I'm sure that some of you thought reading the tittle: "Where is going this guy associating content management with automation?" So let's have a quick look on what are those two things:
- Content management is an inherently collaborative process. Goals of content management is to provide access to the right content to the right people on the form they are able to consume it.
- Automation is the use of control systems and information technologies to reduce the need for human work in the production of goods and services. Goal of automation is to have people taking care of the business having the product line efficient, reactive and predictable at the lowest possible cost.
In Data Center the goal of automation is to have a responsive IT that provides services in an efficient, reactive and predictable way and guess what... at the lowest possible cost. Usually the first focus is to first automate repetitve task with no added value and progressively move to more complex tasks. The main requirement when people are searching tools on this area is easiness to create content and to maintain content, so it is natural to split tools by technical area and functional area: Server, Network, Storage, Virtualization, Application, process, help desk... And all are focusing on their expertise and needs to create content to serve their customers but only on their specific area.
If this approche provide some result, increasing efficiency, reducing cost on some area with some good ROI most organization keep issue on governance management, policy enforcement, bottle neck on high skilled people. Here are some typical examples:
- Changes are not documented because a sysadmin could manage 20 times more servers than before but now time to document the change is more than twice than time to apply the change to put in an other tool data that he already have in his own tool. So, he just doesn't do it anymore.
- People are still executing manually some tasks that have already automation content because they don't know it, they don't think they'll win time as the way to use this content is too complex.
- People are able to exactly specify their need and it could be achieved using existing automation content but this content is in a form that make no sense for them and they need to go thru experts that are involved on all projets and are bottle neck.
- A task require cross domain tasks and so knowlege of each automation tools when information needed to specify this initial task doesn't require any specific knowledge of each domain. Several experts need to be involved each time.
And I can find many other examples. This is mostly a content management problem: publishing the right data to the right place with the right credential in the right format that make it usuable by the targeted end user. That means that for the same automation content you may need to publish it on different way (format) regarding targeted user, it has to be easy to consume by user if you want to get the highest value. That's not a big news, to achieve this you need a platform, a real platform and not a bunch of tools only able to work on their area.
So when you're building DCA, even if you need to go step by step, be sure that you're using building blocks that are participating on a real platfom.