Celebrating the 15th Annual Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit – Presenter Q&A with Carl Lehmann

Interview with Carl Lehmann, Principal Analyst

Automation remains one of the hottest topics in IT. Principal Analyst Carl Lehmann knows this all too well, and will bring his insight to the “Automation Effectiveness – Are you Prepared to Compete for the Future?” session at the Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit (HCTS), which will be on September 24 at 4:20pm PDT, in the Orovada Breakout Room 2 at the Aria in Las Vegas.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?
A: Aggressive digital business strategies and the scarcity of IT expertise on the open market have made the automation of IT processes a high priority. There are several fundamental levels of automation available to enterprise IT organizations. In general, they include infrastructure and cloud services provisioning, continuous deployments as part of DevOps strategy, and IT services management automation. All require new approaches to enable IT toolchain interoperability across what is now a highly distributed and diverse hybrid IT architecture. New approaches to IT automation will be the topic of this moderated discussion panel.

Q: Why is this topic significant?
A: To compete effectively in the modern digital business era, enterprises must seek new competitive advantages. While there are many ways to achieve this, common to nearly all enterprises is the need to improve business and IT process efficiencies, and to automate these improvements so they execute reliably and consistently.

In a recent 451 Research survey, we asked business and IT decision-makers about their current and expected future automation efforts. Of the 881 respondents, 50% stated that automation in their IT environment is mostly manual, with some automated processes; 75% say they expect this to change, citing IT automation to increase in the next 12 months.
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Featured Data: VotE Survey Results Indicate that Automation Investment is on the Rise

Contributed by Principal Analyst Carl Lehmann

IT Environment automation - clehmann
According to our latest Voice of the Enterprise – Digital Pulse: Budgets & Outlook survey data, 58% of respondents indicated that their current IT environments are either highly or mostly reliant on manual processes. As these businesses move toward digital transformation, these organizations need to be able to tackle new IT projects that will allow them to adapt to digital disruption, adopt new technologies, and meet new business objectives. Automation is a key tool that can allow IT teams to refocus their time on these new projects. Thus, it is sensible that 75% of VotE respondents indicated they expect to increase their automation investment in the next 12 months.

I see this trend as a key driver for digital business and the future of hybrid IT as businesses transform for the future. This will be an important element as I collect my insights for my presentation – “Automation Effectiveness – Are You Prepared to Compete for the Future?” – at the 15th annual Hosting & Cloud Transformation Summit this coming September. Register today to get the insights you will need as you navigate the digital revolution.
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Has Integrated Automation conquered the land RPA and AI once battled for?

Contributed by Principal Analyst Carl Lehmann 

Much the way Winter came for the Game of Thrones heroes in the new season (we promise this is the only Game of Thrones reference and we will not share any spoilers), there is talk spreading in the tech industry that Integrated Automation has come to displace tools like robotic process automation (RPA). We certainly don’t disagree, in fact, we predicted back in 2017 that RPA companies would likely not survive as stand-alone vendors.

In this report from April 2017, we predicted that RPA vendors that focused only on automating repetitive tasks, while very welcome in many IT departments in the short term, would be less likely to survive as stand-alone vendors compared to more sophisticated platforms that can call upon various machine-learning (ML) technologies to add contextual awareness and guidance of unstructured interactions toward desired outcomes. Even RPA platforms that can automate based on rules, conditional routing and logical operations, and modify behavior based on their learnings were also considered tech that would likely be subsumed into ML platforms of hyperscale CSPs, IT leviathans and tool kits of larger systems integrators, according to our analysts. In our opinion, it was unlikely RPA would last long as a stand-alone product.

Again in August 2017, our analyst team noted a rising trend with BPM software transforming into a process- and content-oriented application development and runtime platform, which we coined as 'digital automation platform' (DAP). DAPs, as referenced in the report, will emerge as uniform development, integration and runtime environments that enable intelligent process automation (IPA) – a managerial discipline focused on intuitive user experiences, contextual awareness and transparent execution. Much like what others are describing as Integrated Automation today, DAP would require RPA capabilities – to create software 'bots' that automate repetitive human activities in business processes – and AI integration – to expose 'next best guess' activities for application developers and users (process stakeholders) and extract insight – in one solution. In particular, RPA was cited to “likely become a core enabling technology in several DAP vendors' offerings.” 

In short, DAPs and Integrated Automation sound less like the death of RPA and similar technologies, and more like the next logical evolution toward accelerating business operations and making them efficient. Both describe feature-rich development platforms for content- and process-oriented applications, and a method to extract knowledge from automated execution to meet the innovation and operational efficiency needs of enterprises. In fact, our most recent research highlighting this evolution (in this spotlight report, now available for public access) covers why we believe the core tools needed to discover and effect how value and advantage are created include next-generation DAPs, RPA technology, hybrid integration platforms (HIPs), and process mining technologies (PMT) platforms. 451 Research clients can access all Market Insight reports on RPA and DAP and beyond in our Research Dashboard. Don’t have access? Apply for a Trial.

Much the way Winter has come for the Game of Thrones heroes in the new season (we promise this is the only Game of Thrones reference and we will not share any spoilers), there is talk spreading in the tech industry that Integrated Automation has come to displace tools like robotic process automation (RPA). We certainly don’t disagree, in fact we predicted back in 2017 that RPA companies would likely not survive as a stand-alone vendors.

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