with the longest delay just two days short of a year. The process also required
more than a month of actual human effort. Even the relatively straightforward procedure of installing
standard software regularly took as long as 10 days.
After consulting stakeholders from IT staff to internal customers and conducting granular evaluation of
the process across all areas of the business, CA redesigned the technology provisioning process from
end to end…
• Eliminating unnecessary steps
• Automating a number of previously manual steps
• Creating parallel activity paths for steps that did not need to occur sequentially
CA also helped unleash further savings by organising for the company’s supplier to store equipment at
its data centre, and raise invoices only once technology was commissioned.
The immediate efficiency and business rewards
Since implementing the new provisioning system, this CA customer has:
• Slashed the human effort required from more than a month to less than a day
• Reduced standard software installation time from 10 days to 5 hours
• Reduced the total average supply time from more than 100 days to just 10
8. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
One of the most Reaping longer-term dividends for IT
significant and For this organisation, CA’s IT Process Automation project produced more than just a dramatic
lasting benefits of breakthrough on one business-critical process. It armed them with:
this level of IT • A replicable framework for future automation initiatives addressing traps in other business-critical
Process Automation processes
is its ability to
transform IT’s role • A tool to help IT people meet SLAs and KPIs and demonstrate quantifiable business benefit from IT
and reputation services and expenditure
One of the most significant and lasting benefits of this level of IT Process Automation is its ability to
transform IT’s role and reputation within the organisation.
Rather than being viewed as a cost and a constraint, IT can become a business enabler — delivering a
level of accountability to defined business goals that is simply impossible in an organisation that relies
on ad hoc or manual processes.
For example; by automatically monitoring the level of services being requested and delivered, IT
Process Automation enables IT to monitor its ability to meet demand and define a standard “unit cost”
for its services.
At a tactical level, this revolutionises IT reporting– taking it from “exception-based” reporting of
service failure to compliance-based reporting of IT’s contribution towards achieving business
At a strategic level, IT Process Automation can equally transform budget-time requests for additional
technology expenditure. When IT can demonstrate that its year-on-year unit costs are declining and
that increased expenditure is required to supply growing demand from the business, the
“conversation” is about business priorities rather than the cost of technology.
9. White Paper: The IT Process Trap
Though some aspects of IT Automation are already well¬established and exploited, the full potential
of true end¬to-end IT Process Automation is only beginning to be realised.
The higher level of IT Process Automation demonstrated here holds the potential to:
• Unleash latent productivity in even the most efficient enterprises
• Produce significant, immediate cost savings
• Quantify IT’s contribution to meeting defined business goals
• Transform IT’s role from cost and constraint to enabler of innovation
• Reinvigorate the interest of hard¬to¬recruit and retain IT professionals
• Help the business compete with greater economy and agility in fast¬moving marketplaces