How to build a business case for IT automation

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The prospect of modernizing legacy systems through automation is daunting enough, but decision makers also face the challenge of making a solid business case for an automation program. Knowing how and why other businesses have justified the leap can be a big help.

The prospect of modernizing legacy systems through automation is daunting enough, but decision makers also face the challenge of making a solid business case for an automation program.

Knowing how and why other businesses have justified the leap can be a big help. That’s why we spoke to 415 IT executives to find out what drove their organizations to automate, and the advantages it has bought them.

The results are presented in our report The automation advantage. We found that 75% of the businesses most committed to automation (those we call the “Fast Movers”) say automation has boosted revenues. And 86% of them confirm automation has had a positive impact on customer experience.

The benefits of automation abound

The automation of legacy systems is no small task, but we found evidence of powerful benefits that serve as a solid foundation for a business case.

1. Cost reduction

The resources a business spends maintaining legacy systems can have a significant impact on overall expenditure and profitability.

The complexity of legacy systems means they can dominate management focus. And, as the complexity and cost of sourcing the right skills and maintaining security rise, crucial opportunities can be missed. Simply put: money spent on legacy systems could be spent adding value to the business.

Automating management tasks surrounding legacy systems eliminates these costs and saves money overall through greater efficiency and better resource utilization.

2. Risk mitigation

When employees and lines of business aren’t given the tools they need to perform their roles effectively, many turn to their own cloud-based solutions. Siloed legacy systems often don’t allow for a clear IT estate oversight that includes these shadow solutions, which means risks go unmonitored.

Automation can provide a remedy by configuring and standardizing processes across both legacy and cloud infrastructure. It also helps to prevent issues caused by human error that might otherwise cause severe disruption.

Standardized processes also mean that employees can turn their attention to higher value, business-orientated tasks that will have a bigger impact.

3. Productivity boost

Teams preoccupied with maintaining legacy systems don’t have the time or flexibility to adapt to rapidly changing market demands.

Automation takes away many of those time-consuming tasks, allowing infrastructure to be deployed and configured far more quickly and with minimal effort. 84% of the Fast Movers in our survey said automation had improved their company’s agility and responsiveness to changing demands. And 59% have been able to redeploy engineers to projects that create greater value.

4. Innovation  

It’s not just productivity that benefits from resource redeployment, automation also drives innovation and new ways of working.

The automation advantage includes many real-world examples of this effect. For example, an IT executive with the Crédit Agricole Group recounts how automation has led to a new way of working for the company that includes the creation of small autonomous teams to drive innovation across the business.

5. Competitiveness  

Many businesses that have taken the automation plunge now see it as critical to their competitiveness.

Those that don’t make the transformation could soon find themselves lagging behind, with uncompetitively expensive operations and time-to-market journeys that are simply too long.

With more and more born-in-the-cloud market entrants, staying competitive is perhaps the biggest driver for adopting automation.

There’s never been a better time for legacy automation

Cost saving will inevitably play a major role in your automation business case, but there are many other positive factors. Automation empowers businesses to discover new, more efficient ways of working that enable talent and innovation to flourish.

To discover more about how leading companies are automating legacy systems, read The automation advantage

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