“Automation does not need to be our enemy. I think machines can make life easier for men if men do not let the machines dominate them”.
— John F. Kennedy
The fear of automation is not a new one. People have been wary of the idea for decades. Initially, there seems to be no way around the fact that if tasks are automated, individuals will lose jobs. However, this is not the case. Yes, when a task gets automated, there no longer needs to be a human employed to complete that task. However, smart businesses do not just let go of these employees. Instead, they send them for training that allows them to work alongside the automation to make the end product more valuable.
In the world of IT, for example, big data has become increasingly valuable because there are now automated methods for collecting, storing, and analysing the data. But data gatherers and analysers are not out of a job. Instead, they take the automated analysis and break it down into actionable steps that businesses can take. In the end, the data analysers have moved up the value chain. This is why automation is so essential to the future of tech in Asia. It allows businesses to be better, as well as helping individuals to complete more value-adding tasks.
Automation In Asia
In 2010, the idea of using automation for IT was just beginning to surface. Even the biggest companies in the world were still heavily relying on manpower to accomplish the vast majority of IT tasks. It was only in 2014 that giants of the tech industry, like Facebook, began to switch over to automated IT processes. But these same companies that made the jump into automation immediately saw the payoff of this switch. Facebook’s IT team went from managing 1,800 machines to managing 16,000 machines. And with expansion, through the utilisation of automation, many of the IT headaches from prior years disappeared. No jobs were lost. Instead, Facebook became more equipped to serve customers because the IT team was able to pursue the tougher and bigger IT tasks. And this is exactly what is beginning to happen all across Asia.
In 2016, an Israeli company, Ayehu, made Red Herring’s Top 100 Asia, which is a list of Asia’s most promising entrepreneurs and companies. Ayehu sells a plethora of products that automate IT processes for businesses. But the real key to getting on Red Herring’s list is not just having a product that looks good or that works well; it is the company’s financial performance, market penetration, technological innovation, and customer footprint. Ayehu’s performance in the market, both got Red Herring’s attention and proved how successful IT automation is becoming.
Then there’s Bangladesh, where the SITES industry, or Software and IT-Enabled Services, have grown at more than 40 percent over the last five years. This growth is largely attributed to the high demand for the domestic industry’s IT automation. In the country, there have been major projects in the textile, telecom, pharmaceutical, finance and banking industries for IT automation. Over the next few years, the biggest user of IT services, the general corporate sector, is expected to begin investing much more heavily in IT automation.
India is becoming another Asian country that is seeing the potential of IT automation. The central, state and local governments are all beginning to see the value of using IT automation for delivering services, connectivity, processing information and networking. Government offices have automated everything from the provision of essential market information and poverty alleviating tax dues to bill payment and routine service delivery to public grievances and entitlement access. And not only has the government seen efficiency go up, and human error go down with things like workflow systems and electronic file handling, but they have also seen that automated systems and processes have allowed government workers to have more meaningful discussions and interactions with citizens.
The list goes on and on. In Indonesia, IT automation is catching on with IBM’s Global Technology Services. The global company is helping local Indonesian businesses by integrating automation in their existing systems, increasing performance and availability, allowing operational scaling, and enhancing service delivery. In South Korea, Samsung has long been a proponent of automation. Early on they adopted IT automation through Opsware. Samsung saw significant success by automating the management of their mission critical systems in their main data centre. It reduced costs and increased operational efficiencies and, because of this, Samsung continued implementing IT automation throughout the rest of their centres and offices.
Transforming The Workplace With Automation
IT automation is proving to have incredible potential. This is especially true when it comes to the following four areas of automation:
1. Monitoring Of Networks And Edge Computing:
We live in a world where threats are abundant. We have alarms for our cars, security systems for our homes, and safety features for our devices. But when it comes to business, with a large volume of products and information, ensuring security is challenging—every little detail can not be watched at all times. So this is where automation comes in. Companies can have an automated log of daily activity and security, as well as automated monitoring. When there is a break in security, central network management staff gets an automatic alert.
2. Batch Reporting And System Backups:
People can not work around the clock. But computers can. This is the beauty of end of day automated processing. A daily report can be created so that the very next morning, the individual who needs it can monitor everything that happened the previous day. And then there is the ability to automate routine system backups. This means that even when the lights are out at the office, there is still work being done, and incredibly efficiently.
3. Management Of Storage:
Some data needs to be accessed on a daily basis. Other data is only accessed on a monthly or quarterly basis. And then there is additional data that really only needs to be accessed annually, at the most. There is no reason to store rarely accessed data on solid state disk storage. This type of storage only needs to be used for information that needs to be accessed in real-time. However, for the data that is regularly accessed, it is far too slow to store it on disk drives or cold storage tape. To put it simply, data needs to be stored in an appropriate and affordable place. This sorting can take up a significant amount of IT professionals’ time, and errors can be made. Automation has the ability to take care of all of this. There are automated systems that can detect how often data is accessed and stored. Through this it decides on the appropriate storage location, allowing IT professionals to concentrate on bigger things.
4. Application Development And Testing Resource Provisioning:
Application development requires some of the most expensive personnel and resource use. And the process of development is extraordinarily time-consuming and repetitive, with the building and testing that is required. Additionally, there are resources that need to be provisioned, such as storage, databases, and operating systems. Much of this can be automated. And not only does it save developers and IT professionals time, but it also streamlines the process, allowing the product to be put on the market in a fraction of the time.