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What is Workload Automation ? 5 Reasons to adopt in '24

Written by
Cem Dilmegani
Cem Dilmegani
Cem Dilmegani

Cem is the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per Similarweb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work focuses on how enterprises can leverage new technologies in AI, automation, cybersecurity(including network security, application security), data collection including web data collection and process intelligence.

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Automation is a critical step in business digital transformation. To address this need, vendors are providing automation solutions in numerous categories like workload automation (WLA), enterprise job schedulersIT automation softwareIT process automationdata warehouse automationrobotic process automation (RPA), etc.

The proliferation of automation categories and the amount of tools makes the selection of the right tool difficult. Confused enterprises are making suboptimal purchase decisions and ending up with complex automation solution landscapes.

A category that deserves better recognition and can help consolidate multiple automation capabilities in one product is workload automation. These tools enable businesses to automate numerous backend workflows by scheduling, triggering, and executing business workflows with centralized management in a way that reduces the cost of time-consuming tasks and improves overall efficiency.

Below, we explore workload automation, how it works, why it is important, its benefits, use cases, and how to choose the right workload automation tool.

What is workload automation?

Workload automation (WLA) refers to tools that can schedule, trigger, and execute tasks on multiple business platforms from a centralized application. It is an evolutionary step beyond traditional job scheduling software, and it’s used to manage the execution of unattended background tasks, especially in the case of high-volume, repetitive routine jobs. Workload automation software can be used in multi cloud environments with advanced operational capabilities and automate complex workloads. 

Workload automation is generally thought of as a tool for the IT department; however, businesses are using workload automation tools to automate workflows among different business departments, such as HR and finance. For workload automation tools that can be used across the enterprise, check our enterprise workload job scheduling tools article. 

How does workload automation work?

1-Job Definition

A job is defined in the workload automation tool. This definition includes information about what the job does, what resources it requires when it should run, and what conditions should trigger it. This could be a database query, a file transfer, an ETL (Extract, Transform, Load) job, or any other automated task.

2-Job Scheduling

Once the job is defined, it is scheduled. This can be a specific time, or it can be an event trigger. Event triggers are often used to create job chains, where one job’s completion triggers the next job in the sequence. This is useful for tasks that must be done in a specific order.

3-Resource Allocation

The workload automation software ensures the job has the necessary resources. This can include things like memory, processing power, network bandwidth, or any other resource the job might need.

4-Job Execution

The workload automation software starts the job when the scheduled time arrives or the triggering event occurs. It ensures that the job runs to completion and handles any errors or issues that arise during execution.

5-Monitoring and Notification

The workload automation software continuously monitors the job as it runs, recording its progress and any issues that come up. If something goes wrong, the software can notify IT personnel, or in some cases, it can attempt to resolve the problem on its own.

6-Logging and Reporting

Once the job is finished, the workload automation software logs the result and any other relevant information. This can be used for auditing, troubleshooting, and performance tuning.

7-Job Review and Optimization

Workload automation tools often come with reporting and analytics features that allow you to review job performance, identify bottlenecks, and look for opportunities to optimize your processes.

Why is workload automation important now?

The race to digital transformation is driving growth in the automation sector, and the potential economic impact of knowledge work automation is expected to be $5-7 trillion by 2025. Workload automation plays a significant role in digital transformation as it:

  • Improves IT/tech effectiveness
  • Improves data management
  • Saves costs
  • Increases focus on value-adding business activities
  • Optimizes resource utilization

Surveys have shown that:

  • Workload automation is the #1 step to digital transformation (47%)
  • In 2018, workload automation was adopted by 82% of organizations.
  • 31% of business leaders agree that automation software reduces labor costs.
  • 85% of business leaders believe that workload automation will give them and their employees more time to focus on the goals that truly matter to the company.
  • 52% of business leaders believe they could automate 10-30% of their daily workload.

Numerous organizations, including Genentech, AMD, Epson, Daikin, and Energizer, use ActiveBatch to improve business processes, save time and cost, centralize workflow control, and optimize cost accounting and corporate close. It helps IT teams manage cloud-based workflows and resources quickly and reliably across on-premises, cloud, and hybrid environments.

The case study showed that Genentech automated 88% of its corporate close processes and achieved a 50% decrease in end-to-end close times. Moreover, the low-code approach of ActiveBatch and RunMyJob solutions allowed for easier integration of workload automation software.

What are the benefits of workload automation?

Workload automation is an important step in business digital transformation because it enables the following:

Improved IT/tech effectiveness

1- Centralized control over workflows

Workload automation tools give IT personnel the ability to manage different workflows across business environments from a single application, which allows for end-to-end process automation enabling:

  • enhanced coordination between business servers and operating systems
  • better data allocation and use
  • reduction of system errors

2- Improved data management

Since workflows are controlled via a single application, different departments’ underlying data can be managed more efficiently, enabling:

  • Easier to achieve compliance
  • Improved visibility and transparency
  • Reduced security risks
  • Optimized data storage
  • Reliance on a single source of the truth

For more, read data warehouse automation which is one of the primary capabilities of workload automation tools.

Cost savings & increased focus on value-added activities

3- Increased automation coverage thanks to low-code/no-code automation

Most workload automation tools have a no-code or low-code approach with pre-built connectors, integrators, and APIs, with drag-and-drop features to minimize scripting and coding by the IT department.

4- Reduced automation costs

Organizations typically have different automation tools for different departments. Since workload automation software can manage multiple platforms from a single application, it reduces the cost of licensing and implementing multiple automation and scheduling tools and the cost of having multiple data warehouses.

5- Reduced resource utilization via workload forecasting

Workload automation software enables users to create forecast reports that display specific tasks programmed to run in a certain time frame. Forecasting workload can help manage resource utilization.

WLA tools with low-code capabilities, such as Stonebranch UAC, can be useful when trying to reduce automation costs without relying on technical expertise.

Stonebranch’s Universal Automation Center (UAC) provides a modern and flexible platform for real-time hybrid IT automation, which includes workload automation, job scheduling, data pipeline orchestration, and more.

The UAC is designed to centralize control and streamline automation across various environments, from on-premises to cloud to containerized microservices.

What are the top workload automation use cases?

According to business departments, workload automation can be used for:

These are a few examples of use cases of workload automation. To explore use cases in detail, feel free to read our in-depth article on the top 14 workload automation use cases.

What does the WLA landscape look like?

To be considered as a workload automation solution, the tools should be able to:

  • Provide scheduling and automated processing of batch jobs.
  • Allow the automation of systems that contain different servers and operating systems.
  • Be marketed as a job scheduling or workload automation solution.

These tools can be:

Low-code / no-code workload automation tools

Low-code/no-code development platforms enable users with limited programming skills to develop workload automation solutions, create workflows, schedules, triggers, etc. via drag-and-drop GUI elements. One of the top low/no-code workload automation platforms is Advanced Systems Concept’s ActiveBatch which receives ~47% of the overall web search for workload automation solutions.

Open source workload automation tools

Open-source workload automation tools or frameworks are released along with the source code to enable developers to use, study, and change the code to fit their requirements. For example:

SaaS workload automation solutions

Workload automation can be provided in a software-as-a-service manner. Some of the companies that provide WLA SaaS include:

To explore workload automation tools in a more comprehensive manner, feel free to check out our data-driven list of WLA tools, where we also compiled data about market presence metrics, insights, and momentum.

Which features to check for when choosing a WLA tool?

Here is a comprehensive list of features to evaluate workload automation tools and how they can benefit your business:

  • Multi-platform support: WLA tools should be able to execute tasks on multiple business platforms from a centralized point; otherwise, businesses can leverage job schedulers.
  • Auditing and reporting capabilities: WLA tools can monitor job execution, create event logs, and generate reports for error management and compliance purposes.
  • Task authorization: Since WLA tools can manage multiple platforms from a single point, it is important to make sure that users have access only to the workflows and agents that they are responsible for managing, and cannot access privileged or sensitive workflows or data.
  • Event triggering: Most processes require prerequisites for accomplishment. It is important to ensure that the WLA tool supports the automation and initiation of tasks based both on-time schedules as well as triggering events.
  • Workload balancing: To avoid system downtime or process interruptions due to system overloading, WLA tools should be able to automate workload balancing (for example, assign resources based on machine capacity).
  • Community forums: This feature is important for open source tools such that users can find codes for specific workflows or tasks on the forum, collaborate on certain projects, check for bugs in their code and how to fix them, etc.

Further Reading

To learn more about automation, feel free to read our articles:

If you are looking for automation tools, you can visit our hub for the automation software landscape.

If you have other questions about workload automation, we can help:

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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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Cem Dilmegani
Principal Analyst

Cem is the principal analyst at AIMultiple since 2017. AIMultiple informs hundreds of thousands of businesses (as per Similarweb) including 60% of Fortune 500 every month.

Cem's work focuses on how enterprises can leverage new technologies in AI, automation, cybersecurity(including network security, application security), data collection including web data collection and process intelligence.

Cem's work has been cited by leading global publications including Business Insider, Forbes, Washington Post, global firms like Deloitte, HPE, NGOs like World Economic Forum and supranational organizations like European Commission. You can see more reputable companies and media that referenced AIMultiple.

Cem's hands-on enterprise software experience contributes to the insights that he generates. He oversees AIMultiple benchmarks in dynamic application security testing (DAST), data loss prevention (DLP), email marketing and web data collection. Other AIMultiple industry analysts and tech team support Cem in designing, running and evaluating benchmarks.

Throughout his career, Cem served as a tech consultant, tech buyer and tech entrepreneur. He advised enterprises on their technology decisions at McKinsey & Company and Altman Solon for more than a decade. He also published a McKinsey report on digitalization.

He led technology strategy and procurement of a telco while reporting to the CEO. He has also led commercial growth of deep tech company Hypatos that reached a 7 digit annual recurring revenue and a 9 digit valuation from 0 within 2 years. Cem's work in Hypatos was covered by leading technology publications like TechCrunch and Business Insider.

Cem regularly speaks at international technology conferences. He graduated from Bogazici University as a computer engineer and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

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Hypatos gets $11.8M for a deep learning approach to document processing, TechCrunch.
We got an exclusive look at the pitch deck AI startup Hypatos used to raise $11 million, Business Insider.

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