Data is more important in business than ever before. The sheer volume of data that is generated, collected, and analyzed on a daily basis has dramatically increased in the past decade. Real-time processes are now the norm, transactions are more complex and varied, supply chain and inventory logistics are increasingly important, and, of course, the need for agile and responsive cybersecurity underpins everything.
Business workflows can easily become bogged down under the weight of so many moving parts, and slower processes mean less productivity—and ultimately lost profits. Agile and rapid business workflows are one of the keys to continued success in the modern, data-driven environment, and one of the best ways to ensure that is with workload automation.
Workload Automation, or WLA, generally refers to a specific kind of software centered on executing business workflows through scheduled and automated tasks with minimal required human intervention. Workload automation enables not only the automation of batch and dependent processes across a variety of environments but also allows for centralized management. Time-consuming tasks can be effectively identified and streamlined, improving the overall productivity of an organization.
In many ways, job scheduling is a precursor of workload automation. Although WLA is built around many of the same core tasks, job scheduling is much less flexible and tied to a single system environment. Job scheduling can be executed at specific times or with specific trigger events to automate batch jobs on a single system but requires much more human intervention.
For more complex systems requiring intensive scheduling, maintenance, and data handling, job scheduling’s limitations prove inadequate. Workload automation not only offers much greater flexibility but also provides greater abilities to handle scheduled and event-triggered processes, no matter how varied or across how many systems.
It also eliminates much of the need for human oversight and intervention, and when human interaction is required, it is made more efficient through the use of a single point of control. Workload automation makes job and process automation across your enterprise not only more powerful but also simpler, more efficient, and more reliable.
Workload automation involves scheduling, executing, and analyzing business tasks in IT departments or managerial back-offices, usually through a single application or dashboard. This application manages various workloads across both physical and virtual environments, and increasingly also cloud environments that might exist between two or more separate physical locations.
Workflow automation can run batch processes independently and concurrently across different systems in different environments and allow for more efficient data handling with a low- or no-code approach that minimizes expensive and time-intensive code or script writing by IT personnel.
While things like job scheduling or batch processing consist mainly of running groups of processes on single machines at scheduled intervals, workload automation consists of interrelated tools that run processes across different environments when triggered by specific events.
This allows for increased coordination between different processes, locations, and operating systems, resulting in fewer resource conflicts and the more efficient and effective use of infrastructure assets. More importantly, it focuses on initiating these multi-environment processes with little or no human interaction.
Workload automation tools give your IT staff the ability to manage different workflows across as many environments as you have in your business from a central point or single application. This results in marked improvements in the productivity of your IT personnel as well as more effective use of your tech infrastructure.
It provides seamless integration and better coordination between servers and operating systems used by your organization, as well as increases in the efficiency of data allocation and use. Improved data management also brings benefits in cybersecurity and a reduction in the number of system errors, further driving productivity and guarding against expensive downtime.
Workflow automation can also increase the speed and adaptability of your organization through the centralized, single-application model, and managing data from different departments means you’ll have better visibility and transparency, optimized data storage requirements, single-source reliance for data integrity, and a much easier time achieving and maintaining compliance.
Another major benefit of workload automation is the ability it brings to automate processes across your entire organization regardless of the environment—on-premises, cloud, or hybrid. This enables end-to-end process automation that results in increased efficiency, fewer errors, and an overall increase in productivity.
The different departments in an organization traditionally relied on different automation tools to perform specific tasks. Bringing data together from those varying environments could not only be time-consuming and labor-intensive but prone to errors that require lengthy validation processes to prevent.
Workload automation software can manage multiple platforms from a single application, which streamlines the process considerably and avoids any added complexity with changing or integrating software in the various departments of your organization.
It saves money in reducing licensing costs incurred by multiple automation and scheduling tools, eliminates the expenses associated with multiple data storage facilities, and of course enables more robust security.
There’s a reason workload automation is a growth market. Businesses handle more and more complex environments with varied and disparate systems processing data critical to their success. There’s a growing need to centralize control over the tasks necessary to collect and use that information to drive larger business decisions, and workload automation is, for many, the way forward.