OSS Automation - Part 2 - People,process & technology
Implementing OSS automation can provide many efficiencies and benefits, as described in my previous post
, but it also needs to be carefully planned and implemented or else the journey can be painful. There are many considerations that need to be taken into account, such as, people, process and technology.
Let me first look at people. From experience, it is important to collaborate early on with the business, to ensure you understand their priorities, pain points and their concerns. Many people may be apprehensive of automation, as they may view it as a threat to their jobs. For these people communication is important, to ensure that they understand the value of automation, and potentially they can be involved in more strategic work. As well, many are apprehensive that automation can accomplish tasks correctly. For these people, a Proof of Concept automation project can be provided, to build some trust. I’ve seen OSS projects being de-railed due to lack of business buy-in, do not under-estimate it!!
Secondly, it’s important to ensure that the current processes that may be affected due to introduction of automation are understood. Systems automation is dependent on business process automation. For example, severe problems in the process automation of order management system would nullify any sophisticated automation provided in the downstream Service Activation/Inventory system components. It’s also essential to ensure there are “to-be” use-cases created. Without these flows created, you cannot determine the process/organisation impacts or dependencies due to automation.
Finally some key design consideration also can affect the outcome of the automation, for example, don’t try to automate everything at once. In many of my initial automation designs, I’ve taken an incremental approach in automating. Having some flexibility to semi-automate certain tasks, where the user still has some decision points to make, typically lowers the risk, helps gain confidence in automation, and most likely provides a platform to automate more complex processes. Obviously there are many other technical considerations such as system interfaces, product capability, data management...etc that need to be considered, which is why implementing OSS automation is complex
If you can successfully juggle,the business stakeholders, the business/systems process's and ensuring the automation design in flexible and scalable, than your automation implementation will most likey succeed. Easier said than done !!!