The Life and Times of Automation: 13 has always been unlucky

July 19th, 2013 by

Deltron 3030, by Dan the Automator: It was the year 2000, and IT was faced with Y2K – (HAHA) and the stock bubble made everyone, including a young impressionable teenager, think that they were seeing the future. Growing up on terminators and learning to code with C++ led me to my next inevitable step, fixing the IT problems of my parents and their friends, and thus creating a journey that has lasted almost 15 years. However, the Holy Grail was always Automation, allowing folks like me to worry about more interesting challenges.

13 years since Deltron 3030, some interesting things have happened with technology. The advent of cloud computing means that I no longer have to sit around and worry about how my server, or, in some cases, App, is performing; however, the role of IT has not been rendered obsolete as we were constantly told it would be. In fact maybe the opposite is happening; IT is crossing the chasm and bridging different branches of the organization. It’s no longer good enough to just be the technology expert; the CIO is expected to leverage IT to push the business further as well as faster. IT and coders have become mainstream cool, the hoodie is now a fashion statement!

On that basis, I wanted to delve into the question of where automation lies today. Yes, I know about Puppet Labs and all the cool stuff they’re currently doing, but what do people think about IT Automation today? Is it still the Holy Grail, or have we moved on from the automated vision? Was Dan the Automator ahead of his time, or simply a relic of the past? I decided I’d ask Google Trends:
Google IT Automation
As the chart shows, interest in “IT Automation” has actually decreased over the last 8 years. I was shocked by this, and thus started thinking: why this was the case? A few ideas popped to my mind:

  • IT is slow to purchase and buy automation software because it’s a bigger fear to job security than the cloud is.
  • Unlike the cloud, other departments are less likely to purchase automation because they don’t have enough of a technical background.
  • The Great Recession stopped and/or slowed the spend.
  • The products aren’t reliable enough or are too difficult to use.

Over the next 6 weeks, I’ll explore this and the automation space in greater detail through my blog series. By Labor Day 2013, IT should be automated- and ready to have a day off!

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