The other day I was discussing a particular process that gets performed ad-hoc and how we could turn that workflow into an automated process and then tie it into a self-service request. This particular process had been done for years by a few folks manually running scripts and submitting data to a few services via web interfaces. It worked relatively well and the particular manager I was talking with was of the mindset that if it worked, let it be, there were other more important things to work on.
I then pulled out one of my favorite words to use when talking about Workload Automation - visibility.
Wouldn't it be great to have visibility into that process? To know where we were in the chain, if a failure occurred somewhere, and get an estimate of how much longer we had to go?
The manager lit up with excitement, and that "Thanks, but no" turned into a "Yes! Yes! Yes!" In less than two days we had the process automated, setup so that end users could access it via a self-service mechanism and fully visible.
Visibility is one of the great benefits of Workload Automation. Often we tend to talk about the IT benefits of getting process flows automated or put into a Workload Automation system and we tend to forget that many of the workflows we support are IT-driven, but are supporting business units on the other side. Managers often don't care how something gets done, just that it gets done. They want information and insight into the process, whatever it may be. Give them more than they had now - such as visibility - and you will always win them over.
Batch scripts litter network drives everywhere. CRON and Scheduled tasks hide on servers across data centers around the world. Those scripts are great for what they do - and indeed they are a first step in the automation cycle - but they provide zero visibility into what is happening and how it impacts the rest of the business. What happens when the person that runs that batch script on their desktop leaves for vacation for two weeks? How about maternity leave for 6 months? The work stops happening often times without anyone away until weeks or months later when someone notices data missing.
We talk about agility in IT operations, but how agile is our business processes if they are still depending on people and processes hidden away on servers? Agility depends on visibility. A set of tasks that is only known to one or two people stops agility in it's tracks when those people suddenly aren't available, or something goes wrong and only one person can diagnose it while entire groups of people are scrambling to figure out why a process that has worked for years has suddenly stopped without any warning.
The next time you get the age-old question of "Why should I put this into Control-M?" ask them if visibility matters. You may find you turn the entire conversation around, and give people a new way of thinking about the benefits of Workload Automation.