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IT Automation 2024: Top Tools, Examples, Rationale & Benefits

78% of IT professionals experience increasing pressure on their IT infrastructure and operational processes due to changing business demands and dynamic IT landscape.1 

IT automation can help deal with such pressure by automating manual processes in IT operations and increasing visibility to end to end processes. IT automation software can help reduce operating costs, increase competitive advantage, and reduce human interaction and errors. However, many organizations reported their hesitations regarding adopting IT automation because: 

  • Automated systems are complex to design and build by 73%
  • There are many IT automation tools by 69%.2 

In this article, we’ll respond to any questions that business leaders and IT teams can ask about IT automation. 

The graph displays average scores and number of B2B reviews for top IT automation software providers.
Figure 1: Average score and the number of B2B reviews for top 12 IT automation software provider in 4 categories. 

What is IT automation, and how does it work?

IT automation streamlines and automates various IT tasks and repeatable processes within the field of information technology. It employs tools like scripts, workflows, and machine learning capabilities, such as natural language processing, to reduce manual intervention in software deployment, system monitoring and configuration, and data backups.

By automating these tasks, IT professionals can improve efficiency, accuracy, and productivity, allowing them to focus on more complex and strategic aspects of their work. Ultimately, IT automation helps organizations save time, reduce errors, and achieve greater operational effectiveness.

IT professionals leverage various automation technologies and platforms to create predefined rules, workflows, or scripts that specify how these tasks should be performed. The automation tools then execute these instructions, eliminating the need for manual intervention. This not only improves efficiency and accuracy but also allows IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives, problem-solving, and innovation within the organization.

What is an example of IT automation?

For example, a company want to deploy an IT automation tool in their cloud services to streamline managing their cloud infrastructure and apps. Here are some ways IT automation can be applied to cloud operations:

  1. Deployment automation: When deploying new versions of applications or updates to the cloud environment, automation can simplify the process. By leveraging Infrastructure as Code (IaC) frameworks, the IT team can define the desired infrastructure configuration and application stack as code. Then the automated system can provide network configurations and cloud deployments based on the code-defined specifications. This ensures consistency, reduces human error, and speeds up deployment.
  2. Backup and disaster recovery: IT automation can automate backup and disaster recovery processes for cloud services. For example, the automation system can schedule regular backups of cloud-based databases, file systems, or other critical data, ensuring data integrity and availability.  In a disaster or system failure, the automation system can initiate recovery, automatically provisioning and configuring the necessary resources to restore the application and data to a functional state.
    1. As a real-life example, Netflix, a leading streaming media provider, implemented backup and disaster recovery automation tools to ensure the availability and integrity of their services. 3 
  3. Cloud provisioning: Cloud services often incur costs based on resource consumption, which requires dynamic provisioning and scaling resources on-demand. IT automation can help optimize resource usage and minimize costs. For instance, an automation system can be configured to identify idle or underutilized cloud instances and automatically shut them down during non-peak hours. Additionally, it can analyze resource utilization patterns, identify opportunities for rightsizing or resizing instances, and make automated recommendations for optimizing. 
  4. Auto scaling: The company’s application experiences varying traffic levels throughout the day. IT automation can implement auto-scaling to ensure optimal performance and cost efficiency. This involves setting up policies and rules that automatically adjust the number of cloud instances based on real-time demand. For example, suppose the CPU utilization exceeds a certain threshold. In that case, the automation system can automatically spin up additional instances to handle the increased load.
    1. A case study from AirBnB, the online marketplace for accommodation and travel experiences, shows how to utilize auto scaling for handling peak periods.The demand for their services can surge during busy booking periods or specific events. Therefore, Airbnb leveraged auto-scaling to automatically scale up their infrastructure, ensuring they have enough computing resources to handle the increased traffic and deliver a seamless booking experience to their users. 4 
  5. Monitoring and alerting: Automation can be employed to monitor the health and performance of cloud operations. The automation system can continuously collect and analyze metrics such as CPU utilization, network traffic, and storage usage.  Based on predefined thresholds and rules, it can generate alerts or trigger automated actions when anomalies or critical events occur, such as scaling up resources or notifying the IT team.

What IT automation is used for?

Some common IT automation use cases include:

Configuration and deployment automation

  1. Infrastructure provisioning: Automating the deployment and configuration of servers, virtual machines, networks, and storage resources.
  2. Configuration management: Automating the management and enforcement of consistent configurations across IT infrastructure, including operating systems, applications, and network devices.
  3. Compliance and security auditing: Automating compliance checks, security audits, and log analysis to ensure adherence to regulatory standards and security best practices.
  4. Software deployment: Automating software application installation, configuration, and updates across multiple systems or environments.
  5. Monitoring and Alerting: Automating the monitoring of system performance, resource utilization, and application availability, with automated alerts and notifications for potential issues.

Process and Workflow Automation

  1. Incident and problem management: Automating the handling and resolution of incidents and problems through predefined workflows and escalation processes.
  2. Workflow orchestration: Workflow orchestration tools automate the coordination and sequencing of complex workflows involving multiple systems and processes.

Data management automation

  1. Backup and recovery: Automating the backup and recovery of critical data, ensuring regular and consistent data protection and disaster recovery processes.
  2. Data integration and ETL (Extract, Transform, Load)Automating data extraction, transformation, and loading processes to ensure accurate and timely data integration across systems.

Other IT automation examples

  1. DevOps and Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): Automating software development and deployment processes, including code compilation, testing, integration, and release.

These are just a few examples, as IT automation can be applied to various other routine tasks and processes depending on an organization’s specific needs and goals. Check out to see 60+ examples and details in our comprehensive IT automation use cases article

Why do we need to automate IT?

The interest in IT automation has gradually increased since 2011, as Google Trends indicate. Organizations experience some challenges that can explain such an upward trajectory. 

Google Trends graph shows the interest for IT automation in Google search.
Figure 2: Interest in IT automation since 2011 on Google Trends 5  

IT automation can tackle various issues IT business leaders experience:

Besides these issues, IT ops teams mention the most important challenges to their productivity:

  • IT landscape complexity by 76%
  • Fragmented toolchains by 69%
  • Shortage of skills by 60%. 6 

These organizations can deploy IT automation tools to overcome these barriers. 

Benefits of IT automation

IT automation ensures operational excellence, reduces costs and provides greater agility in the ever-evolving digital landscape through the listed benefits:

  1. Increased efficiency: Automation eliminates manual tasks, reduces human errors, and completes processes faster, leading to improved efficiency.
  2. Reduced costs: By automating repetitive tasks, organizations can save time and reduce labor costs, allowing resources to be allocated to more critical areas.
  3. Improved accuracy: Automation ensures consistent execution of essential tasks according to predefined rules and standards, minimizing the risk of human error and enhancing accuracy.
  4. Scalability: Automation enables organizations to scale their operations without significant additional resources by efficiently handling larger workloads and accommodating business growth.
  5. Enhanced productivity: By automating routine tasks, IT professionals can focus on more strategic activities and innovative initiatives, driving productivity and creativity within the organization. For example, 73% of IT teams that already benefitted from IT automation evaluated as great opportunity to refocus on higher value tasks. 
  6. Increased agility: Automation allows organizations to respond quickly to changing business needs and market demands, enabling greater agility and adaptability.
  7. Compliance and security: Automation helps enforce compliance with regulations and security policies by ensuring consistent and auditable execution of tasks.
  8. Faster response times: Automation facilitates quicker response times to incidents, alerts, and service requests, improving overall customer satisfaction.
  9. Standardization: Automation helps enforce standardized processes and configurations, leading to better consistency and control across the IT environment.
  10. Reduced downtime: By automating monitoring and remediation tasks, potential issues can be detected and resolved proactively, minimizing downtime and improving system availability.

What are IT automation tools? 

IT automation tools include various technologies and enterprise software, which correspond to different business needs. These tools can be categorized as following:

Workload Automation

Workload Automation (WLA) solutions are versatile IT Automation tools that enable users to orchestrate and integrate automated workflows across the entire enterprise. While IT Process Automation focuses on IT-related processes and Business Process Automation targets line-of-business workflows, WLA combines elements of both to create a comprehensive workflow automation solution that emphasizes workload balance and workflow optimization.

Batch process automation

Batch automation involves automating the simultaneous execution of multiple jobs or workflows. These jobs are typically processed together during designated “batch windows” when resource demands are low, ensuring efficient processing without delays or interference. the need for human intervention in batch processing is eliminated.

Managed file transfer automation

Managed File Transfer Automation tools automate and manage the secure transfer of data between servers using protocols like FTP, FTPS, or SFTP. These tools prioritize security and encryption to assist organizations in meeting compliance and regulatory requirements.

Remote monitoring and management (RMM) automation 

RMM, also referred to as remote IT management or network management, involves proactive monitoring and remote management of software, networks, hardware, and client endpoints. RMM platforms automate various tasks and IT operations, including:

Infrastructure & operations automation

Infrastructure and operations (I&O) automation streamlines tasks such as updating operating systems or configuring servers on virtual machines. It primarily targets the hardware, middleware, processes, and workflows necessary to meet customer needs.

IT service management (ITSM) automation 

ITSM automation entails automating IT service management (ITSM) processes to enhance IT service delivery, quality, and compliance with IT policies and procedures. ITSM automation tools involve:

  • Self-service portals: Providing access to IT services and information without requiring human intervention, such as password resets or status updates.
  • Service request management: The process of handling service requests from end-users, such as software installations or hardware upgrades.

Data warehouse automation 

Data warehouse automation simplifies the design, development, and maintenance of data warehouses, minimizing the reliance on developers and data engineers. These tools incorporate several features, including:

  • ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) processes: ETL processes involve extracting data from various sources, transforming it into a consistent format, and loading it into a target destination for analysis or storage.
  • Data modeling: Data modeling is the process of creating a logical representation of a database or data system, including its structure, relationships, and constraints, to facilitate efficient storage and retrieval of data.
  • Data quality assurance and testing: Data quality assurance and testing involve assessing and validating the accuracy, completeness, consistency, and reliability of data to ensure its fitness for use in decision-making and analysis.

Shortlist top IT automation software for each category by reviewing our article.

Assess different vendors for each IT automation type by checking out our comprehensive and data-driven lists:

Other tools that can help IT automation

There are several business automation tools that can be combined with IT automation tools to enhance overall automation capabilities. Here are a few examples:

IT orchestration

IT orchestration involves the coordination and management of multiple automated tasks, ensuring that various systems, tools, and components work together harmoniously, even when they are built on different platforms or technologies.

By providing a centralized control layer, IT orchestration plays a crucial role in handling complex business processes that span across multiple systems or domains. This centralized approach proves particularly valuable in large-scale environments where numerous interconnected systems and applications are involved.

Explore how IT automation and orchestrationdiffers in terms of scope, function, level of control, workflow complexity and human interaction. 

Business Process Automation

BPA involves using technology to automate and optimize business processes. BPA helps in IT automation by streamlining and automating repetitive and manual tasks, improving operational efficiency, reducing errors, and enabling IT teams to focus on higher-value activities. By automating business processes, BPA contributes to overall IT automation efforts, enhancing productivity and driving digital transformation within an organization. 

Robotic process automation (RPA)

RPA tools can automate repetitive and rule-based tasks performed by humans, allowing for end-to-end process automation across applications and systems.

Big data automation

Big data automation tools help IT professionals to gather, organize, and process vast volumes of data in far less time than it would have taken if done manually. This is particularly beneficial as it enables IT teams to uncover patterns and anomalies within datasets that are too extensive for thorough analysis by human personnel.

What are the challenges of IT automation?

While IT automation provides numerous benefits, there are also challenges that organizations may encounter:

  1. Complexity: Implementing automation can be complex, requiring expertise and careful planning. Organizations may face challenges in understanding and defining automation workflows, integrating different systems and tools, and ensuring compatibility across the IT environment.
  2. Skill requirements: IT automation often requires specialized skills and knowledge. Organizations may need to invest in training or hire personnel with expertise in automation technologies and scripting languages.
  3. Legacy systems: Legacy systems may not be easily compatible with automation tools, requiring additional effort to integrate or replace outdated technologies.
  4. Change management: Introducing automation may require changes in processes, workflows, and roles within the organization. Managing these changes and ensuring smooth adoption can be a challenge.
  5. Maintenance and updates: Automation systems require ongoing maintenance, updates, and monitoring to ensure their effectiveness. Failure to keep automation tools up to date may lead to compatibility issues or security vulnerabilities.
  6. Dependency on documentation: Automation relies heavily on accurate and up-to-date documentation. Lack of proper documentation can hinder the development, execution, and maintenance of automated processes.
  7. Security risks: Automation introduces potential security risks if not implemented and managed correctly. Organizations need to ensure that access controls, authentication mechanisms, and security protocols are properly in place.
  8. Process standardization: Automating processes may require standardizing and optimizing workflows across the organization. This can be challenging if there are variations or inconsistencies in existing processes.
  9. Unforeseen scenarios: Automation may not always account for unforeseen scenarios or exceptions. It is important to thoroughly test and validate automated workflows to handle various edge cases.
  10. Resistance to change: Employees may resist automation due to fear of job displacement or unfamiliarity with new technologies. Addressing these concerns and providing proper training and support is crucial for successful adoption.

Organizations should be prepared to address these challenges by investing in proper planning, training, and change management strategies to ensure successful implementation and maximize the benefits of IT automation. 

IT automation strategies 

A solid IT automation strategy enables smooth deployment of IT automation software and ensures automation success. Therefore, we provide a step-by-step guide in our IT automation strategy article. Here is a summary of this guide:

  1. Define your goals: Clearly establish the objectives and outcomes your organization wants to achieve through automation. Common goals include reducing manual effort, improving service quality, and increasing system availability.
  2. Evaluate processes: Identify tasks suitable for automation by considering factors such as repetitive processes, time-consuming tasks, error-prone activities, and resource-intensive operations.
  3. Choose the right tool: Select an appropriate IT automation tool by considering your specific needs, ease of integration, scalability, and features offered by different vendors. Tools like business process automation (BPA), robotic process automation (RPA), and IT orchestration tools are commonly used.
  4. Provide training and change management: Offer training and support to IT teams and stakeholders to ensure they have the necessary knowledge and skills to use and manage automation solutions effectively. Address resistance to change and foster a culture that embraces automation.
  5. Design a workflow: Map out the sequence of tasks, dependencies, and decision points to create a well-designed automated workflow that aligns with business objectives. Involve relevant stakeholders in the design process.
  6. Keep an eye on integration & orchestration: Consider integration and orchestration to ensure efficient workflows and seamless communication and data exchange. Integrate different components of your IT infrastructure using APIs, connectors, middleware, and integration platforms. Manage the execution of automated processes through IT orchestration.
  7. Test and validate: Test the implemented automation processes to ensure accuracy and consistency. Develop comprehensive test scenarios, identify and troubleshoot issues, and compare results with expected outcomes. Fine-tune and optimize workflows based on the validation process.
  8. Monitor and maintain for continuous improvement: Implement monitoring mechanisms to track key performance indicators (KPIs), identify deviations or errors, and take corrective actions. Continuously evaluate and enhance automation initiatives by establishing feedback loops, identifying optimization areas, refining workflows, conducting performance analysis, reviewing processes, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

IT automation trends address various aspects of IT operations, development, security, and infrastructure management. 

Common IT automation trends include:

  1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML): AI and ML technologies enable intelligent automation solutions, where tools learn and adapt autonomously. This includes automated machine learning (AutoML), ML in test automation, and intelligent document processing.
  2. Hyperautomation: Combining AI/ML and multiple automation technologies, hyperautomation aims to automate end-to-end business processes, improving efficiency, productivity, and agility.
  3. No-Code/low-code automation: Empowering non-technical users to create applications and automated processes without extensive programming knowledge using low-code/no-code platforms.

Some of the domain-specific IT automation trends include:

  1. Cloud automation: Streamlining the orchestration and management of complex cloud environments, including hybrid cloud automation.
  2. Container management: Streamlining the creation, testing, storage, and orchestration of software containers in cloud-native infrastructure.
  3. DevOps pipeline automation: Automating the stages of DevOps pipelines, including code compilation, testing, deployment, and monitoring.
  4. Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Automating infrastructure provisioning and management through code and configuration files.

Discover all IT automation trends in-detail.

Further reading

Explore more on IT automation by reading our comprehensive and objective articles:

If you have more questions on IT automation, do not hesitate contacting us:

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External sources

Access Cem's 2 decades of B2B tech experience as a tech consultant, enterprise leader, startup entrepreneur & industry analyst. Leverage insights informing top Fortune 500 every month.
Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst
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Hazal Şimşek
Hazal is an industry analyst in AIMultiple. She is experienced in market research, quantitative research and data analytics. She received her master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Carlos III of Madrid and her bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Bilkent University.

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