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Bimodal IT and Automating IT Stack | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps #Microservices

Your shiny new app is only effective if quickly integrated within its ecosystem

What Do Bimodal IT, Automating Your Complex IT Stack and a Supercar Have in Common?
By Dave Kellermanns

In the Bimodal model we find two areas of IT - the traditional kind where the main concern is keeping the lights on and the IT focusing on agility and speed, where everything needs to be faster.

Today companies are investing in new technologies and processes to emulate their most agile competitors. Gone are the days of waterfall development and releases only every few months. Today's IT and the business it powers demands performance akin to a supercar - everything needs to be faster, every screw is tuned over and over again to gain maximum speed and agility; to edge out competitors. With new technologies and approaches come new software packages, technologies and processes.

When you buy a solution to solve the ever-changing business needs of Bimodal IT, you expect it to work. You did the research and this shiny new solution is just the thing you need to solve your problem, fast. However it needs to be integrated into the existing ecosystem of other complex legacy applications, infrastructure and business processes, as IT cannot (and should not) work in individual silos.

This is where the real headache begins - most solutions these days have APIs, such as Command Line, Java, Web Services, etc. But they are typically generic interfaces to enable access from the outside and are not specific to other applications you already have in place. To solve the dilemma we often employ an internal developer to "glue" those applications together with custom interfaces and homegrown scripts. However, we are then responsible for maintaining these through new versions of the applications. Also, these "custom interfaces" can become the problem themselves if two applications can not talk to each other anymore.

Take that supercar example: it is made of approximately 30,000 parts down to the smallest screws. Some of these are made by the original manufacturer of the car, but often components are outsourced (switches, relays, fuses, radios etc.). Despite their different suppliers and standards, these parts need to work together to make the supercar work as a whole.

Today's car manufactures have an amazingly simple solution to this complex problem - the wiring harness. It connects most of the electrical parts of a car together to create an orchestrated nerve system, ensuring different elements from a variety of vendors play nice with each other. Also, if a solution is switched from one vendor to another or an enhanced version of a component is introduced - say the customer would like a premium radio unit versus the standard option or a more powerful engine is developed - the harness itself can be easily adapted without redesigning the whole car.

In IT, an automation layer provides a wiring harness equivalent. Individual solutions on premise (such as SAP, Hadoop, VMware, Siebel, Informatica) as well as cloud-based solutions like Azure, AWS or Salesforce can be easily connected with an enterprise-grade Business Automation platform using out-of-the-box templates and pre-build interfaces.

These enable IT to quickly introduce new software packages and applications into the IT stack without having to redesign the whole process model. There is no more need to use an internal developer to create bespoke solutions to hold everything together. With automation templates and interfaces it just works. IT can create single end-to-end, reusable and repeatable workflows that give businesses the agility they crave. With this model new apps can act as competitive differentiators right away.

Coupled with an easy-to-use, web-based user frontend, the automation equivalent of the wiring harness can extend far beyond IT and provide access to complex tasks and requests to business and application users. They can now log on to an audited service desk to request new servers, or deploy new applications and releases to lower tier environments. In the past this would involve lengthy IT processes, taking weeks if not months. Giving business users that level of access frees up valuable IT staff from merely keeping the lights on and gives them the time and autonomy to be truly innovative and creative.

As such a Business Automation Platform is the key component for Bimodal IT - it enables IT to achieve the agility needed to develop, deploy, test and deliver the innovative new capabilities businesses require in a competitive marketspace, at pace.

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Automic, a leader in business automation, helps enterprises drive competitive advantage by automating their IT factory - from on-premise to the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

With offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Automic powers over 2,600 customers including Bosch, PSA, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Deutsche Post, Societe Generale, TUI and Swisscom. The company is privately held by EQT. More information can be found at www.automic.com.