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Automation + Orchestration = A Continuous Journey to Drive Bigger Business Value  

Written By Joanna Smartwood
Aug 29, 2023

The more people realize the many ways automation makes their jobs easier, the more they want to apply it – and not just in IT, but across business departments and for multiple processes. 

By 2025, Gartner predicts

  • 70 percent of organizations will complement continuous delivery of applications with a continuous infrastructure automation to improve business agility, a big jump from less that 20 percent in 2021. 
  • 70 percent of organizations will implement structured infrastructure automation to deliver flexibility and efficiency, which also leaped from 20 percent in 2021.  
  • 25 percent of enterprises will automate more than half of their network activities, an increase from about eight percent in 2022. 

IT individuals have been taking advantage of automation for at least 10 years, but as the stats show, organizations as a whole are gravitating toward the value automation can bring. The impact of automation is changing, in a way that enables IT to get things done faster and with less effort, and that’s shifting as people are generally requesting more IT services.  

Connecting automation to the business value is becoming even more important because of distributed teams, the volume of requests, and how they’re addressed, which shifts attention from individual tasks to end-to-end process automation, like employee onboarding and device provisioning.  

The KPI Conversation Shift: Automation as a Solution-providing Unit 

IT is delivering an incredible amount of services in a digital manner as more and more people adopt online experiences (remote work, online shopping, banking, etc.). It’s the IT-backed connectivity and reliability that keep employees and customers happy and therefore, drive revenue and support new business initiatives. However, IT teams can’t keep up with the overwhelming spike in demand for 24/7 digital services, much less drive the business forward. 

So, the conversation between IT and business leaders is shifting to KPIs. It’s no longer about broad productivity and keeping the lights on; but instead, a shift in the deployment of IT spending percentages to develop new activities. Ideally, there’d be a lessening percentage of the budget going to labor costs and keeping things running, as these areas should be automated by now. End-to-end process automation enables talented IT humans to work toward business outcomes and growth, rather than “crank a wheel.” Automation should be the catalyst to improving the user experience and boosting their productivity, resulting in greater business outcomes. And KPIs can measure that success.  

RELATED E-BOOK: The KPI Compass: Navigating a Clear Path to Automation Success 

When Does Automation Become Orchestration, and then Evolve into Business Outcomes? 

Task automation is absolutely critical as an essential building block of orchestration. Joining the siloed “Lego pieces” enables orchestration of larger processes, and there are a lot of opportunities out there.  

To successfully orchestrate, first comes fully understanding the end-to-end process and mapping it out according to the business. This could likely mean interviewing a lot of people on different teams (AIOps, ITSM, NetOps, ITOps, etc.) to learn what they’re doing and how. From silo to silo, there might not be a defined, updated standard operating procedure (SOP), for example, so while thinking about orchestration, a process improvement cycle of SOPs starts to emerge where automation can be applied. The result of building end-to-end automation and starting orchestration is immensely valuable for the business.  

There’s a shift in outcomes because there’s a shift in focus. Automation used to be thought of as making service level agreements (SLAs) more deliverable, for instance. But orchestration unlocks the ability to better understand the customer journey and drive business results accordingly.  

Yes – there’s a slight difference between automation and orchestration, but now, the “big, big picture” becomes clear. It can become less about the technology and each individual point solution, and more about how each step relies on the previous step, and what should happen next. Once the process is in place, teams can then watch along and continuously identify opportunities for further improvement, which positively impacts the end user’s experience. 

Automation Versus Orchestration: It’s Not a Competition 

Not even a little bit!  

Automation and orchestration are very complementary. Existing automations, perhaps for scripts IT professionals have been writing, construct orchestrated processes. It’s just another step of the end-to-end process automation journey  to get additional value from those already-built automations, and further down the path of driving bigger business outcomes.  

For example, organizations can group a couple of automations and cross-siloed IT processes together into a smaller orchestrated experience, and still drive significant business value.  

In fact, the best way to think of it is: Automation + orchestration = bigger business outcomes.  

It’s simple math that not only allows a business to flourish, but impacts each individual IT team member as well. Automation is a journey within IT, and opportunities to automate and orchestrate will pop up along the way, but not without challenge. When IT is drowning in the mundane, tedious activities that are well-suited for automation, it only holds productivity back. In these cases, task-based automation can provide immediate relief by freeing up time and resources within IT. From there, IT staff can realize where their effort could drive the most business value—and then—identify opportunities for orchestration, tie them to business goals, and align effort accordingly. It’s about having a longer, bigger vision in place and automating end-to-end processes continuously over time.  

Getting Started: No Two Journeys are Alike 

There’s still a lot for IT teams to discover when it comes to automation and orchestration, including where to start and how to get going, and what end-to-end process automation benefits they can expect to see. 

Multiple entry points allow each organization to start in a way that fits its unique needs. Most commonly, automation starts with the many tasks of employee onboarding and employee offboarding. Those business-critical processes can make or break high-performing talents’ experiences working for a company. New hires need to get up and running and producing valuable work right away. They depend on simple things like access to email and various systems as they apply to their specific role. And when their time with an employer ends, they must be offboarded properly to protect the company from security threats. Overflowing with moving pieces, swivel-chair communication, and unnecessary delays, automating the countless tasks of each process can easily, through a natural progression, become orchestrated from end-to-end.  

Organizations, along the journey should keep in mind that the value of what they’re automating at one certain time might not be applicable to just that company on one particular day, but it can grow to apply to broader IT workflows and processes down the road. As organizations start to build automations along their journey, it’s important to stop and reflect on which areas of the business make the most sense for automation, and where the bigger picture will evolve. With each step taken, and as businesses increasingly automate and orchestrate processes, success lies in looking ahead to future-proof the organization as a whole.  

Get the full scoop! Watch the entire on-demand webinar, “Unravelling the IT Riddle: Automation or Orchestration – Who Wins?” to learn how both work together to drive the greatest business value.  

About the author, Joanna Smartwood :

About the author, Joanna Smartwood :

Head of Demand Generation, Content & Creative

Joanna Swartwood is Head of Demand Generation, Content & Creative at Resolve Systems. With 20+ years’ experience in developing and running high-performing marketing campaigns, Joanna is passionate about curating demand gen strategies that deliver pipeline and revenue growth. Demand gen in the B2B SaaS tech space is Joanna’s career calling.