By Mike Alley, Director, Service Defined Solutions, Logicalis US

To thrive in today’s fast-paced business world, you’ve got to be ready to turn on a dime, which means your organization has to be capable of making changes and decisions in record time. As a result, many IT organizations find themselves in the midst of a digital transformation that requires significant change – not just in the infrastructure they employ, but in the processes they use to deploy the kinds of IT services that keep their organizations competitive every day.

As the chief executive of the IT department, many CIOs are being forced to redefine the way IT works, and they’re finding that automation and orchestration tools have become significantly more important. In fact, the secret to simultaneously delivering critical services to business users and reducing the effort IT spends on the processes required to do so is automation. Experts, however, warn IT pros not to fall into the trap of implementing separate tools to automate each individual task, a practice which can result in an increase in IT management costs as well as the costs to acquire and deploy automation assets.

If no single automation tool will meet every need, then which tools should you deploy for which tasks? That’s a question many CIOs are grappling with today, and it’s why it is so important to create a well thought out automation strategy rather than simply trying to automate processes on the fly. By mapping out a multi-year automation strategy, you will be better prepared to leverage the tools and skillsets at your disposal, your entire data center will operate more smoothly, and your return on investment will be significantly higher in the long run.

To help, we have made a recent infrastructure and operations (I&O) automation research report from information technology research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc., available to you free of charge. You can download your complimentary copy here: http://ow.ly/HJlp305bM8U.

In the report, Gartner suggests a tiered approach to automation planning that breaks its functions into three key categories – IT tasks, IT services, and business services – then suggests that CIOs evaluate, prioritize and consolidate automation technologies accordingly.

IT Task Automation

The kind of automation tools you need for this level of automation are foundational, task-centric tools that automate IT processes and provide the building blocks for the next two tiers.

IT Service Automation

The focus in this tier is on coordinating and automating IT services to make IT more efficient. This includes operations such as application release, cloud management or container management automation.

Business Service Automation

Tools in this tier are all about business process execution – they exist to coordinate workflows that automate the provision of the kinds of services your business values most – onboarding new employees, for example, requires the implementation of critical tasks that include system, networking, data, security, connectivity and mobile services, each of which can be automated to some extent.

Want to learn more? Read the full Gartner automation research report, then find out how automation and orchestration tools can optimize your journey to the cloud and, ultimately, your organization’s digital transformation. You can also read a Logicalis US white paper on IT Operations Management (ITOM), then listen to a recorded ITOM webinar.