A good IT operations team needs a variety of skill sets to manage a modern infrastructure: operating systems specialists, database administrators, storage engineers, networking gurus, virtualization experts, security analysts, help desk technicians -- the list goes on. Whether you wear multiple hats or serve as a dedicated subject matter experts, your time and effort is usually focused on a few areas.
But who's responsible for making sure everything is integrated and works together in an automated fashion?
For many teams, this doesn't fall into any particular role. Indeed, in a world of ever-increasing specialization, it's unusual for a DBA or network engineer to have the time or opportunity to develop familiarity and skills within other areas. Smaller teams may have more generalists, but given the demands of keeping the lights on, things like automation are put in the "someday", "nice to have" category.
Effective IT automation is inherently interdisciplinary and involves a unique perspective and skill set. And it often means stepping back from day-to-day responsibilities and looking at processes and infrastructure from a fresh viewpoint. For many teams, working with a specialized practitioner is the most effective way to make progress toward a better, more automated IT operation.
We provide flexible professional services focused on achieving automation across the technology stack. This means adding our unique skill set to your team and pitching in when and where it makes the most sense for your goals. This could take many forms. A partial list of examples:
Ultimately, the goal of automation is to facilitate business processes with minimal human intervention -- to make IT faster, more consistent, and easier to work with. This means understanding the unique context in each case and choosing the right tools for the job.
We think so, for two primary reasons:
Many IT consultancies focus their services around specific applications or technologies and therefore provide consultants who are experts in a specific domain. You might engage a SharePoint consultant to implement an internal portal, or a VMware consultant to design and deploy a new ESXi cluster, or a NetApp consultant to design and install a new storage system. These experts provide a valuable service, particularly for understanding the intricacies of their fields.
But what if you want a solution to automate the deployment of virtual machines using a SharePoint-based request that feeds an external workflow orchestrating the allocation of storage and the provisioning of needed VMware components? Few single-application or system experts are prepared to bring all this together. That’s where we come in.
We emphasize and recommend a long-term, integrated approach to an engagement that differs from typical consulting projects. A familiar and frequent model is for a consultant to be engaged on a specific project with a fixed duration. After a brief and time-intensive period, the project is deemed complete and handed off to the client, with the consultant moving on, the relationship effectively ended and accumulated knowledge lost.
This model can be effective for certain types of projects, but we believe automation warrants a different approach. That is, automation is best thought of and pursued not as an isolated project, but as a strategy or initiative. Put differently, automation is not a specific technology, system, or application, but is rather a quality of well-designed processes and systems. Just as systems are designed to be reliable or performant or user-friendly, we also want them to do as much as possible automatically without our help. Therefore, automation can factor into all projects in some fashion and benefits from ongoing attention.
We facilitate this approach by offering engagements structured for ongoing support that accumulates value over time and fits better with your priorities.