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Automation

By Adam Lisik

Want to get started with Automation but don’t know where to begin? This course walks you through some of the basics and shows you where to start.

Adam Lisik

Adam Lisik

Software Operations & Support Lead
Automation

Can We Automate Everything? Where Do We Start?

The simple answer is no. We cannot automate everything.

As humans, we often stop, think and make decisions based on historical experiences, patterns, or our conscience. Automation is unable to do that unless you have specifically told it to do so.

To start automating, think of a process that you might be conducting every day, or every week. Write it out.

Evaluate what can be automated (we do not have to automate the whole process – start small and build on the foundation).

The key points to evaluate:

  • Can we achieve this task by scripting or using a tool?
  • Can this decision be made as a result of the input data? (does everyone get the same licence? Or does it vary depending on availability, or role? Do we have that written anywhere?) and
  • What if it fails? Will we be able to be alerted? Should the process stop or carry on?

If we consider the new starter process that is written out, what steps can we automate? We can use scripting to create the login, grant office 365 licence and send an email. However, ordering of the kit would have to be done manually as we might not be able to judge if the user requires a mobile, laptop or PC. The process would also not consider reusing kit from leavers.

Once we have our process, consider how your automation can run. Generally speaking, for automations to run we need:

  • a way to initiate the automation;
  • an automation engine (this could be task scheduler, a tool, or even as simple as running a script); and
  • a scripted way to run the tasks.