Some time ago I published an article on the future of IT operation after we are through with all the ITIL implementations (still) taking place. Assuming that all the nice failure handling, proactive failure avoiding and communication processes like Incident, Problem, Capacity and Availability Management are in place, implementing automation is the logical way to move ahead. Compared to implementing ITIL automation actually changes the things that are done and the way they are done. As you may have guessed this statement alone was fertile ground for interesting and heated debating.
Generally the article concluded that implementing the ITIL processes concentrates on the interfaces between IT experts, clients, business requirements and the like where automation concentrates on the way IT operation is actually “produced” (in an industrial meaning of the word). Even though these two may be viewed separately the article shows how an automation environment highly depends on monitoring and IT component data. An ITIL environment puts forth a valid definition of both data sources for a complete IT environment and is therefore a good foundation to start implementing automation.
An IT operations environment with implemented ITIL processes also has common interfaces to the acting staff members. This makes it very easy to “inject” a new entity – like an automation engine – into the whole system. In such an approach the automation engine wraps itself around the data sources of CMDB and monitoring systems. All communication that would today be directed towards human recipients is handled by the automation engine first. Only if the automation engine is not able to complete the task the IT experts are involved.
This short description reveals how well an ITIL implementation prepares an IT organization for implementing automation. It also shows how automation is made completely transparent to the business using the IT – as the automation engine acts like any human entity taking part in the ITIL processes.
The article itself gives a short overview of the “operational” ITIL processes and how their implementation builds the foundation for automation. If you are interested you may read the whole text here.