Although automation is a buzzword in the tech industry, with most organisations looking to streamline and speed up processes, and lighten the workload for employees. Indeed, this is a central tenet of the dominant 'devops' methodology sweeping through the industry at present.
Automation is a theme that CIOs often touch upon when speaking to
CIO UK, so we've rounded up some of the ways in which IT leaders are approaching automation within their industry.
July 19, 2019
1. Scott Petty, Vodafone CTO
Writing exclusively for
CIO UK earlier this year, Vodafone CTO Scott Petty detailed how Vodafone had been able to improve the pace and frequency of delivery of its services through automation: "By automating tasks that used to be done manually, simplifying our work processes, and making use of collaborative tools, we've been able to work much more efficiently, while freeing up our engineers to work on projects that can add more value to our customers.”
Petty explained that it used to take a long time to test the functionality of new capabilities as testers had to go through each step of the process and manually input information one field at a time. Now, Vodafone's developers can write code so that these tests can be completed automatically, cutting testing time down to just seconds.
"We're seeing a new engineering culture take hold, one that recognises the value of autonomy and individual initiative," he said. "It's gaining real momentum across the business."
4. Matt Harris, Head of IT at Mercedes-AMG Petronas Motorsport
Matt Harris sees automation as potentially playing a huge role in improving job satisfaction.
"You try to eliminate as much as possible those mundane tasks - there's not many people who want to go to work and do the same job day in, day out, all day, every day," says Harris.
He says the company works with the likes of Tibco, Pure and HP to minimise the volume of 'daily churn' populating employee's schedules, and instead freeing them up to focus on more challenging and enjoyable tasks. He sees automation as essential for compressing time-consuming processes. He uses the example of transforming the process of a department requesting a new set of virtual machines - which at the moment could take up two weeks - to a couple clicks of a button and a wait of just an hour.
7. Tim Hynes, Allied Irish Bank CIO
Tim Hynes, Allied Irish Bank CIO has found a number of use cases for automation, including a scanning system at its branches for customer documentation that digitises the information and runs it through the bank's systems quickly and in line with regulatory requirements.
"It's not AI," Hynes said. "What it will do for AI though, is it's part of the digitisation of the business, and the more we digitise the business, the more data we get, and the more data we get, the more we'll be able to feed the AI. Because what AI will be able to do for us is take data, and if we apply context it turns it into information." Robotics is another form of automation often described as AI. AIB uses it to augment its human workforce, by training robots to compensate for unusual rises in demand that create a workload that is beyond the capacity of the team.
8. Jean-Michel Arès, BMO Financial Group Chief Technology & Operations Officer
Jean-Michel Arès, BMO Financial Group Chief Technology & Operations Officer forecasts profound change in the financial industry in the coming years that he predicts will primarily be driven by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation.
"The acceleration of machine learning, libraries of machine learning algorithms, will be one element of it, and I think it will transform the way many of the processes work. It will transform the interface with the client. It will transform different practices in operationally and risk and regulatory. "The second part is robotic process automation that will be used to digitise specifically operations in banks. And I think the possibilities in terms of yield and productivity are quite significant. I would say that the form factor at the edge also are going to continue to evolve, so the mobile devices, the form factors are going to continue to evolve, and voice will become increasingly important as that technology continues to advance and there are fewer and fewer keyboards out there."