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Cloud Expo: Article

Cost Reduction with Automation in the Cloud

By automating processes from the cloud, organizations can achieve the benefits faster and more economically than ever before

Forrester analyst James Staten says that "the whole value of cloud computing is tied to areas of IT that can be standardized, automated, and shared among multiple constituents.[1]" Automation through the cloud is the next step for cloud-based innovation to reduce costs and increase productivity. But questions remain. Find out how automation from the cloud can enhance the bottom line by delivering savings on hardware and manual effort.

From the telephone to the iPad, with every bit of new modern technology that's introduced, there are very vocal early adopters who can't wait to try it. There is also an equally vocal group of people who are skeptical about, if not completely opposed to, its introduction. When a decision whether or not to employ the latest and greatest affects an entire company's well-being, it's no wonder that questions of progress are approached with such trepidation. However, being a late adopter of innovation - like automation from the cloud - can cost companies real money.

Over the years, I've had first-hand experience with organizations that have been reluctant to automate their business and IT processes. It's not because they were afraid of automation, but because they were concerned about how they would implement it. In a survey our company commissioned late last year, we found that even though 87% of representatives from top global enterprises interviewed believe that automation is key for productivity, 99% still spend a lot of time doing repetitive manual tasks, with almost two-thirds (63%) of companies spending more than a quarter of their time on manual tasks.[2] All these manual tasks cost them money - every day.

According to CIO Insight in early 2011, "...by 2015, Gartner anticipates that cloud computing will hasten the use of tools and automation in IT services, resulting in a marked increase in productivity levels for service providers and a reduction in their costs of delivery. These tools and automation solutions are expected to eliminate 25% of IT labor hours." When you combine the benefits of automation and the cloud, the savings start to grow. Cloud delivery reduces labor costs for certain. It also reduces capex and hardware costs because there's no need to purchase new hardware to support it.

In fact, implementing automation from the cloud eliminates many perceived barriers to automation. Any decision required to kick-off a process improvement initiative with automation from the cloud doesn't require buying additional infrastructure or hardware. Automation from the cloud makes it much more accessible. With it, companies can apply and control process automation easily and quickly throughout their enterprise - even outside of their own four walls. Rather than just accessing applications, infrastructure or data, business and IT professionals can now build in automation that is easy to implement, change and expand. Wherever they can access the cloud, they can automate. It's also secure.

In fact, the cloud can offer more security than on-premises solutions, as Forbes reported last September. Furthermore, the development of hybrid cloud technology enables an organization to keep its data where it is and only automate the steps required to process it. Because process automation touches so many activities across so many systems, shifting these to the cloud can avoid system-wide mainframe slowdowns and keep everything running smoothly. Think of how many times you've heard complaints going to your IT department that something critical to operations is running slow, because of, say, a system copy in progress. Now imagine that never happening again - for you or anyone else across your entire organization. It is possible.

The cloud is much buzzed about in the tech world, but it's still new enough to be feared by many - especially those who don't fully understand it. Most people see its benefits in flexibility, speed and cost savings. By automating processes from the cloud, organizations can achieve the benefits of automation faster and more economically than ever before. As early adopters begin to share their success stories with those who are more hesitant, I would be surprised if cloud-based automation isn't the norm everywhere very soon.

References

  1. Staten, James. "Make the Cloud Enterprise Ready." Forrester Research. June 1, 2012
  2. Independent research was undertaken by Vanson Bourne in August 2012 on behalf of Redwood Software. 100 UK and 200 US senior IT decision makers were interviewed across a cross-section of industries at organizations with more than 1,000 employees.

More Stories By Jeff Brown

Jeff Brown is Director of Solution Architecture at Redwood Software Inc. He leads the team responsible for identifying, developing, validating and implementing new strategic process automation solutions. He works with Redwood customers in every industry to create practical and powerful automation architecture.

With an MBA in Technology Management, Jeff has more than 12 years of experience in IT solutions development with Honeywell International, Inc., OpenText Corporation, Serena Software Inc., and Redwood. Always focused on the business value of IT, he serves as the voice of the customer to internal sales, product management and development teams.

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