ESG's Steve Duplessie and Mark Peters discuss the future of IT automation.
Read the related ESG Blog: Talking About the Next Steps in IT Automation
Mark: So I'm taking the opportunity to grab Steve for a minute or two, not too literally, but it occurred to me, because of something I saw the other day, that over the last few years, automation within IT has very often been within the individual parts of IT.
Mark: More automated storage, more automated networking and so on. Am I right in thinking, just want your thoughts, am I right in thinking that we're gonna see more automation of IT as a whole?
Steve: Eventually, it's inevitable, so it's a good point that you make. First step in automation is we automate a function. It's a manual labor becomes automated at some point because I'm sick of pushing this button and the button, something else, the robot can push the button more consistently than you and I. Why someone is pushing the button is kind of the next thing. I think that's what you're alluding to, the wholistic or systemic automation, really hard to do. Right? Really hard to do.
So the part of it, I think that ultimately what you see in a lot of the…as you and I are probably responsible for half of buzzwords of the day…
Mark: I wonder what it's gonna be.
Steve: AI and machine learning, for example, are all the rage right now, but why. Why does anyone care about that? I think that the answer to that is ultimately it's faster decisioning but not just based on this one button, right? And so it becomes relevant when it's a systemic kind of approach, and so we need to take disparate data feeds in real time sometimes, or not necessarily real time in other times, but disparate data feeds to be able to make decisions about stuff over here, not just stuff over here.
It's really, really difficult to do, which is why you don't go to Best Buy and say, "I'd like to buy some AI, please," and get it out of a box, or whatever that case is. It's really about more what problem ultimately were you trying to solve and then applying these technologies towards it and making…
You know, at the end of the day, human beings aren't smart enough or fast enough to be able to automate or to be able to performs an automated function.
Mark: That's the interesting thing you said, so human beings aren't fast enough. That is, if you like, I just want to pass out something you said which is that you've talked about faster decisioning. Within the box, that's because humans aren't fast enough, yeah, within the individual elements.
Mark: But do you think that's where we're heading? It's more about faster decisioning for the business? I know that's always a bit of a leap to take, but that's what we're aiming at, I presume.
Steve: Of course. If you can make pushing the button faster, you can save cost, right? It's all about cost reduction, consistency and cost reduction. When you can make decisioning faster based on multitudes of variables, then you're talking about how am I gonna make money, not how am I gonna save money, necessarily, but how am I gonna make money.
Our current state, we have all sorts of hurricane activity just about to hit here. Environmental impacts will have direct cause and effect on retail operations, on what Amazon gonna be selling into North Carolina over the next week if they can't get anything there. How is airline travel gonna occur, etc., etc.? So there's all sorts of these unforeseen or unplanned or seemingly disconnected functions that are gonna be systemically challenge.
So if there's a way, ultimately, I think this was the point you're making, if there's decisioning based on all of these variables, or certainly a lot more than just this one button set of variables, then our opportunity to have a better decision, a better decision outcome.
Mark: I think that's the interesting thing. The pushing the button originally was for the sake of speed, efficiency… Speed in and of itself which is efficiency in getting humans out of the way where they can't do things, but as you say now, if we can learn to do automation better, then that's going to actually improve better business, rather than just faster or easier business.
Steve: Absolutely. And at the end of the day, the number 1 factor that will be both the impairment to that happening and ultimately the reason that it happens is trust, because I can A) I can take a step for any function and trust that I can make that automated, but I don't necessarily trust that you're gonna do the right thing. So it comes down to human beings eventually and laying out a what do we want this outcome to be and getting agreement on that before you can kinda move ahead in any of these more elaborate automation concepts.
Mark: All right. We'll do more of these. Thank you very much for your insights. Thanks for watching.