IT departments use workload automation software that spans multiple platforms, data sources and development methodologies. As requirements grow increasingly complex, IT professionals are turning to a new breed of workflow orchestration solutions. These new tools are built to handle more flexible system-to-system integration, large volumes of data and more.
Workflow orchestration: A brief overview
No single system does everything. As digital transformation heats up, vital business processes frequently require multiple systems to function in coordinated ways. Data visualization, for example, requires the orchestrating of databases, data ingestion tools, reporting tools and so forth. The end-user perceives data visualization as a single experience. However, this experience comes out of a choreographed series of processes enabled by APIs. This is workflow orchestration in action.
Workflow orchestration solutions can be put to work in use cases that include batch recovery, job processing, job scheduling, and DevOps. Others use workflow orchestration to trigger processes upon the receipt of a file on a server. Some organizations have thousands or even millions of jobs to automate on a regular basis.
Workflow orchestration and automation offer benefits to both business and IT stakeholders. Used the right way, workload automation software reduces the potential for human error while providing consistency and saving time. The toolset can also help organizations work more coherently, with less reliance on “personal fiefdoms” of job processing in the IT department.
Best practices and solution selection factors
Best practices are now emerging for the new generation of workflow orchestration solutions. Overarching, basic best practices comprise taking full advantage of features like notifications, monitoring, self-service and automation. Going deeper, best practices include the following:
- Paying attention to non-technical/organizational issues—Workflow orchestration does not exist in a vacuum. To work effectively, it should be viewed in the broader organizational context.
- Working across platforms—This is pretty much inevitable in today’s multi-platform and hybrid cloud environments. Users on IT Central Station note that working across platforms helps them be more responsive to events that occur throughout the IT estate.
- Consolidating solutions—IT pros recommend consolidating solutions when necessary, and when possible because the goal of workflow orchestration is greater efficiency and productivity. For example, it’s more efficient to automate all database backups through one job rather than doing each individually.
- Remote file handling capabilities—IT departments are now dealing with many different file transfer feeds. The workflow orchestration tool can provide a central point of collection for the files.
- Monitoring to the max—Monitoring enables the IT department to be proactive about jobs. If a job is behind schedule, a modern workflow orchestration solution can alert admins if an SLA is about to be breached, for example.
Workflow orchestration is a dynamic and exciting area of IT management. To learn more about what IT professionals think about this important technology, read this white paper, based on over a dozen Control-M reviews.