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Red Hat: Navigating Uncertainty – IT Automation Needs a Holistic Strategy

Today’s financial service institutions (FSIs) are faced with a number of complex challenges. Not only are they under pressure to cut costs and remain resilient in an uncertain economic climate, but they also need to drive growth in an industry that is constantly being disrupted.

One way to tackle these challenges is by ensuring a smooth transition to end-to-end automation, with a balanced focus on people, processes and technology. This is easier said than done though. According to Armin M. Warda, FSI EMEA chief technologist, Red Hat, the open source solution provider, there are six key ways in which organisations can achieve this:

Navigating uncertainty:  IT automation needs a holistic strategy
Armin M. Warda, FSI EMEA chief technologist, Red Hat
Armin M. Warda, FSI EMEA chief technologist, Red Hat

Today’s financial service institutions (FSIs) are faced with a number of complex challenges. Not only are they under pressure to cut costs and remain resilient in an uncertain economic climate, but they also need to drive growth in an industry that is constantly being disrupted.

With this digital change, IT teams are tasked with maintaining and managing systems that comprise legacy infrastructure, cloud services and everything in between, which requires a great deal of time, money and resources.

Having a robust IT strategy in place during these times is a top priority for all FSIs. It is a necessity for streamlining processes and innovating with agility in hybrid cloud environments while remaining compliant. IT automation is a fundamental part of that picture. Furthermore, it helps organisations maintain a seamless operating framework, ensure consistency and cyber resilience as well as enhance compliance.

The need to ensure IT automation is as effective as possible points FSIs towards a strategic approach. Instead of driving small pockets of automation, which can add complexity and hinder interoperability, FSIs can look to break down silos and implement end-to-end automation, spanning different domains.

As with any large transformation, making this shift means carefully considering everything from existing technology and processes, to culture. As follows are some key considerations for ensuring a smooth transition and to make the most of the investment.

 People first: get organisation buy-in and alignment

An effective end-to-end automation strategy should always start with people. Change management and fostering an open culture where knowledge is shared across departments are essential. Especially for ensuring employees feel involved and comfortable every step of the way.

It’s important people understand that automation is a tool they have control over and is something they can use to become more productive and create better results. Setting output metrics early on and defining realistic intermediate goals is key for gauging the success of the programme and rewarding achievements.

Clear reporting and measurement helps to raise awareness of the benefits of automation within the C-Suite, creating all-important advocacy. Working together to identify successful automation projects and celebrating them in company-wide meetings and internal sharing platforms helps increase adoption and brings consistency to automation practices.

Put structures in place to manage complex transformation

This involves establishing clear owners and accountability ahead of time, as well as identifying automation champions in each IT department and making sure they stay connected. This could include agreeing on a dedicated ‘automation day’ each week or month, where IT dedicates time to help other teams overcome challenges through automation.

Opt for a single, unifying enterprise automation solution

Instead of trying to connect different automation islands, organisations can select a single scalable platform that helps IT teams easily implement and manage automation across different segments of the organisation. An integrated platform with lifecycle support can help reduce the time IT teams spend on management and maintenance.

Features such as certified and supported content, hosted management and access to professional services provide organisations with greater support in their automation journey. It’s vital to have security implemented early in the development process, taking Policy-as-Code and DevSecOps approaches, and to automate and integrate different security solutions across the organisation. This helps streamline the process of investigating and responding to threats in a coordinated, unified way.

Free up time for human creativity

Part of strategic automation is planning what to do with the time that’s freed up. FSIs can enable talented IT professionals to focus on what they are best at – the more creative, ‘value-add’ aspects of their job, such as IT modernisation and innovating to deliver better experiences for customers. In the midst of sectors and departments being asked to economize while still supporting business growth, IT can play a pivotal role in providing genuine differentiation where it is most needed.

Marry automation with AI

IT automation is essential in helping FSIs to remain compliant within a strict, constantly changing regulatory environment. One example is reporting back on technology. Take AI: when a model has been developed, it must be monitored for bias and drift and decide if it needs more fine-tuning or retraining.

This is increasingly important in light of the proposed EU Artificial Intelligence Act, which aims to strengthen rules around data quality, transparency, human oversight and accountability. Automation can simplify this process and ensure monitoring is consistent and continuous.

Elevated enterprise-wide automation

Fortunately, FSIs have made great strides in adopting IT automation. The priority now should be elevating this work, through scaling automation in a controlled, informed way across the enterprise.

Creating a strategy with a balanced focus on people, processes and technology is crucial to success. By implementing a flexible, security-focused foundation and managing employees through change, organisations will be able to deploy automation that enhances collaboration and drives innovation. Taking this approach, they will be better placed to navigate the current tumultuous economic landscape, while continuing to drive business-critical growth.

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