Read this complete guide to Workload Automation to understand what is it, its process, types, benefits to enterprises, examples, etc:
The dynamics of the business world also see a parallel increase in the complexity of its IT environment. Enterprises today are faced with a major challenge of efficiently managing multiple processes and ensuring lower risk arising out of user errors. To overcome these challenges, what has proven to be a blessing for enterprises is Workload Automation.
In this article, we will look at a deeper understanding of workload automation and its benefits to enterprises. Let us first understand what it is before we discuss its benefits.
What You Will Learn:
What Is Workload Automation
Workload automation is when tasks are managed and scheduled with the help of software. In the context of software, workload simply refers to the volume of processing done by a computer at a certain time. This is possible with the technique of an automaton.
Automation makes the process of managing and scheduling tasks simple and free of any human intervention. This is considered a significant improvement over the conventional method of doing tasks in real-time as compared to Workload automation, which is commonly used in cloud environments.
It has changed the focus from time-driven processing to event-driven processing. There is close sync of schedule changes and workload automation solution, which is of great importance, to do away with any resource conflict and in situations of scarce resources, provisioning of resources is done automatically.
Therefore, in the simplest terms, it is using software to add the element of automation of business tasks.
Sometimes, we have seen the term “workload automation” being confused with “job processing” and these two terms are used interchangeably. However, there are differences between the two.
Workload automation came into existence as a result of the process of evolution of job processing. In the last few years, there has been a significant improvement in features that have become more advanced.
In the conventional method of job scheduling, software was used to manage the processing of batches on one particular system. Job schedulers are usually specific to platforms. They are programmed for the execution of batches based on a schedule or on the occurrence of another event. Job schedulers also pose challenges for enterprises as they work on one machine at a time.
Suggested Reading =>> Popular Enterprise Job Scheduler Software
Job Scheduling Vs Workload Automation
The table and the image below explain some basic points of difference between the two.
|Points of Comparison||Job Scheduler||Workload Automation|
|Risk of Error||High||Low or nil|
|Scope||Narrow/ limited to one task at a time||Enterprise wide solutions|
|Focus||Time based||Event based|
|Features||Slow and obsolete||Advanced and quick|
Reference=> Origin and Background of batch processing
With an increase in the complexity of the IT environment of enterprises, it is imperative that real-time needs are met. This need could not be fulfilled by the conventional job schedulers. A tool that is based on scheduling on an everyday basis is not sufficient to meet the requirements of a dynamic business. This led to the evolution of workload automation.
IT teams across enterprises are developing solutions to automate the monitoring and scheduling of tasks without any dependency on scripts or scheduling solutions.
Also, Read =>> Workload Automation Vs Workflow Automation
Future Of Workload Automation
It has now become a need for enterprises considering the dynamic ever-changing environment of business. Gone are the days when tasks were managed with manual intervention. These days, business processes have become increasingly complex, and therefore, to depend on humans for managing tasks is not a great decision.
Workload automation as a solution is advancing in terms of its features and efficiency.
In order to fulfill the continuously growing need of the dynamic environment of business, there will certainly be greater demand for workload automation solutions. This also means the capabilities of these solutions will also increase to cater to multiple and hybrid cloud environments.
In the process of moving towards the fulfillment of these objectives, it is important for organizations to be prepared for centralized control, high-end security features, and improved flexibility. Automation is also a growing field, and every organization must be able to use advanced features so as to have a competitive edge in the market.
Over the years, workload automation has grown across platforms, starting from mainframe to servers like Unix and Windows. Its latest solutions have cloud and IT as services, which make it a more complex infrastructure. A lot of organizations have also made a move towards DevOps, which has led to an increased frequency of product releases. In order to meet the needs of this complex environment, the requirement of most agile IT services is imperative.
The traditional methods of workload scheduling lacked visibility of developments across the enterprise. New demands have to be dealt with with solutions that are relevant and quick. This ensures a bright future for workload automation solutions that are reliable, agile, and simple.
Gartner Inc. is known to publish research series which talk about the trends which will influence business, IT, and technology in the future. While the general predictions are that IT will rise to play a crucial role in organizations, more relevant IT predictions can be read here.
Let us look at some of the benefits below:
#1) Reliability: Automation has offered the quickest possible execution of the most complex business tasks, ensuring consistency is maintained. Organizations cannot possibly have any other solution to efficiently manage large volumes of tasks with precision and accuracy. These tasks, when done manually, become repetitive in nature and also increase the possibility of errors.
Automation ensures that tasks are managed and completed in accordance with the business policies every time. Traditional solutions for workload management were not as efficient and require regular fixes to overcome their limitations of accuracy and consistency. Therefore, workload automation is consistent and reliable.
#2) Compatibility and ready to use: The latest workload solutions integrate well with all kinds of technologies across different platforms in the organization and are ready to use. Some of the leading solutions are armed with API connectivity, which reduces the additional task of integrating the automated solution across the complicated enterprise.
This was not the case with traditional schedulers, which required manual configuration and setup for every task which had to be automated. With dependency on manual inputs and the process of setup, the possibilities of risk and error also increase, thereby rendering the solution to be inconsistent.
#3) Flexibility: The latest workload automation solutions are extremely flexible and can adapt quickly to the real-time need of the enterprise. This saves on the cost of any additional infrastructural expenses in terms of expansion of the workforce or training the workforce. These solutions for enterprises can easily be scaled up or down.
#4) Economical: Workload automation solution services also bring along economic benefits. There is no additional cost involved with scaling up to meet the business needs.
#5) Consistency: This is one of the major advantages of workload automation that these solutions can automate all aspects of an enterprise. This allows consistent automation of business processes throughout the enterprise, thereby managing the workload on different servers which reduces errors and increases efficiency.
#6) Centralized control: These tools provide centralized control and are capable of running processes not only on platforms like mainframe, cloud, or other environments but also on external (third-party) applications and operating systems.
#7) Reduced workload for the workforce: Workload automation also reduces the workload for the workforce of the enterprise, and this contributes greatly to the increased efficiency of the staff. Even the most complex tasks can be managed without the need for any extra programming. The reduced manual intervention also reduces the chances of error.
Workload automation solutions not only provide benefits of increased efficiency and reduced manual workload but also enable users to customize workflows that are automated as per requirement.
An example can be seen in the image below:
A step-by-step process of automation begins as soon the decision to adopt workflow automation is taken. The next important step to consider is which workflow is to be automated. It is recommended to start this process with workflows that are critical to business. The initial stages of automation could be a trial to come up with accurate solutions.
The stepwise process of automation for workflow is mentioned below:
Step1: Develop a visual model of the workflow.
Step2: Invite ideas from the workforce who will be regular users of this workflow and include their needs in the development of the model.
Step3: Make a selection from a range of software available that provides the best possible automation solution.
Step4: Select benchmarks and clear indicators to gauge performance from time to time.
Step 5: Check the workflow.
Step 6: Execute the process of automation of workflow and monitor progress.
Further Reading => BEST Hybrid Cloud Workload Automation Software to Look For
Having discussed the benefits and stages of workflow automation, it is interesting to know that while workflows exist in a variety of industries, they can be different for different enterprises and departments. IT, Sales, Legal, and Finance are a few examples.
Each of these departments differs from others in its nature of tasks and products and services. This is an important criterion to decide which workflow is to be automated.
Let us look at some of the types of workflow automation with some examples to understand workflow automation.
#1) IT Automation: In the IT department, one can find many examples of workflows that can be automated. The IT team handles various processes like trouble tickets, requests to support, and also cybersecurity.
An example for the IT team can be to create a real-time response workflow that creates an incident or logs a case as soon as a trigger for a potential cyber threat is detected. Automation of this workflow can take quick actions to curb any such threat or attack by blocking it and creating alerts to identify the source.
#2) Finance Automation: The finance team in an organization has to deal with immense pressure to keep a watch for details while managing the flow of funds throughout the organization. Some of these tasks can be daunting if carried out manually.
Automation can prove to be a blessing for workflows in the finance team. Some of the processes where automation can be really helpful are filling up forms with standard information sourced from the database, approval processes can be routed and payments can be automatic.
#3) Sales Automation: For most people, this may come as a surprise that even sales tasks can be automated. While most of the tasks are manual in nature, it is important to capitalize on automation solutions to ensure that leads generated are worked upon and do not get missed due to delays.
Some tasks which can be automated include recording information of sale leads and assigning it to a salesperson. Creating a follow-up on a lead and bucketing leads into stages (pending, in progress, complete) and generating regular reports are also tasks that can be automated.
#4) Accounting Automation: Just like the Finance team, the tasks of the Accounting team are no less tedious. Most of the tasks involve manual efforts to create reports and reconcile books of accounts. Automation of certain workflows like filing of taxes or verification of receipts can be automated to reduce manual efforts.
#5) HR Automation: The HR team is one of the strongest pillars of an organization. This team carries the responsibility of managing the “personnel” of the organization- the most important resource.
A lot of tasks of the HR team like onboarding of employees, review of performance, approvals, hiring new employees can be automated. The process of automation helps to get rid of trails of emails that are exchanged if these tasks are to be completed manually. This helps to perform these tasks quickly.
In the next section of this article, we analyze some examples where workload automation has been beneficial.
#1) Hanwha Life Boots Insurance company
Hanwha Life is an insurance company based in Korea. The company has personal and corporate clients, and it offers them with benefits of health insurance and retirement policies.
In order to ensure customer satisfaction, the company was faced with a challenge to the processing of transactions for its finance and data team, quick and correct. The company had employed traditional methods of job processing for managing workloads, and this was time-consuming.
The company employed automation solutions and capitalized on the benefits of quick data processing, which helped to increase efficiency and reduce costs.
#2) A trucking company in North America used the workload automation solutions to upload payable accounts, invoices, and data related to asset management and also automated a lot of activities that faced customers.
It automated the tasks in which the trailer tracking software has to be given inputs and data on lease and rental agreements sourced from the transaction system of the company, and then the same is published on the website of the company for customer access.
Let us now see some frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q #1) What is Workload Automation (WLA) software?
Answer: WLA software is software that automatically schedules, initiates, and processes business tasks. It offers the benefits of increased efficiency and reduced errors. It also ensures that the management of multiple tasks is controlled centrally.
Q #2) Does workload automation support event-driven information?
Answer: Yes. Users are able to create triggers for jobs to be executed and these triggers are based on events like file events, message queues, or making changes to the database.
It is true that some enterprises are resisting adopting the modern workload automation services and still continuing with traditional tools of job scheduling, however; it has been proven that adopting the latest workload automation solutions is a sensible choice. These solutions are absolutely simple, agile, error-free, and consistent.
In terms of evaluation of risk, traditional tools have a higher element of risk regarding inconsistency and error. Workload automation may be a matter of choice for now, but trends suggest in near future, it will be a need for businesses and a critical factor offering a competitive edge in the dynamic business world.