General Principles Of Automation And Deployment For Process Design And Implementation
This blog post is an effort towards expanding horizons of understanding about automated provisioning and deployment of end-user-requested services [Client or Customer].
The end-to-end process design and its deployment are a time-to-value proposition. The process can be categorized into two segments, namely, request and fulfillment.
The request phase is mainly a governance and sequence of workflow activity, while fulfillment is inclusive of both the technical tasks of provisioning and IT governance.
In several legacy environments, request and fulfillment are used to be manual processes and hence relatively inefficient.
Fulfillment activities fall entirely in the IT group and consists of tasks like as server (whether physical or virtual) provisioning, application standup, and configuration.
Activities falling in the request phase are inclusive of processing the user’s request, validating funding, and securing management approval. Such activities add up to a substantial amount of time that is often longer than the fulfillment phase.
Each organization has unique requirements and constraints that should be taken into account while designing a comprehensive, end-to-end solution applicable for automated provisioning and deployment. But, these common principles are applicable to virtually all automation initiatives. The list below is the general principles taken into consideration for automation and deployment of process designing.
Principle # 1: Define and Document Each Processes
Generally, in the request phase, the provisioning and deployment processes have no formal definitions at all; this approach has potentially significant drawbacks, inclusive of inconsistent outcomes, the wide variance in cost of labor and process duration, unreliable or missing metrics, and poor management visibility.
Before the IT group move forward for automating the provisioning and deployment process, IT should document the existing processes thoroughly, characterizing every process in context to key metrics, and optimize manual processes as much as possible.
Principle # 2: Determine Process Owners
It is difficult to own a process in case it lacks an accurate and thorough definition and it’s hard to have an accurate and thorough definition incase no one owns the process.
Determining owners is highly important aspect when the IT group commences to optimize and automate the process of provisioning and deployment.
Process owners require being included in all phases of the process optimization and automation, for providing valuable insight into the business needs, maintaining quality assurance, and testing phase of process automation.
Principle # 3: Optimize Processes Prior to get Automated
When IT managers determine processes which are required for automation, their tendency is to plunge right into the technology deployment. But, experience clearly depicts that automating an inefficient process has restricted value and might be result to counter productivity.
Rather, a recommended prerequisite is required to be optimized the process as much as possible before automating it.
The strategies such as DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control), the core process which are used to drive Six Sigma projects and LEAN, offer structured approaches for process improvement.
Such approach enables IT managers to understand the precise location of process delays and minimize them as much as possible.
Principle # 4: Establishing Baseline Metrics
Automating the provisioning and implementation process is not a one-time activity, however an ongoing activity which requires continuous evaluation and improvement.
To direct their decision making, IT managers must characterize baseline metrics prior of implementing the automated system.
An imperative baseline metric is the present end-to-end time from business request to service activation. Such measurement generates the reference point to identify the benefit of optimizing the existing process as well as automating the process. Other useful metrics consists of number of incidents concerned to provisioning, system outages as a consequence of configuration errors, and satisfaction levels of business users.
The metrics must be consistently measured during and after rolling out the automated provisioning process to gauge the actual versus expected advantages and provide hard data for orienting further improvements.
Principle # 5: Develop Policies to Orient Automation
Governance might be the bottleneck which is among a factor for slowing down provisioning and restricting the benefits of cloud. To combat such challenge, companies should transition from a manual approval process to policy-based governance workflow.
Standardization plays an immense role to begin with the request process. The request form must be easily accessible to all potential consumers, an intranet portal is most of the time best approach and must be streamlined such that users might quickly understand and make choices, without depending on the help desk.
Once the request is made, the rest of the process is directed by pre-established policies. Approval routing is automated depending on predetermined levels of essential authorization.
Service catalog services and solutions correspond to application stacks which have been tested, configured, and characterized ahead of time, averting the need to involve designers in the fulfillment cycle.
The infrastructure must have adequate capacity in place to elude purchasing and installation delays. In brief, a policy-based workflow permits routine requests to be approved and fulfilled through an automated workflow. Hands-on IT intervention must be the exception, not the rule.
Principle # 6: Update and Upgrade Financial Controls
To attain efficiency in the request phase of provisioning needs reassessing of the financial controls.
Ensure they support the required workflow velocity. Requiring full management approval for all expenditure, irrespective of how small, it might be an obstacle to agility and efficiency.
Consequently, many companies are experimenting with alternative models of financial governance which provide adequate control without imposing unessential constraints on the rapid response to changing requirements.
One method is to give business users a preapproved “line of credit” which they may spend for required services without equipped with explicit approval for individual requests.
Other organizations depend on monthly reporting with show back systems to train business users about the financial effect of their service consumption and establish accountability. All system of financial controls requires a well-defined process for handling exceptions on a prioritized basis, this is vital to support rapid response to unforeseen alterations in the marketplace.
Principle # 7: Create an Independent Pilot Deployment
To avert impacting existing services, cloud initiatives like automated provisioning and deployment must be implemented in a pilot environment where IT may thoroughly test and calculate the architecture and components before shifting them into production.
A pilot also permits important stakeholders to try out the new system and offer feedback and serves as a training platform for the new users. When the pilot deployment demonstrates the needed levels of performance, usability, and stability, IT can commence to transition the automated system into the production environment.